When my life is at its end, hopefully I'll be old, grey, and ready for it. Who will be around me? What will I want to tell them? Will I have any regrets?
Recently I went through a really unique experience provided by one of my colleagues from Hera Hub, De'Anna Nunez. We called it my "dream scene" and it was something I wish everyone could do!
Now I'm going to keep this short, but at the bottom I added some on for those who are interested to see more detail. Plus, I felt motivated to write this down so it doesn't fade away with time, and why not share it with you as well?
You start out with one scenario. I called this my STATUS QUO. Just living the rest of my life pretty much the same way I do now.
You close your eyes and De'Anna says, "Ok you're 5 years older. How's your relationship? How's your work?" and so forth. You describe how you see yourself and what you're up to across various facets of life. Then you take a step forward and you are another 10 years older. You go through it again. And you keep doing this until you are old and on your deathbed.
After you go through that, you do it again, but this time, you are to see yourself as if you lived the way you really wanted to, if you didn't fear certain things, didn't act certain ways, if you accomplished certain goals...
For the first "status quo" go around, I saw myself in 5 years still kind of frumpy, still struggling to balance work and home life, feeling low on energy. I felt like I looked 10 years older than I was supposed to. As I approached my deathbed, I didn't have that many regrets per say, I feel like I made good choices and did what I could to get through life. It was just...ok. It was fine. It was a good life.
For the second scenario, I saw myself in 5 years and I had finally shed this baby weight... I felt energetic, fit, and dare I say....SEXY! I felt like I looked better 5-10 years from now. I saw myself completely removed from work when I was at home with my family. I saw myself taking adventures, rock climbing, surfing, sitting on the sand with my kids. On my deathbed I felt like I had lived life to the fullest, was present for my kids and there for the people I cared about. I felt like I was close to them and had already taught them all I could about working hard, enjoying life, and all the other things I have to do to balance the hardships and blessings of time on this earth.
It's hard to explain here, and of course I want to keep this to a manageable length, but I am not kidding...after you do this, and you walk through the years, see the choices you make, and come to the end, it actually IS realistic. It really is. Plus it was so simple, to take me that far into my future just like that. It was fascinating.
I thought, "yeah...this is how I'd like to really live." I'd to go for a walk outside instead of just thinking about going for a walk outside. I'd like to put down my phone when my daughter is talking to me and actually listen. I'd like to read a book before bed instead of watching Netflix (unless we're talking about Stranger Things, because let's face it, that show is awesome). There are things I could be doing that would make me a better me. And right now I'm not really doing those. I think I'm doing the best I can. But the little choices I make every day make me wonder, maybe I'm not. When all is said is done, and my life is over, would I look back and make those same little choices if I could do it again?
I witnessed one of my friends do this too. Her two life outcomes were PHENOMENALLY different. I was in awe hearing her live out her life if she continued on as is, and how it would go down if she did what she really wanted and trusted her decisions. It blew my mind.
If you could fast forward to your deathbed, and have some semblance of how you'd feel, ahead of time, would you? I feel like it was such a LUCKY thing I got to do. It didn't take weeks, or months, or years. It took a couple hours, and it was so valuable to me.
I've experienced lots of death. Some traumatic, unexpected, and crippling to my functionality. Some natural, beautiful, and in their right time. It's taken me many years to crawl out of some dark places and realize that I would rather live my dream scene, than muddle through the status quo.
Thank you to De'Anna for giving me this beautiful experience!
That's the end of the story there. But for those of you who are still interested, I thought I'd go into a little more depth on my two side by side experiences. I would love so much for some of you to try this with De'Anna see what happens for you!
My Status Quo (summed up)
Age 38 (5 years from now)
I'm stressed, frumpy, not feeling very motivated.
I've got one foot in work, one in family, confused and torn as to which one has my attention more.
Tired of not being fully present with my kids and I feel like I have a so-so job. I've come to resent it more because it's taking too much time.
My husband and I are bored. I feel wrinkled, look older than I should. I feel like a little old lady.
I hate work because I have to do it. Damn work for getting in my way.
I have a better relationship with my husband now because I'm done working and finally able to live life.
Still frumpy and low on energy.
I feel like I got by and provided for my family but it never got easier.
I feel "blah" as a mother and a wife.
My kids did learn a good work ethic from me, but aren't close to me. We have a shallow relationship.
My relationship is fine, not good or bad. We made it through.
I feel heavy, and tired. Feel like I did a good job, made the best choices I thought I could.
Had a normal life.
My kids and grandkids are there but we don't have a lot of depth because I was working too hard all those years.
But I was good to them, did what I could, but wished I could have been in the moment more.
I feel thankful I lived so long and so did my children.
My advice to them, is to do the best you can and trust your decisions, and don't judge yourself on your mistakes.
But at the end of the day, I realize, I did not try to make life amazing.
My Dream Scene (summed up)
Age 38 (5 years from now)
My family is proud of me and I'm proud of them.
I lost the baby weight, have energy, and I am looking way better than I do now!
I'm taking advantage of the environment around me and surfing, paddle boarding, rock climbing, and doing these activities with my family. We are together, we are bonding.
I am supported by a good team at work.
My family appreciates my work, but it's totally separate.
I have a great team and I am doing more of what I love for work, whatever that is.
My husband now has time to pursue something he likes too, since the kids are older and in school and busy. He's happy and confident because he had space to follow a dream of his.
Olive has big goals, but she doesn't work for me.
I'm looking for the good in things, I have left my fears behind, I feel lighter like I'm skipping.
My husband and I are closer than ever, we can talk about anything.
I see myself with better posture, I'm confident, still fit.
I still work a little because I enjoy it.
My kids call me often and are excited to share their stories with me. I have energy for them and I've made choices to seek adventure instead of being lazy or missing moments because I was half listening.
I'm tired physically, but I'm happy.
I'm proud of myself for raising awesome kids because I made the choice to put them first.
I trust others to do good work on my behalf, I can't imagine I'm still working at 88 but you never know.
I fully appreciate the world.
Feels good, like I did it all.
What advice do I have? Go with your intuition. Change what needs to be changed. Take the next step.
I feel content.