Good Tidings — Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.
Ten years ago. Like — 2004, right? It hasn’t been an upbeat decade, I fear … but all is not lost.
I suppose I need to tell me that my health isn’t going to improve. No matter how sick I am now, it will be worse in years to come. Each ailment will be more threatening and disabling than the one preceding it. You will nearly starve to death as your damaged digestive system collapses and before you fully recover from that, you’ll have bilateral breast cancer.
A couple of years later, massive heart problems will follow. The arthritis and bursitis get worse but everyone will tell you how well you’re doing — and how lucky you. Sometimes, you will wonder what they mean by “lucky.”
You’ll work hard, but be unable to continue. Too ill. Anyway, the high-tech job market will collapse, so by the time work starts to trickle back, you’ll be too tired to seize the day.
Your book will be praised (you’ll finally write one), but it won’t sell.
Rewards? You won’t get a Pulitzer or a big movie contract, but you’ll keep on keeping on. Your husband will stick it out with you. He’ll be inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of fame and grow to be the person he always had it in him to be. This will mean everything.
While most old friends fade, a few re-emerge and others will become ever more important. You’ll find new people where you least expected to find them. They will support you when you urgently need it. It will remind you there is still kindness and generosity in the world. A layer of your cynicism will wash away … which is good because old layers of cynicism get pretty crusty over the years.
Life won’t get easier, but you will make the best of it. You’ll finally ride two of the biggest, baddest roller coasters on America’s east coast and it will make you howl with glee. You’ll see the Grand Canyon. Your dogs will make you laugh every single day and smile, even when they aren’t around.
You’ll learn there are worse things than being alone, realize your own company is better than you imagined. You’ll write a lot and you’ll have a bigger audience than you hoped for. Your photography will keep getting better and you’ll get immense gratification from it.
The Red Sox will win three World Series.
You’ll fight illness, poverty, loneliness, and pain. Successfully, for the most part. You’ll beat back despair with a big stick and battle the Grim Reaper to a stand still.
You will survive and won’t end up living in your car.
Deep in your heart, you’ll always harbor a foolish dream that the big lottery hit will rock your world. Because it’s not impossible, merely unlikely. So many unlikely things have already happened, why not one more? Maybe a good one this time.
Our dreams change and some vanish. But we are what we are and thus invent new dreams. The canvas on which we paint is smaller, but our brushes are sharper and the colors stronger.