Being Kind To Future You
*Eighth Grade Spoilers ahead if you like really good movies*
We think of our future selves as better versions of ourselves. And we think of different better versions of us. And then we get there and its not what we expect and then we have to live with those fallen expectations. And fallen expectations make us feel like shit, and it’s a never ending circle because we do that again and again to feel hope. We’re hard on ourselves to be this person. We’re not being kind to our future self.
We fantasize about a future-us to feel hopeful. I’ll be skinnier, and I’ll feel better about my body. I’ll be less self conscious and be more confident. I’ll get more job opportunities and I’ll feel more important. I’ll be able to date, and I won’t feel lonely. I’ll have more money and feel more secure. I’ll be an entrepreneur and self-sufficient. I’ll travel the world and lose all my worries while discovering culture. I won’t have a reason to be sad.
Truth is, holding onto these fantasies is sure to end up in pain later. Life won’t be perfect. Life is unpredictable. There’s no “picture yourself and do the math backwards and you’ll get there.”
Not that you don’t do the things. We just need to switch from being fantasy-driven to goal-driven. Want to do something in the future, set goals that would help you get there. The cards will fall where they may, but things will be okay.
One of the things I really liked about Eighth Grade was the message that you need to be nice to the future self and be okay with whoever they become. Kayla spends the movie dreading watching a video she made to herself in the sixth grade. In the video, she imagines herself to be popular and dating, and confident. Now in the eighth grade, she’s not happy with the person she wanted/expected to be and she holds that fantasy of her to be paramount. It affects her so much, that she sees herself in a negative light, even though she herself is great. She can’t see that, because it hasn’t matched the expectations she set for herself.
At the end of the movie, she makes another video for herself for when she graduates high school. In that video, she consistently tells her future self that if she’s not dating, or has a lot friends, that it’s okay. And no matter what, she can’t wait until she becomes her future self. “I can’t wait to be you.” She takes the pressure off herself to be this person. Because at the end of the day, you’re great no matter who you are, and you need to enjoy you.