Past you, present you, future you; your relationship to chronology, and doing future you a favour

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On another board I use, a friend said the following:

"Past me made present day me lunch. This made my day!"

I asked wtf this meant, and a mutual friend replied:

"She had a packed lunch which she prepared herself, prior to lunch time. I think."

Friend A confirmed this:

"I might be mental but...sometimes, when i'm trying to get myself to do stuff i don't want to, i think about how annoyed i'll be later if it's not done. You know, like when you get up to bed and realise you have to put the duvet cover on before you get in it? Being nice to future me means putting the duvet cover on now, so later on, she can just go to bed.

So, in this context I spent time this morning making myself lunch so that future me could eat something nice."

I said:

"That makes perfect sense. I find it amusing that you have to consciously dissociate yourself from your future self in order to find motivation for some things, though. Perhaps I should suggest this technique to Emma..."

Friend A said:

"Yeah, I tried this on a friend once though when we were still up at 4am pouring new glasses of wine. ‘Think of our poor future selves and their hangovers’ I said. He just said ‘Fuck them, I hate them, lets make them pay’ and so we continued to get wrecked. Fail."

Do you do anything like this? If so, is it a conscious or subconscious action? What's your relationship to chronology in general - do you spend much time thinking about / mentally 'in' the past, the present, or the future? I think I do this, but unconsciously.

Please discuss.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 27 February 2009 10:56 (twelve years ago) link

I'm more interested in your view of us lot.

On another board I use

YOU USE US? I feel dirty now. Off to wash myself.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Friday, 27 February 2009 10:58 (twelve years ago) link

there's no benefit to present me in doing anything for future me.

not like the dude is ever going to be able to pay me back, is it?

Anthony, I am not an Alcoholic & Drunk (darraghmac), Friday, 27 February 2009 10:59 (twelve years ago) link

(as in no, i don't do this, and yes, i would no doubt be nicer to myself if i could.)

Anthony, I am not an Alcoholic & Drunk (darraghmac), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:01 (twelve years ago) link

I think "do it for future-you" is going to become a meme in our house.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:02 (twelve years ago) link

I would never vocalize it this way, but we all tend to do this, no? Brush our teeth for example. Or do you only mean a conscious thing?

Nathalie (stevienixed), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:04 (twelve years ago) link

Whenever my present me has done stuff for my future me, my future me hasn't thanked me for it, I can tell you.

Abbe Black Tentacle (GamalielRatsey), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:08 (twelve years ago) link

I agree that we all do it, yes, and that is, I guess, pretty boring in itself.

I suppose I'm much more interested in the conscious dissociation of the chronological selves, in the idea of not only vocalising it in this way, but also just thinking about it in this way as a method of overcoming apathy; what does it say about a person to do this?

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:10 (twelve years ago) link

This sounds like a great technique, i'm definitely gonna give it a go. I don't think it's necessarily weird, at least no weirder than the problem in the first place, which is an inability to realise the benefits of doing it NOW, basically a failure of long-term thinking. So why not use a kidn of artificial technique to try and fix the problem? With luck, if it is successful then you'll start to naturally do things without being so coalculated about it.

ledge, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:24 (twelve years ago) link

... as I've recently learnt, action comes first and motivation follows - you have to start doing things to get into the habit of doing them. This is something of a bootstrap problem, so if you can find a technique, no matter how weird, to kickstart the process, then great!

ledge, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:26 (twelve years ago) link

The more I read Nick's first post, the more it sounds like a potential sequel to Primer.

nate woolls, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:32 (twelve years ago) link

I've never really thought about this way, but the duvet covers thing is right. When I'm putting them on - especially in winter when I have a two piece king sized duvet that needs to be covered - I am definitely thinking about later when I'll be tired and I would really really hate to do it. Also cleaning the kitchen before I go to bed because I hate to sort through debris while trying to prepare breakfast. I need clean/clear surfaces at that time of day.

Ned Trifle II, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:50 (twelve years ago) link

I sort of do this w/r/t regular exercise. It's hard work getting in shape now, but I imagine how much harder it will be for my future self if I put it off for ten years.

snoball, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:51 (twelve years ago) link

I need to teach present-Emma to think of future-Nick re; clear spaces for breakfast.

Sickamous Mouthall (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 27 February 2009 11:51 (twelve years ago) link

If only I could do this at work because right now Present Self hates Past Self for not doing the work I should have done properly because - Hey there's plenty of time to do that later, and, guess what - there wasn't.

Ned Trifle II, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:52 (twelve years ago) link

(xxxpost) Also regarding household chores, it's the same task, but if I leave it until later it'll be more effort.

snoball, Friday, 27 February 2009 11:52 (twelve years ago) link

seven years pass...

fuck u past dmac did u really think i wouldnt find this thread u cunt

trilby mouth (darraghmac), Monday, 23 January 2017 23:02 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

yeah but that's not in itself a great refutation neither

cpt otm (darraghmac), Sunday, 7 February 2021 03:14 (nine months ago) link

Did realise on not being able to get to sleep if I missed the moment recently that I did need to make the bed beforehand. Put duvet cover on so I didn't need to at the time.

Need to listen to myself about clearing the work table before heading out. Because it just becomes another chore when I get back so delays creativity or postpones it.
So shirts and jackets don't get made. Trousers neither.

Stevolende, Sunday, 7 February 2021 07:25 (nine months ago) link

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