Your imagination is yours. You can remember the past you choose, rehearse the future you want, and identify with the real and fictional heroes and events of your selection. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #91311 posted on 06/11/2018 11:29 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Hello again current and former writers! It's question 89494 again. If you participated last year, would you change what you wanted to say to your past self back then? How would you respond to yourself from a year ago? What would you say to yourself a year in the future and what questions would you ask?

New participants get the original prompt.

-M.O.D.A.Q.

A:

Hello self,

To answer my past self, no and no.

I can't think of anything to ask my future self at this time.

-M.O.D.A.Q.

A:

Dear M.O.D.A.Q.,

To my past self: Mom and Dad really do love you, but they don't always know what's best for you. For example, you can go visit your long-distance boyfriend and keep the law of chastity. People who say you can't control yourselves are setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can and will control yourselves because you're human, not an animal. While mom and dad may say visiting him is a bad idea, it's actually a really good idea, and they will come to love him as well.

Also, start looking into getting a PhD! You know you're interested in it, you're just afraid it'll ruin (Mormon) society's expectations of you. But that's not what you want, you've never wanted it, so stop trying to pretend you do. minnow will be way more supportive of it than you ever expected, and his opinion (and most importantly, God's and your own) matter so much more than anyone else's. Follow your dreams, don't be afraid to make mistakes, and everything will work out.

To my future self: did you get into the PhD program you wanted to get into? What internship did you take at the Washington Seminar, and would you have changed it? How are you and minnow and those wedding plans?

-guppy of doom

A:

Dear M.O.D.A.Q.,

I didn't participate in this question last year, so I get the original prompt.

 

Dear past me,

Oh my darling. You have been through it for the past year. Honestly, we aren't feeling too much better now, but we are on our way. I know we've tried to be on our way for years and years, that we've done what we thought we were supposed to do with the therapists and the psychiatrists. I know you've been banging your head against this wall for most of your life. Now, though, I think there is actual progress. Just hang on. You will hang on. You will wonder why you are hanging on. You're going to walk right up to the cliff over and over and ask yourself what the point is. But you are going to hang on, because this is what we do, so far. In a few days, you are going to visit Stuntman in Oregon, and she and her boyfriend are going to try to talk you into moving in with them. Just say yes. You're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops. You will have five insurance plans in one year. You are going to get a diagnosis that scares you. You are going to have to let go of a lot of people, some of them very important to you, and that is going to be excruciating at times. From my standpoint, though, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, even if it's just a pinprick and I can't squint hard enough to see it all the time. Even if that light is a lifetime of managing your mental health. I have hope that we can manage it. I promise. This feels different. Don't expect smooth sailing, though. This year will be a hard one. There will be a lot of huge ups and downs and sometimes you won't feel like you can catch your breath. I can, however, promise you hope at the end of it. I don't know where we are going from here, but at least things make more sense.

In the words of Buddy Wakefield, "go find your spine and ride it out of here."

Yours,

2018 TBS

 

Dear future me,

Okay, but is that hope more than a pinprick now?

Desperately,

2018 TBS

 

- The Black Sheep

A:

Dear MODAQ,

Last year, I asked future self about hurricanes and any bad events at the refinery where I work. Then my house & cars flooded in Harvey and the refinery had some pretty significant issues. I probably could have saved the refinery a few million bucks, and maybe as much as a hundred million, if I had had that conversation. I would warn past self that a specific cabinet contractor is secretly a child-molesting crack addict so I should really take the time to get multiple bids on that part of my rebuild. I would advise past self to get a rental house early on, and stay in it until the rebuild of my flooded house was further along. (Although we moved back in months ago, I am just now polishing off the rebuild, and we should have been in a rental for longer.) But, past self, don't worry: thanks to a generous insurance adjuster, supportive family & friends, and smart contracting decisions (cabinets excepted), you actually come out way financially ahead on the whole hurricane adventure, so I'm not sure I would even want you to move before the storm hits.

No change on what I would have said to my past self.

I'd still ask future self about the same things (avoidable disasters, profit opportunities). I would add a question about what books I should just skip reading. I would also ask a few questions about the future development of my oldest kid--how early will I be able to successfully start him on phonics, any good new disciplinary tricks, etc.? Any classes I should avoid in my MBA program? And have you figured out any good tricks for getting physical exercise in a disciplined way (aside from don't have a flooded house, newborn, job, and degree all at the same time--thanks for that)?  

I don't have much to say to future self. Maybe "shame on you" if I still haven't got the exercise scheduling thing figured out.

~Professor Kirke

A:

Dear Doctor,

To past me: Yes, I'm sort of taking better care of myself. It really helps that I'm not working any more. And guess what? You'll get to quit at the end of June! However, this dream you have of "discovering yourself" and "taking time to recover" won't really be much of a thing, since you'll find out you're pregnant at the end of July. Don't freak out—the pregnancy and birth will more or less be okay; you'll just spend a ton of time sleeping, and that's perfectly alright. 

