Full Disclosure: I wrote this post many months ago, however was too afraid to hit the “publish” button. I’m now at a point where I’m at peace with my past, as well as with my future. But I’m also still healing, so felt it would be a step in the right direction to go ahead and put this out there.
An Imaginary Letter From My Future Self
You read a lot of personal finance articles where experts are asked to write letters to their younger selves. Like, if they could go back 10 or 15 years, what advice or wisdom they’d offer.
Whether they would’ve gone to that private college, or saved money by going local.
If that first new car was actually worth it, or if they could’ve survived and thrived with a used one.
And, for God’s sake, to make sure they started planning for retirement right out of the gate!
And I guess that’s what this article is about. Except from a point in time that hasn’t yet occurred. I don’t yet have that wisdom. I haven’t learned the lessons to pass on to my former self.
If it were at all possible to fast forward to the future — If it already happened to be a few months or years from now — There are a few things I’d like to hear from my future self right now.
Or rather, I really wish “current me” could benefit from the knowledge that “future me” is totally okay, and happy, and all of this junk is going to somehow be worth it in the end.
I know it’s easy to say things like:
“Don’t worry, things will turn out fine.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“You are stronger than you think you are.”
“The Universe and/or God never gives you more than you’re able to handle.”
While those sayings are all well and good — it’s sometimes difficult to believe them in the moment. And right now, I’d really appreciate some reinforcement.
Things I’d Love My Future Self to Say Right Now
As you may or may not know, I’ve been going through some *stuff*.
Some of it uncomfortable, some of it enlightening, but all of it necessary.
And in case you were not aware, I was in a 20+ year relationship that recently ended.
So yeah, a pretty big change.
My life as I’ve known it is now in transition, and I’d like to think it’s for the better…
But sometimes, when you’re at a low point, you start to question decisions that were made.
So I’d like to take some time to reflect on why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why this is the best choice for all involved.
And how this will make me a much happier person in the long run.
So coming from the imaginary voice of my future self, my personal cheerleader, here are some reminders as to the “why”, as well as the “how” to get through it all.
- You are stronger than you think. It may not feel like it right now, but you are. Don’t underestimate yourself.
- You’re going to be just fine. In fact, your life is going to be so amazing. You will honestly wonder why it took so long for it to finally get started.
- You deserve happiness. And not just the second-hand kind, where you’re happy your partner is getting what they want. I’m talking about True Happiness. Utter Joy. Belly laughs. Smiling from ear to ear, dancing for no reason, pure unadulterated happiness. That is what you deserve. And yes, it does actually exist.
- While the time you spent in the past was not all bad, there wasn’t nearly enough good. And that was not your fault. You gave all you could. More than what anyone could’ve expected. In fact, you unfortunately gave too much of yourself. Because that’s just the type of person you are. Kind. Giving. Loving. Forgiving.
- It’s okay to be alone. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy. And it doesn’t mean you’re unlovable.
- Girl, you’ve been independent your entire life. Why do you think you need someone else, in order to be whole? There’s nothing wrong with being in an equal partnership. But in the future, it’s also perfectly acceptable to be responsible for your self and no one else. In fact, sometimes it’s absolutely liberating.
Things You No Longer Have to Worry About
I really want you to take a long, hard look at the list below.
These are things I don’t ever want you to forget about.
Because breaking up is a grieving process. You may feel nostalgic about what you used to have, focusing on the good times.
But guess what — there were also not-so-good times. In fact, there were more bad times than good, especially in the most recent years.
So please, please, please never forget these are things that you put up with. On a daily basis. This was your life.
And now, it isn’t anymore.
Yes, be thankful for that. But don’t ever forget what you lived through.
Because you don’t want to go back there again, with this person or with any other person going forward.
Things You Are Putting in the Past for Good:
- Anger that’s triggered at the drop of a pin, and having to endure the sting of being yelled at for no apparent reason.
- Waiting for the tide to turn, knowing everything will be swept under the rug like it never happened, and there’s no apology in sight.
- Walking on eggshells when he was upset about something, and you didn’t want to make it worse.
- Having to drop everything whenever he started an activity that he “absolutely needed your help with”. Then snapping at you when you didn’t do it perfectly.
- Him always getting his own way, no matter what. Even though you were the one who was supposedly “hard to please”.
- Him turning things around to make it appear you were always in the wrong. “This never would have happened if you hadn’t made me _____.”
- Being yelled at and berated in public. At the grocery store. In Home Depot. A restaurant. A sporting goods store. At a gas station. The humiliation of having all eyes on you… and having strangers wonder what you did wrong to make this man detest you so much.
- Not being good enough to want to marry. Being an eternal girlfriend. But taking on the responsibility of a wife and mother. Never celebrating an anniversary. Or a Valentine’s Day. Or Mother’s Day. Because technically, you weren’t a wife or a mother (you were told).
- Taking on the brunt of the frustration whenever he screwed something up.
- Being led to believe you are less-than. Physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally.
- And, last but certainly not least — enduring the weight of verbal negativity that were “only jokes“, while representing an entire “inferior” gender…
Let’s play a word game: “All women are useless W____S, C____S, B_____S, S___S” ← insert additional profanities here… “Oh, but not YOU, my dear — you are the exception to the rule!” (Was I really…?)
Don’t Forget —
That even though he’s being nice to you now, it wasn’t always that way. And it may not stay that way, either.
Just because he is now happily planning his future without you, doesn’t mean the anger has gone away completely.
Do not let your guard down. Know that his core self is still in existence.
Play nice, keep the peace, for as long as you possibly can.
Then when it’s over —really and truly over— breathe a sigh of relief that you can *finally* move on.
But for now, you both need to coexist.
Count down the months, days, and hours. Keep things civil.
But don’t ever forget how he treated you.
You were his life partner, his supposed forever love. He treated you like you were nothing more than a second class citizen.
And that’s when he actually paid attention to you.
Future Self: What You Can Look Forward To
You need to start thinking about the future.
And not just the logistics of how to afford a mortgage payment on your own, or how to manage all of the yard work.
Without restrictions, or judgment, or having to ask permission first.
Where do you want your future to take you?
All those things you would daydream about… and how much better life could be.
Taking full control of your finances.
Doing what you really want with your free time.
Making day-to-day decisions without having to defend or justify your mindset.
Are you ready?
Believe it or not, you totally are.
And the possibilities are endless —
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the insurance industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.