This year before heading to WDS 2014 I was bound and determined to see more of Portland and at least a couple of the beautiful spots nearby. So I arrived a couple days early to explore on my own.
After my painfully early flight touched down, I picked up my rental car and headed directly to a 9:30 a.m. yoga class at The People’s Yoga in Northeast Portland. My plans for the day involved coffee, pastries, a stop at Multnomah Falls, and views of Mt. Hood while exploring the surrounding area’s orchards and family farms. But first, yoga.
Filling out the standard, new-student liability waiver, I had one of those out-of-body, meta moments…
As I printed my address and “San Francisco” on the line next to ‘City’ on the waiver, all the changes I’ve made over the last few years washed over me, starting with where I’m calling home and culminating with my transition from hard-driving, logic focused lawyer to the (somewhat) more self-possessed, yoga-loving woman I am today.
There I was standing in Portland, Oregon craving a yoga class enough to seek out an unknown studio and an unknown teacher in the middle of my vacation.
This particular yoga class didn’t disappoint either. The notes I made after class include mentions of the “relaxing space, with exposed brick and great light,” the “abundance of hairy armpits,” “unruly (and unwashed?) curls with flattering flecks of gray,” “lots of tattoos — with words like ‘EMOTE’ and beautiful blue-green art-deco style flowers,” with “lots of low moans throughout class.” It was just what I needed — equal parts nourishing and challenging. And it resembled my regular yoga class in San Francisco’s Financial District only because it was also a yoga class. That is to say, not at all.
Occasionally and often through experiences that push our limits, we get a glimpse like this at the person we’ve become — the future self we couldn’t image years ago.
ABOUT OUR FUTURE SELVES
This TED Talk (below) by Dan Gilbert caught my eye recently because I’ve been thinking a lot about what the next 5-10 years of my life might involve. It helped me recognize the moment as important, and I readily acknowledged that 5-10 years ago, I would never have imagined that I would end up where I am now.
“Most of us can remember who we were 10 years ago, but we find it hard to imagine who we’re going to be.”
“Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade.”
“It’s as if, for most of us, the present is a magic time. It’s a watershed on the timeline. It’s the moment at which we finally become ourselves. Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been.
~ Dan Gilbert”
YOU’RE ALWAYS CHANGING
OK. Now it’s your turn, take a moment to seek out your future self… I think this tweet by Doree Shafrir, Executive Editor at Buzzfeed, is a perfect way to experience the difference that time makes in our lives and how hard it would have been to imagine your present as the person you were in the past. Even the very recent past.
Pick a random date in the vicinity of ~4 years ago and read your emails from that day. It’s a real EYE OPENER
— Doree Shafrir (@doreeshafrir) July 18, 2014
I’ve done this recently, unintentionally, and I should warn you that you may not like what you find. Much like reading a journal you wrote years ago, it can be cringe inducing.
In drafting an email to a good friend, I remembered that I’d received one not that long ago which perfectly mirrored the situation I found myself in — that gray limbo between friendship and relationship. Even before pulling it up, I remembered how thoughtfully it had been composed and how it hit the tone just right. It was open, interested, complimentary, and communicative. All things I now wanted to convey. What I wasn’t prepared for in reading our exchange was how I would feel about my response. I was deeply disappointed and surprised at myself when I started to read my reply. Thankfully, it got better as our exchange went on, but it was eye-opening to say the least. (We’re still friends. FYI.)
For me, it was the kind of eye-opening where you know you could have done better and sincerely hope that you would today.
If you do this, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Feel free to speak generally or change the names to protect the innocent! :)
P.S. – I’m pulling together all my Portland favorites with lots of photos. So prepare yourself for an impressive whiskey library, Nutella puff pastries, and much more!