To future me: How's Lil' M. doing? Are you getting enough sleep (probably not but we can hope, right?) Have you had time to work on those projects you've been wanting to do? Did you decide to actually pursue genetic counseling?

-Tally M.

A:

Dear MODAQ,

I would tell my past self to take the severance package that will be offered.  Things work out.  On a side note, I should probably also tell my past self that my job is going to be relocated to West Virginia so it isn't as big of a surprise when I find out.

I would ask my future self how Game of Thrones ends and if George R. R. Martin ever finishes The Winds of Winter. Can I also ask my future self what the winning lottery numbers were on a certain date?

I sure hope this helps. Please don't hate me.

- Brutus

A:

Dear Mo,

In answer to my past self: I don't know. Probably. 

In counsel to my past self: I really wish you would have calmed down sooner. I think you made it weird for others and yourself for way longer than you thought. And now lots of people and places have weird memories/feelings attached to them, and that's kind of rough. But, all things considered, I think you had a pretty good year. You did your best with what you had. 

Oh, but maybe don't try to date that one guy. It doesn't work out and you just end up feeling meh for like a month. 

Questions for my future self: Have you figured out grad school yet? Have you figured out our gap year yet? Can you finally sing along to the bridge in "Despacito" and the second verse of that one Kendrick song? 

Take care,

-Auto Surf 

A:

Dear MODAQ ~

I still 100% agree with what I told my now 2-year ago self.

As for what I asked my future-now-present self: 

Future self: What advice would you give me? How do you feel about the number of children that you have? (How many children do you have?) Do you regret any of the decisions I'm making right now? Any advice on how to build confidence in our kids? Does Yellow 2.0 ever grow out of his terrible twos? Please tell me that he skips the threenager stage. Please? Any amazing parenting tips you've learned that you'd like to pass my way?

Present self's answer: Be brave, friend. You are about to enter upon an amazing stage of your life. Start figuring out who you are. Write it down. Separate who you are from how people see you. Sometimes the two are the same. They often aren't. You're such a people pleaser that you think you are what they see, when really, you're not. Also, you're fluid. Things you absolutely loved a few years ago, you'll stop loving. It's a very hard realization. Go ahead and mourn those things. Then move on and find new things to love. 3 kids. That's it for you. Again, allow yourself to mourn the passing of a stage. But the sooner you give away the baby stuff, the happier you will be. Stop caring so much about what you think society might think. Stop thinking about what Past Dragon Lady thought. Build confidence? Hah! I wish I knew. Still working on that. But yes, Yellow 2.0 is a delight again. Everyone says so. Parenting tips: start regular Saturday Chores and Dinner Jobs sooner. Give them the same job. Don't change them each time. Wait until they master it. It's SO MUCH EASIER. Also, be strong and don't solve Dragon Baby's monetary problems. When you let her cry and sympathize with her, it'll turn out much better in the end. Promise.

2019 self: Is New [Dragon Lady] still a thing? I'm super excited about you. I have blossomed the last couple of months, and I cannot even fathom what another year will do to me. I'm super excited. You're super close to all kids in school every day. Did you get a job? Is your life still simple? Were you able to transform your ward's Family History program at all? Did you take any more girls' trips? What amazing things did you learn from those ladies if you did?

~ Dragon Lady

A:

Dear MODAQ,

Can this power be learned? Teach me this magic. If not, here's what I'd like to say to past me and to future me.

To Past Tipperary: I can't believe you're still on your mission. Woah. Anyways, I will explain. No. There is no time, I will sum up. First, take the first few weeks of fall semester a lot more seriously. Trust me bro; you don't got it. Second, don't worry too much about dating. Still go on dates and have fun, but focus more on making friends. Third, I know you want to get involved, but instead of trying out like 6-7 extracurricular activities and burning yourself out, I'll just tell you the 2 you'll actually want to stick with so you don't have to waste your time on everything else.

Questions For Future Tipperary: Of all the gazillion different extracurricular activities I want to do this year, which should I actually do? Also, how about my school schedule? Did I pick right? Is this the year I finally stop over scheduling myself, or should I just buy caffeine in bulk? Also, would it unethical to use this power to gamble? Would you mind helping me out with my March Madness bracket for next year?

I can't wait to find out the answers. Thanks for the great prompt!

Peace,

Tipperary

A:

Dear Mo,

What I said last year:

Hey, how's it going? Just wanting to confirm something really fast: am I still alive, or did the first year of ACME straight-up kill me?

Uh-huh...wait, what? How is that even an answer? How do you not know?... oh... yeah, um, I'm not sure either in that case.

Okay, moving on, then. Anything going on relationship-wise? 

