Imagine you shared your home with two roommates. Your schedules are different, so you don’t see each other much. But as it turns out, one of these roommates is fantastic, and the other is a nightmare.
The good roommate is thoughtful and conscientious. He does his part to help with all the small tasks that make a house work smoothly. He puts out the trash the night before. He washes the dishes even when no one asks. He makes small repairs around the house.
The bad roommate is another story. Constantly slacking, always dragging his feet for even the most basic chores. He doesn't clean up his messes, knowing that if he just waits long enough, you’ll be forced to come clean it up for him. Living with this roommate is a constantly annoying and stressful experience.
This situation isn’t hypothetical. You’re living it right now.
The roommate you share your home with is the you of the past. At different times in your life you’ve probably had both kinds of past-you-roommates. When you’re in a good groove, you’ll walk around your home and see that your roommate (you from 12-24 hours ago) has already made the bed, cleaned the kitchen, and fixed that loose handle on the cabinet. Isn’t it great to live with this person?
When things aren’t going so well, you’ll find the bad roommate has moved in. Messes pile up. Chores are put off to the last minute, and you spend your day dealing with all the consequences that past-you didn’t want to deal with. You don’t get to do any of the things you wanted to do. The past-you-roommate has already had all the fun and left you holding the bag.
When you think of things this way, you realize that getting things done around the home isn’t an imposition, it’s a gift to your future self. It feels great to send all those complete tasks into the future where you’ll enjoy living in a clean, neat home, organized just the way you like it.
Now, let’s take this paradigm one level deeper, and consider that your true home, where you spend every moment of your life, is your body. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you’re seeing, it’s because the bad roommate has been at work, making poor short term choices and leaving future-you to deal with the consequences. This interaction puts you in a really bad headspace. You’re sharing your home with someone who doesn’t seem to be interested in keeping up their end of the deal. You learn to not trust this roommate, and stop trying to clean up the messes they make. This of course, makes the present-you the new bad roommate for future-you, and the negative cycle continues.
As strange as it sounds, you’re in a long-term relationship with the you from the past. And like any relationship, it will break down if there’s no respect, understanding, or love passing between the two of you. If you’ve ever lived in a home filled with constant argument, discord and blame, you’ll know how miserable it is. When you’re out of sync with your past-self’s choices, your body becomes that broken home.
The good news is that today, right now, you can start being the good roommate. As you make your food, exercise, and sleep choices, think of them as little gifts for your future self. And when you receive those gifts in the next few days (looking and feeling better) be sure to thank your past self, and commit to being a good roommate in turn. In this way you build back trust, respect and love for yourself.
It all starts with your next choice!
Patrick Reynolds // Kenzai Founder