Two days ago I received a “! High Importance” email message from myself. There is nothing really strange about that, except that when I received it I postponed its reading thinking that one of the systems I work with had automatically sent me a note about its status, or a reminder about something I needed to do. So, I attended to the other messages first.
After a few hours I started noticing that such message was always at the top of my inbox. The rest of the incoming ones were below it all the time. When I finally opened it I realized the date stamp on it was twenty something years ahead.
The message was very long, I skimped quickly through many pages that seemed to be not only carefully ordered by themes, but also precise and beautifully written.
I was baffled yet curious, and started to deliberate how anybody could have hacked my email address to send me such a magazine in a simple email message. I went back to the top and started reading it. To my amazement, the sender knew many very personal aspects of my life; I started to get very upset and angry at the audacity of whoever that person was to describe such details, which I identified only I could have known.
Then, after a short paragraph explaining a few things I never did, but only thought, I realized the message was in fact sent by myself, from the future.
I know it’s incredible.
It took me many long and hard thought hours to decide whether to let you know about it or not. I won’t repost the whole message here: there is a lot of personal and private information in it, but I will share a few edited paragraphs (they were written in three languages, each paragraph or sentence done in the best sounding of the three, yes I did read it aloud, many times).
I am glad you decided to finally start writing that first book. Yes, it was hard to work less hours therefore make less money. It was even harder to steal time from your kids, and also swap your running time for studying the craft: attending writing related events and the long hours putting the pen to paper and fingers to keys. Now I know it was way harder than it seemed at first.
However, thanks to that decision I have had the best years of my life and can die happy.
No, you didn’t make it big as the great authors, you didn’t sell thousands of books either (you’ve completed 7 so far, keep it up!), you didn’t even won a third place at any of the contests you entered; but you did what you always wanted to do, and that has provided me with satisfaction and joy. My friends and family, some other people that claim to be your fans, and lots of others that have enjoyed the stories have told me so. I have even received thankful letters from very faraway places I didn’t even know existed. Some have brought happy tears to my eyes, the best form of recognition I could ever receive.
And the family time you sacrificed those years has been repaid with interests. My (your) kids are now adults, they finally understand now how difficult it was for you to do what you did, but most importantly; they are glad you did.
They see an old man that can’t barely move anymore but whom is always in a good mood, easy-going, peaceful, kind and optimist, despite my age. The neighbours call me “the smiling old man”.
No, you didn’t become rich and had to be content with the house you started living in, but then again, you didn’t have to get anything else.
So, in brief I’m just reporting that you made the best decision of your life when you finally decided to do what you always wanted to do. Everything else is a by-product or social imposition, this is, external factors. You have to focus on the internal ones in order to live happy.
I am happy (you are happy).
Encourage everybody you love to do what they really want to do. As you (I) appreciate now, it is never too late to start.
Keep doing what you like doing, the reward is implicit.