*Sigh* And just when I thought I couldn't be any more committed to my textbooks.

Well, good talk Future Me. Hope everything goes well for you.

Response:

Man, that's all sadly accurate. Especially the part about me being so committed to my textbooks. There is not a single book I know better than my Vol I book. I know the content of each chapter, the specific page numbers of certain information--you get the idea.

I can confirm that I am indeed alive, though life is very different than it was pre-ACME. 

Questions for Future Me:

How did taking the math GRE go? Did I get into the masters program? Also, what job do I have this summer? Is it as good as the one I have right now? How did that one thing turn out?

~Anathema

A:

Dear Sir:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. -Rainer Maria Rilke

---Portia

A:

Dear past self,

You won't find what you're looking for, no matter how many cool places you look. Also, please don't get into a staring contest with a Turkish policeman. You will lose.

Future self,

Have you figured out what we're searching for, yet? Also, did I get malaria or some other terrible tropical disease?

--Ardiila Feroz, exhausted and a bit confused from Sao Tome and Principe

A:

Dear past yayfulness,

The list of stuff you were worrying about and the list of stuff you should have been worrying about have basically nothing in common.

You'll get the internship, so don't stress. Seriously. The stress will cause you all sorts of problems. You don't need them. Especially because while you're waiting for word on the internship, your wife is going to get hit by a drunk driver on the way to work and she'll be physically fine in the long term but she is going to need your attention and if you're stressed about the internship you won't be able to give it effectively. Also it is going to take an absurd amount of time for the paperwork to go through, so get a temporary job somewhere. By the time you know that you really need it, it will be too late to get it.

On a related note, not that you were planning on it, but don't put any money into the car. It's not going to exist anymore in a couple months.

As for the thesis project... you're going to do the third-quarter studio option, not the thesis project option. So you've got some time still. And things will fall into place on their own when the time comes.

What else should you know about? Honestly, in the big picture, your life is going to be pretty boring in the next year. It might be a good idea to take the grant writing class instead of the water law class, but both of them have their downsides. Also, Healthy Cities is good, but it might not be worth the stress during your last quarter.

When you finally get around to seeing him, the doctor will tell you that the lump on your knuckle is a harmless cyst and you don't need to do anything about it for now. You can keep calling it your finger cancer, though.

When you finally get around to seeing him, the dentist will tell you that you didn't lose a filling, you just chipped it, and you don't need to do anything about it for now. But quit putting off the dental appointment, because you're going to start getting gum issues from plaque buildup if you wait much longer.

It'll save you a hundred dollars if you just buy the plane ticket as soon as you know you need it and don't wait a month until things that you know for a fact are going to fall into place actually fall into place.

Oh, and the state planning conference? If you wait to buy the registration until you've figured out all the details, you won't need to worry about the details because the conference will be sold out. So please don't wait.

Notice a trend here? You already self-diagnosed with inattentive-type ADHD a few months ago. But you haven't done anything about it, have you? Of course not, because procrastination is one of the hallmark symptoms. I wish I could tell you about a formal diagnosis, but you're going to put that off for at least another year. So maybe don't do that. Better to get it treated now and not suffer through another year of school on your own.

There's really not much else to tell you that I can remember right now. Check your DMs, though; I've got a few mundane details about the car-buying and apartment-renting process that will save you some time later on.

-current yayfulness

 

Dear future yayfulness,

That was a mess, wasn't it? I bet this will be a mess next year too, but I'm asking anyway.

Will I apply for any jobs with places other than the county? Any tips on those applications? And any suggestions on how to advance my career at my current job?

Will I have to move? Within the city, or to someplace totally new? If so, any hints will be greatly appreciated.

Oh, here's one - will I still be irrationally afraid of and disgusted by babies? They're so ugly and useless and get fluids everywhere, but apparently people love them anyway and I want to do that but I have no idea how.

Mostly, though, I'm just looking forward to hearing about all the things that I had no idea I was supposed to ask about.

Best of luck! I'm sure I'll need it.

-current yayfulness

A:

Dear Van Goff 2017,

Things happen, but not as you expect them to.

Dear Van Goff 2019,

Same, probably.

PS: Stop spending our money on chocolate! I work hard to earn that money, dang it.

-Van Goff

A:

Dear M.O.D.A.Q.,

To my past self:

Dude, calm it down a little bit. Moving across the country is exciting, but it's going to be ridiculously hard. You're going to miss your old place a ton more than you think you will and life when you get there is going to be a ton harder than you think it will be. It's still the right decision and 1-year-in-the-future you is still happy that it happened, but gear up because the going gets tough.

To my future self:

Have you figured out if you can still be a teacher yet? Do I need to jump ship and find another, higher paying job? Or will this work out for us? If you have the time (machine), I'd love to know the answer.

Best,

The Man with a Mustache