This caught my attention and imagination today*: In 1977, Stoney Emshwiller recorded an interview with his future self. His filmmaker father ran the camera and Stoney "sat in a well-lit chair in a completely black studio and, like some teenaged Johnny Carson, chatted with an invisible older me. During this one-way conversation, I asked my older self tons of questions...then I recorded many different reactions to each possible answer, ranging from polite nods, to joy, sadness, annoyance, surprise, and outright horror."
The result is a poignant, quite wonderful interview between earlier expectations and later experience (and he's crowdfunding to digitally restore the original footage and improve/lengthen the film here if you're interested).
This has me wondering what my 18-year-old self would have wanted to know and what my older self would want to advise if they could actually converse. Here are a few things that might make the clip for me:
18-year-old self to the future me:
- Are you happy? cute? impressive?
- Do you live in a big city with a career? is your life romantic?
- Did you end up with ________? __________? _________? (I was a fickle 18-year-old)
- Did you see some of the world? Other countries?
- How many kids do you have? is it hard, childbirth and parenting?
- Do you have any regrets?
Older self to young Annie:
- Go spend more time with your grandparents and parents.
- Be a better friend to your siblings.
- Get out in nature more. Look out your window at those mountains and go! You're taking them for granted. You live in a beautiful place.
- You LUCK OUT in the husband department. Trust (and choose) the good, kind one who makes you happy.
- You'll be surprised how much you love being a mother. Maybe think about having more kids than your original plan. You won't understand this now but you even kind of love childbirth.
- Aim high in the academic/career aspirations department. Go for it. You want to write? Write. Worry/weight/ponder less, do more. Things have a way of working out.
- Don't try to be impressive, think more about being loving and connecting with people and ideas that you care about
- Always choose the kind, loving way (and choose those kinds of people as friends, too)
- Pssst. You know those square little apple computers that your friends have? You should invest in that company. And in like 2005 when you think they couldn't possibly think of another new invention, invest again.
- Take a stats class. Take 5 of them. And econ and computer programming and design. You'll be glad. Don't let unfamiliar subjects or intimidating professor scare you off--you'll regret that big time.
- Don't worry about blending in so much. You're a pretty good chameleon but you'll find your truest friends and feel the best when you show how you really think and feel.
What about you?
(And what would you ask your future self now? what things that I think are important will I scoff at decades later?)