I was chatting to someone yesterday about work, and they asked me an interesting question.
“What would you do,” they said, “if you didn’t need to earn money?”
I thought about it for a few seconds, and started to answer.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I began, and then I corrected myself, because I totally do know. A few months ago I did an exercise where you write to a friend. It’s five years in the future, and you write as though you haven’t seen the friend in all that time. You write with no boundaries at all, describing your life, filling them in on everything that has happened since you last saw them. The key is that nothing is impossible. If you want to tell them you’ve been to the moon, then you can, there are no limits, it’s your dream life. Money is no object.
“I would spend quite a lot of time on a squishy sun lounger,” I told them, “or possibly a hammock, sipping cocktails and reading books. I would travel more, but in luxury.”
“Oooh yes,” they agreed, “that would be nice. I could handle that. No tent nonsense right?”
“I definitely would NOT have a back pack,” I confirmed.
“The reading would be partly for research though,” I continued, “as behind my sun lounger I would have a beautiful wooden hut, where I would write my successful series of novels. From the front of the hut you’d be able to walk down onto the beach and at the back, there would be a forest, full of tropical fruits and the cries of exotic birds. Sometimes I would travel somewhere to give a reading, and everyone would laugh and cry in equal measure, and go away feeling like their perspective on life had shifted just a little bit.”
I’m picturing it now as I think about it.
I would live in my hut happily with my new husband. (My children would be off on their own by now, living wonderful lives of course.) I don’t think we would have the internet, or even mobile phones, just a land line perhaps for emergencies. When the evenings got chilly we’d go inside and put extra wood in the stove and watch reruns of classic comedies on the old TV we kept in the corner, sat under a fluffy blanket, eating a big bowl of fruit we’d collected from the forest and drinking wine we’d made ourselves from some sort of amazing, as yet undiscovered, forest berry.
At night we’d sleep with big doors open to the sound of the sea and the trees and every morning we would wake up and stretch and smile and feel happy to be alive.
What would you write in your letter from the future?
Image credit – hammock from Dudarev Mikhail/shutterstock