Five Things You Should Have Gotten Into Ten Years Ago

Seinfeld watching "Jerry"
Image by callumalden via Flickr

In the nightclub scene at the start of an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld did a great bit about Morning Guy and Night Guy:

I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, cause I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late.  “What about getting up after five hours sleep?  Oh that’s Morning Guy’s problem. That’s not my problem, I’m Night Guy. I stay up as late as I want.”  So you get up in the morning, you’re hungover, you’re exhausted, groggy.  Oooh, I hate that Night Guy!  See, Night Guy always screws Morning Guy.  There’s nothing Morning Guy can do.  The only thing Morning Guy can do is try and oversleep often enough so that Day Guy loses his job and Night Guy has no money to go out anymore.

Obviously, that’s comedy.  However, at a deeper level, this is the way life works.  We travel this road of life, and each step is determined by the person we were previously.

I was reading a review at that contained an interesting concept…

Imagine that you are your future self, ten years from now.  What are you doing?  How has your life changed?

More importantly, what will the you of ten years from now want to tell the you of today, if he or she could reach back in time?  Will the future you have regrets or resentments about the way today’s you managed your life?

To give you some idea of just how important this concept is, shift everything ten years earlier in time.  Surely there are things that the you of today wishes you could reach back and tell the you of ten years ago.  Personally, I’d like to grab and shake some sense into that fool!

We get a few short decades in this world, and then our lives must end.  During that brief span, decisions we make today, based on beliefs we formed yesterday, create the path we follow tomorrow.  It’s quite unfortunate that we have the lowly perspective we do.  Rarely do we look up and see the journey in its totality, preoccupied as we are with what’s right in front of us.

If you’ve ever looked out the window of a plane in flight (or simply looked at satellite photos from Google Maps), you know how different the world looks from a higher perspective.  If we could somehow rise above our immediate thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, we might make wiser decisions that put us on a better path.

You may find it very helpful to think about that poor sucker ten years from now.  He (or she) is a victim of what you do today.  Don’t let down the you of ten years from now.  Don’t disappoint him/her.  Set him/her up with a great headstart, so that the future you is grateful, not resentful, for the way you spent your time.

Don’t look back ten years from now at the you of today and say “Newman!

Here’s wishing you a L’shana Tova, which is 10% of the way down that ten-year stretch.

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