Goal Setting, Heres to Living my Life!, Motherhood, My Mission

A Conversation with My Future Self

I really love podcasts, don’t you? There is one that I have been listening to for a while that I really enjoy. It is called “Better Than Happy” by a woman named Jody Moore. She is a certified life coach and mom of four children.  We are about the same age and share similar interests and beliefs. I think we could be friends.

I was listening to Episode 131 of her podcast this week entitled “Your Future Self.” If you are interested then you can listen here.  It is really an interesting concept that you ask your future self questions and you can get a lot of insight. She likes to ask her 92-year-old self questions because she thinks 93 is a good age to die. I laughed when I heard this, but there is a lot of wisdom in it.

A few year ago, I had the opportunity to interview my great-aunt Norma Gutke Ellis with my sister Deniane Kartchner. Aunt Norma was the only one of her generation left. She was the youngest sister of my grandfather whom I don’t remember because he died when I was under a year old.  I loved visiting with her. She was in her nineties and so spunky so fully of life an love. It was a sad day when we lost her. She was simply amazing.  I loved hearing her laugh and the bantering between her and her husband of over sixty years. She was full of wisdom and love. She struggled with her health, but she always had a smile on her face.

I think I would like to learn wisdom from my future self. I will go to the age 90 because that seems like a nice even number. My grandmothers both lived into their eighties and so there is a good chance that I could live to ninety.

The year will be 2069 when I turn ninety. Now that is a crazy thought! When I picture my ninety year old self, I see a combination of my Grandma Gladys (left center) and my Grandma Fern (right center with me as a baby). I will also look similar to my mother on the far right and my sister. I love these women and I will be proud to look like them. I will have white/gray hair. I will be wrinkly in the face, but I will still have the same green eyes that I have at forty. I will have sunspots on my arms and legs, but I hope I will be strong able to walk, to garden, and to take loving care of my children, grand children and great-grandchildren. I will probably have a double chin and shakes when I laugh, but who cares? I will be beautiful like these women are beautiful.

One of the ways to “talk” to your future self that Jody Moore suggests is doing the “Start, Stop, and Continue” activity. She suggest asking your future self:

What should I start doing?

What should I stop doing

What should I continue doing?

So I picture myself at ninety and I picture my wonderful grandmothers and here I go.

Dear Ninety Year Old Karen,

What should I start doing?

Dear Forty Year old Karen,

How lovely it is to talk to you! I am so glad that you are taking the time to picture your life ahead fifty years from now. The world has changed but there are so many things in this world that matter that have not changed. The sun still comes up every day in the east. There are still wonderful seasons to enjoy. The rain still falls and drips its heavenly sound on the roof and ground. The daffodils still poke their heads up every spring and adorn their beautiful bright yellow petals. The lilacs still bloom and send their sweet fragrance forth. They are still my favorite.  Technologies have come and gone, but there are three things that are always consistent my dear; 1) Jesus Christ, 2) the importance of family, 3) and loving and serving others. 

So you ask me what should you start doing as a forty-year old? I think it will be best if we break them down into four categories: physically, spiritually, and mentally/emotionally and occupationally.

Physically: start eating more fruits and vegetables and doing more strength building exercises like yoga and lifting weights. Your grandmother Gladys had diabetes and was no longer able to move from her chair in her eighties. Please take care of yourself. Eat well and take good care of your body. 

Spiritually: pray. Please pray every day. I know it is hard for your right now but if you pray every day and build that relationship with your Heavenly Father then you will have the strength that you need when every hard situation comes along and there will be many. You are setting the spiritual example for your children, but also for your grand children and great-grandchildren. They will be here some day. As I look at my wall I see photos of all their smiling faces and I love each of them as Grandma Fern loved each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Think of the legacy that Grandma Fern left and her consistent testimony despite her many troubles and weaknesses, strive to be like her. Think of your mother and her relationship with the Lord. Be strong and be believing. Think of how Mormon and Moroni were strong despite the fact that they were alone in their faith. You can do it. I know you can because I am you. 

