Gifts to My Future Self

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A little planning or forethought today can go a long way to enjoying the opportunities (or avoiding the disasters) of tomorrow. Give your future self those gifts!

“Hello, Future-Self, this is your Past-Self sending you a fantastic gift and a virtual high five!  You are doing a great job, Future-Self, and I hope this makes your life a little easier and a little happier.”

Do you ever send helpful gifts or encouraging messages to your future self?  Ok, so we all know the basics like, “don’t wait until you run out of toilet paper to restock the pantry, because paper towels are really scratchy.”  Maybe you even are on top of your birthday or hostess gift emergency stash.  But here are four ideas for gifts you can give your future self that might just make your life a little bit easier. A little planning or forethought today can go a long way to enjoying the opportunities (or avoiding the disasters) of tomorrow. Give your future self those gifts!

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Always keep sick-supplies on hand, but hidden in a secure location

Few things are worse than waking up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a sick child and, like Miss Clavel, knowing that “something is not right.”  This was actually me last night, “running fast, then faster.”  But if your past self has prepared properly, you will not have to run out to the store at 2 am for Gatorade and saltines.

Whenever we finish one bout of sickness in the family, I always make sure to restock our pantry.  Items you may want to include: Gatorade or Pedialyte, Ginger Ale, Saltines, a box of extra-soft tissues, comfort-chocolate for Mom in case she is well, and (not healthy, but honestly) Diet Coke for Mom in case she is sick (because few things are worse than a caffeine-withdrawal migraine while you’re feeling too sick to drink coffee, askmehowIknow).

But please, hide these in a secure location.  If your kids discover the fancy beverages and delicious chocolate, it may all be gone when you need it most.  Don’t wait until the tummy bug comes to town to have supplies on hand.  Your future self, frantically bleaching the toilet, will thank you.

Utilize the power of the Library Hold for random bursts of Frivolous Fiction

Did you know most libraries offer a hold service?  You can often do the library catalog search right from your own home computer, and place holds on books that look appealing to you.  This is the basic level of giving a gift to your future reading self.

I like to take library holds a step further, however, placing holds on books that have not yet been published.  Our local library catalog will show you when books are “On Order.”  So, for example, if you have a favorite mystery author whose book will not be released until August, you may actually be able to place a hold on that title several months in advance.

I love doing this, because by the time the publication date rolls around, I’ve generally forgotten I even placed the book on hold.  Then, oh joy! Oh bliss!  I receive an email from my library letting me know I have a book on hold at the library!  And instead of waiting past the 172 patrons now on the waiting list, I generally get to be First, because I placed my hold back before the title was even published.  Future Self thanks Past Self again.

Create annual calendar reminders so you never miss out

One of my favorite Google Calendar functions is being able to set up an event on repeat.  Here are a few ways this can be a gift to your Future Self:

  • Remember the library hold idea?  I have created a calendar reminder with a list of some authors whose work I enjoy.  Whenever this reminder comes up on my calendar, I do a quick library search for their names and place any new “on order” titles on hold.  Then I forget about it until the next time the reminder comes up.
  • There are a few local fieldtrips that we enjoy every year.  For example, the symphony has a limited run of affordable education concerts for school groups.  However, once the tickets go on sale, you have to reserve your seats within a day or two before they’re all gone.While the concert we may want to attend is in May, the tickets go on sale every August.  So I have an annual calendar reminder set up that prompts me to check on tickets so I don’t forget one year and we have to miss out.Even if you did forget something this year, go ahead and set up the reminder in your calendar so you won’t forget it next year.  Your Future Self will thank you.
  • I am extremely sappy and like to remember special moments in the life of my romance with my husband.  I have created calendar events on repeat to memorialize such moments as our first email, the first time we held hands, etc.  It not only brings a smile to my face, but I can send a sweet love-text to my husband.  Remembering sweet memories can bring joy even during a hard day full of poopy diapers and moody teens.Maybe you don’t want to remember a romance, but you could also use an annual reminder to memorialize a friend’s anniversary, a child’s baptism, or any other personal or family moments you’d like to remember.  I guess this is sort of like scrapbooking for those of us who don’t scrapbook.

Note, even if you use a paper calendar this is still feasible.  Before we moved to family Google Calendar, I used to place these types of monthly reminders on the side of my paper planner, and any time I switched over planners I would make sure I copied these reminders out for the entire year.

Do something that does not necessarily have practical value for your current life

This is an idea which my present self has been mulling over recently.  After all, what if someone offered to take me on a trip around the world, and the only thing holding me back was that I didn’t have a passport?  What if I had a spontaneous opportunity to do some sort of work and get paid for it, but I missed out because my résumé was probably last updated when I applied to college?

Neither of those situations is probably very likely or practical at this current stage of my life. But gifts to my Future Self bring joy not only in the future, but also very often in the present moment as I prepare and plan and dream.  So my 2018 to-do list includes items like “Passport” and “Résumé” because one day, my Future Self may look back and give a big high five and thank you to her Past Self on the way to meet Lord Peter and Harriet in Oxford.

It could happen, right?  And even if not, just knowing the possibility is there may just bring a smile to my Today.  And that, Future Self, is a gift worth having.

{I’ve started writing more regularly at www.humilityanddoxology.wordpress.com. I’d love to see you there!}

Amy Sloan

Amy Sloan

Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers by grace alone to 5 children ages 2, 5, 7, 10, and 12. Amy loves coffee, perseveres through half-marathons and weight-training, and starts getting nervous if the stack of to-be-read library books beside her bed is less than 2 feet tall. Get her started on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, or Hamilton the Musical and it might be hard to get her to stop. Mostly, though, she gets really excited about the Gospel. The Sloan family adventures in North Carolina.Amy blogs at http://humilityanddoxology.wordpress.com/
Amy Sloan