I had a talk today with myself – in the year 2049.
Or at least, the 90-year-old me was in 2049.
I did this because I was feeling stuck and unsure of so many things, as though I’m in my 20s again (horrors!). But then I remembered how I recently gave my 23-year-old self some pretty good advice.
Why not ask for advice from someone who loves and looks affectionately upon my 56-year-old self? Someone who really would know what’s best for me right now?
Here’s what my 90-year-old self had to say during my meditative walk with her.
Don’t worry so much. It will all work out.
Do things that matter to you. If they matter to you, they will matter to other people, too.
You like to solve problems because you’re trying to help other people and get things done. Don’t invent problems to solve. Just do what you enjoy.
Keep big swaths of your life clean and empty. Clutter disturbs you for a reason: it clogs your mind. Keep some pure, nonchaotic space as your defense.
I liked this advice. So we kept going.
“What’s up with all my medical problems?” I asked her.
You’ve just had intensive training in how to get older. Now you can relax and enjoy it.
“This recovery is taking a long time,” I complained.
I know. It’s part of the plan.
“OK, so I have all this time, but my brain isn’t really up to thinking and studying,” I said. “How should I spend the recovery time?”
Do what doesn’t require thinking and studying: pure expression. You may never have another chance to spend this much time on pure expression. Take advantage of it! Like your friend Kimberly told you: After brain surgery, you get a free pass for a year.
If you’re not doing something, it’s because you don’t really want to. And if you don’t really want to, you can’t do it right now. Wait until you’re ready.
I asked her, “So what should I do this year?”
Make beauty. See beauty. Write beauty. That’s all you need to know.
“Hmmm,” I said. “Beauty. Do you mean like landscapes and flowers? That’s kind of … mush.”
Beauty is NOT mush! It draws strength from its contrasts. Beauty has sharp edges along with curved edges. It has complementary colors, which are opposites. It has darks and lights and every value in between. You know all this from your study of paintings. Authentic beauty is not mush!
Make beauty. See beauty. Write beauty.
“Okay,” I said.
Today’s penny is a 1990, in honor of my 90-year-old self.