Dear Future Me

Posted January 21, 2015 by

I stumbled onto a website last year, where you write a letter to your future self and then choose the date it gets sent to your email.  I excitedly wrote mine and I just received it today.  Wow! What a blast to read what I wrote — and not just because I can’t seem to remember anything these days!

In the letter, I asked myself several questions: follow-ups to what I was dealing with/ struggling with, upset and worried about. You know: the usual stuff. Want to know the best part? It was a rush seeing that I had moved past so many things that appeared monumental in January of 2014. Things that took up so much of my bandwidth at the time, yet a year later, I could see how little they ended up mattering.  The gift of time and hindsight certainly showed me that what felt like an enormous boulder in the path of life actually was a handful of pebbles.

The whole exercise got me thinking about raising kids. No matter the age of the child, they are always in a particular stage of development; and many times, that stage is UGLY. When will my son stop bedwetting? Biting kids? Teasing his sister? I want you to think right now about something one of your children is doing that’s making you bonkers. Then think ahead a bit; will this still be a big deal a year from now? Most likely not. Most likely, it won’t matter in a day or two.

Here’s what I’m getting at: even in the heat of the moment, we have a choice. We can dramatize every little thing into a major issue, or we can stop overreacting.  Does your child refuse to brush her teeth? Most likely, she’ll come around.  It’s unlikely that she’ll become the young adult that you keep picturing: the one with a gummy smile, sans teeth. Is your son playing video games way more than you are comfortable with? Although I’m with you on this one, most likely he’ll get restless, and move on to a new activity. I can’t tell you the nights I’ve lain awake, ruminating on some quirk of my son’s that I was certain would cause him to be unemployable and therefore unable to move out of my house (horror of horrors). A steady chronicler, I’ve looked back on old journal entries and been able to laugh at how hung up I was over what turned out to be, as they say, a hill of beans.

So, do me a favor. Write yourself two letters.  The first one is for you; talk to yourself as a person, not a parent, 12 months into the future.  Send yourself lots of sweet talk and love. Then write a separate letter to your parental self. Write down the issues of today so that you can ask yourself in January of 2016 if they are still lingering around. Lay it all out there; spare nothing. After all, you don’t have to share this with anyone else.  Then, set both letters aside. And in a year, when you read those (hopefully) forgotten words, let them sink it. I bet you’ll find that you, too, can laugh; that your worries will fade quickly, and you’ll be able to focus on new, bigger, and better things!  In the meantime, here’s a small step you can take when you start to become overly anxious: tell yourself to knock it off and that tomorrow’s just around the corner. See you there!

About

Renee Brown is the tired yet happy mother of two young adult sons, Sam and Zachary. Almost an empty nester, she loves sharing her single parent experiences with the goal of providing hope and encouragement to those struggling on that “long and winding road.” Renee lives in Minneapolis, works in advertising, and also blogs for Your Teen magazine.

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  1. Peggy Kaye Report

    I feel like my house, my life is not my own. I am 60 years old, my husband is 62, and we still work but are looking forward to retirement in a year….this is not what we bargained for.

    Reply
  2. Peggy Kaye Report

    My 31 year old son got fired last October in another town 5 hours away and is still living here.  I am so tired of it. How do I get him motivated to get out, get a job, get a place of his own and be responsible? I reaching my boiling point.

    Reply
    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      Peggy Kaye
      You bring up a situation we hear about often, both on Empowering
      Parents and the Parental Support Line. It’s not uncommon for parents who find
      themselves in your situation to feel stuck and unable to move forward because
      of their adult child’s lack of motivation to move out on his own. The
      unfortunate truth of the matter is you may not be able to motivate your son to
      step up and take charge of his own life, especially if he’s comfortable with
      things the way are. You may have to be the one who takes steps towards having
      your son leave your home, as  Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner
      suggest in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Six-Steps-to-Help-Your-Adult-Child-Move-Out.php#ixzz3VJsBCniy. Bear in mind, your son is an adult and you aren’t required to
      continue supporting him, even if he doesn’t seem able to support himself at
      this time. It’s really a choice you make. And, if that choice is no longer
      working for you, it’s OK to make a different choice about what support you are
      willing to give him. It’s OK to set a time limit on how much longer he can
      continue living in your home. In the meantime, you might consider developing a mutual
      living agreement with your son that outlines what your expectations are in
      regards to him looking for a job and taking the necessary steps to find his own
      place. For more information on developing a mutual living agreement, you may
      want to read the article http://www.empoweringparents.com/parenting-living-adult-children.php#ixzz3VJv5jpFn. We appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck
      moving forward. Take care.

      Reply

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