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Prompt the 21st:

Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

Knowing myself — and if you’ve been read more than one of my #reverb10 posts, you’ll be able to predict this — the advice that I need to hear from my five-years-from-now self is pretty much the same advice I would give my ten-years-ago self:

Draw a breath. You’re going to get it all done. It’s all going to be okay.

Ten years ago, I was deep into pre-tenure anxiety, enjoying my job enormously but always convinced that I wasn’t doing it well enough, wasn’t measuring up, wasn’t getting it done. The years that followed weren’t without their bumps, needless to say, but it all turned out way better than I could possibly have expected.

Five years from now — well, I have no idea where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing. Maybe I’ll still be in the same (awesome) job, but even so, both my teaching and my research have changed so much in the last five years that I can’t begin to predict what I’ll be working on in another five. There’s also the possibility that some entirely new opportunity will have come my way — perhaps another awesome position like the one I have, but perhaps something I can’t imagine from today’s vantage point. So I suppose there’s a second piece of advice in that:

Listen carefully for the sound of unexpected possibilities. You never know where they might lead.

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