Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For

by ELLEN ERCOLINI

5 years ago, I was living in South America.  I had just started calling myself a writer, and was beginning to reclaim and rebound my life after my dad passed away.

I was adrift, but I had ideas.  I had drive but no clear direction.  Things felt possible, I just had no idea what those things were.  During that time, I met many incredible people on my South American journey, one of whom was a college student from Arizona, studying in Buenos Aires.  It’s through this friendship that I ended up staying much longer than intended in Buenos Aires, he had the hook up on a cheap apartment room for a few months, so I stayed.

During those few months in Buenos Aires, we dreamed.   He talked about all the various music projects he wanted to start.   I talked about writing more.   We seemed to be in an eddy on the river of our lives.  Normally very busy and overbooked people, consumed with academic and professional pursuits, we were enjoying life.  More art, more exploration, less pressure to BE something or someone.  It all felt ripe with potential, but free from pressure or expectation.

5 years later, his band Run Boy Run came touring through my hometown.  It was awesome to reconnect after 5 years, and see how much and how little has changed. We’ve both had amazing full time jobs, and left them to pursue our dreams of creative freedom.  He’s gotten married and I have Huxley now.  We’re busier, there’s more expectation, but we both seem so firmly on our paths.  I am changing businesses and lives to help people make more money, and their music is potently powerful.   We are totally doing what we should be doing, and it’s been a winding road to get here.

The road to living a life that lights you up, that fulfills your purpose, that impacts the world is winding and confusing – it’s not always clear what the next step is on a day to day basis.

But pull back, look at your life from 30,000 feet up.  Or 5 years past or future.  If you widen the lens from which you look, you’ll have a better idea of what the next step is.  There were days I thought I was at a dead end, or certain I’d taken a wrong turn.  Keep going.  It’s only a dead end if you let it be a dead end.  If you can do one thing today that your future self will say ‘Thank You’ for,  you’re on track – even if it’s not crystal clear.  Enough days like that, and you’ll find yourself reflecting on what an incredible journey you’ve been on, and excited for the road ahead.  I know I am.

My present self – the future self of my past self – said a hearty thank you to that girl who spent time writing in Argentina. Who didn’t know what was next and who took the time to try things, change her mind, and keep going.  That girl is what makes this girl possible.  It was awesome to have such a clear juxtaposition to think about the 5 year changes and evolution – and to see that so clearly echoed in someone else.

So what about you? Where were you 5 years ago in your journey?  What will you do today that your future self will thank you for?

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