Mentally/emotionally.  Please have confidence in who you are. Please know how much your are loved and needed on this earth.  Please know you are a daughter of God and you are worthy of love always. Please be confident in the abilities and talents that Heavenly Father gave you and allow yourself to shine. 

Occupationally: Start writing! Write every day. You are a good writer. Write your personal history and write your stories in  your head.

Dear Ninety Year Old Karen,

What should I stop doing?

Dear Forty Year Old Karen, 

I will answer in the same categories. 

Mentally/emotionally: Stop listening to the critical voices (especially those inside your head) that drag you down and keep you from reaching your potential. You are a dreamer! Dream, float, fly and create. It is what you are supposed to do. As I sit here in my little apartment, there are at least ten books that have your name as the author. What you have to say is important. Your words are important. Your children and grandchildren need your voice and to read the stories of your ancestors in an enjoyable way that only you can write. Please do it. 

Physically: Stop comparing yourself to others. You are going to get old and your beauty is going to fade on the outside. It really is the inside that counts. Your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will think you are beautiful because you are who you are. I have a double chin, but no one cares. They love me for me! They love spending time with me because I have invested myself in their lives and shared so much love and friendship.  You can take care of yourself and you know how to do that. Please be your own kind of beautiful. 

Spiritually: Stop trying to save yourself. You will never be able to make it back to Heavenly Father on your merits alone. Allow Jesus Christ to be your partner in the yoke of this life. Allow him to take away your sins, your cares, your burdens, your struggles. Let him into your life. Develop your relationship with him. Give your heart and will over to him and let him run your life. It will take you places you will never imagine but it will be a fantastic ride! Hold on and enjoy the ride! 

Dear Ninety Year Old Karen,

What should I continue doing?

Dear Forty Year Old Karen,

Continue to do activities like this. I am always here and available to you. Remember when times get hard and you want to give up that I have made it this far. I made it through. I am ninety years old and I have lived a satisfying and happy and amazing life.  You will get through your hard times and there will always be sunshine ahead. REmember that today is a good day to have a good day. You are the one who chooses each day to be happy, to be confident and to be healthy. You can do it. I know because I am you and I have had a happy life. You can do it! You will! Keep going! 

I love you always– not matter what

Ninety-year Old Karen

 

 

 

My Mission

Applying a Lesson from ‘Anne of Green Gables’ in My life

As I was reading “Anne of Green Gables,” a part stuck out to me. It is not included in the movies because I think producers chose to take it out afraid that its contents would offend someone.

In Anne’s first few days at Green Gables, Marilla asks her to go upstairs and retrieve her card with a prayer on it so she could memorize it.  Anne has been a long time and Marilla comes to find her standing on the stairs looking at the picture of “Christ Blessing Little Children” hanging on the wall.

Anne imagined she was one of the children.

“I was the little girl in the blue dress standing off by herself.  She looks lonely and sad.  She crept shyly, hoping Christ would notice her. He would look at her and put His hand on her hair and oh, such a thrill of joy as would run over her!” (p. 56)

I love the imagery of this! Dear Anne had felt unwanted since she was a baby. Her parents died of fevers when she was just three months old, then a neighbor took her in until she was eight. Then she went to another home where the woman had three sets of twins all under the age of six.  She looked after them for three years until she was finally to the orphanage in Nova Scotia. Her story tugs on your heart strings. You feel sad for the little girl who had not known love.  I love that she felt drawn to the painting and could imagine herself in the photo.

I feel it is a lesson for me and important that I do the same. I need to picture myself standing next to Jesus Christ. I believe he will put his arms around me and hug me and “such a thrill will run over me.”   I do believe in Jesus Christ. I do know that He came to earth and suffered for my sins, but also for my “physical pains and anguish, my weaknesses and shortcomings, my fears and frustrations, my disappointments and discouragement, my regrets and remorse, my despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities I experience, and the emotional distresses that beset me.” (Elder David A. Bednar,  “Bear up Their Burdens with Ease”, Ensign, May, 2014.)

I know this is true.