A Tribute to Future You

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Raft Tribute to Future YouDeath and destruction are everywhere. And it Sucks. With a capital S. But what will you do about that?

Today’s post is unfortunately partly “inspired” by many recent tragedies.

I am almost always one of the most energic, optimistic people in the room at any given time. However, as I work through the process of planning out the rest of my life, I have to come to grips with the fact that I really do not have any clue how long that will be. A life raft could come crashing through my ceiling and take me out while I’m sleeping tonight. Or I could take my final breath when I’m 116 years old.

You might think that my personal trigger for writing about such a sombre topic was the absolutely horrific Humboldt hockey team bus crash in Saskatchewan. Or the two grade school kids who died of the flu in Guelph this winter. How about my neighbour’s 20-something co-worker who passed away this week? Or the passing in February of a friend’s mom, followed only a few weeks later by her husband’s dad. Or the collection of any other number of sad stories that hit the news cycle.

Nope.

I was originally going to write about something boring like water heaters or tax refunds or driving kids to school. Instead, today’s post is truly inspired by one of the most loving and selfless women I know. For privacy purposes, I’ll call her “Diane”.

Diane’s Story

daffodils
Diane has cancer. And it’s bad. Really bad. Her words – not mine.

Diane has been one of the core volunteers for the last 2+ years on a refugee settlement program I’ve led. She has poured out so much love and support for our new friends, particularly to help their 8-yr-old son adjust to life in Canada. Watching her in action is truly amazing.

But she was diagnosed just a few months ago. And as I mentioned, it’s getting bad. Having to step back from helping must have been extremely hard for her. But I felt I needed to share this story with you because of the hope and positive attitude she is showing in the face of significant heartache.

Let’s start with the email she just sent me:

Positive Attitude Email

First off, Diane pulls no punches. Gets straight to the point. “I’m dying. I can’t make the volunteer celebration dinner.” Of course I already knew and expected that, but her candor still hit me like a ton of bricks. Or like a raft crashing down from the sky.

But keep reading. She expresses gratitude to the rest of the team. Plenty of exclamation marks. And love. And hope. I don’t know about you, but this email absolutely oozes with positive attitude. Regardless of whether you share her faith perspective, you have to admire that.

When she closes her eyes one final time, I hope she truly understands deep down what a marvellous women and friend she has been. And just to be sure, I intend to tell her that in person shortly.

OK, now somebody go grab me some Kleenex…

Why Do You Care? Because Future You Will

Well, I have two key points I’m trying to make: Live a life of purpose. And always stay positive.

Live a Life of Purpose

This is at the core of what DeliberateChange.ca is all about. Don’t just go through life on autopilot. Live now. Anticipate and plan for tomorrow. Love and help others. Be kind, generous, and hard-working.

It’s about making deliberate choices about how you want to live your life. Do you want to retire early? Do you want to drive a fancy car? What about traveling around the world? Or being a stay-at-home parent to a baseball-team’s worth of kids? Or coming alongside and loving an 8-yr-old boy in a new country?

It doesn’t matter. Just choose. Then go make it happen. Future You will thank you.

If you don’t like where your life is headed, in most cases that’s on you. (Well, in the developed world, at least.) You’re either being lazy, or complaining too much, or self-pitying, or making terrible decisions, or blaming the world for your problems. Instead, try taking ownership of the situation and holding yourself accountable.

With uncanny timing, Mr. Money Mustache’s latest article makes reference to what Future You will think. His perspective is this article is from one year out. I tend to try and think from a decade out. But honestly, the core idea is the same: Balance immediate happiness and fulfillment with ongoing happiness and fulfillment.

And the only way to do that successfully is to make a choice.

Be Positive

Lonely Sledge
The other key point is to stay positive. I know that for many people this comes naturally, while for many others it’s the exact opposite. But I truly believe that if you can maintain hope and a positive attitude through adversity, you will be more inclined to push through and come out stronger in the end.

A small example on this one is the free “back to basics” money management course I help coach.

I’m at a table this week with seven other people whose finances are a mess. We’re learning about money. For most people who are in financial trouble, I would guess that money is not a fun topic. But we were having a blast! There was plenty of laughter, discussion and encouragement to go around. This type of environment and personal attitude can be very useful to inspire deliberate change, instead of playing the victim.

Another recent example arises from tragedy. One of the junior hockey players paralyzed in the Humboldt bus crash is now setting his sites on playing Olympic sledge hockey:

Dad, Olympic sledge hockey. I’ll get us the gold.

This kid has his whole life ahead of him. Will it be easy? No. Will he face many challenges? Of course. Could he play the victim? Yes. But he is instead choosing to focus on what’s next.

Let’s all follow his lead.

Pencil with ShadowYour Turn Now!

What are you doing now that Future You will appreciate? What are you doing that Future You will regret? Are you living a life of positivity or anger? What steps are you going to take to be more deliberate and purposeful with your life?

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