What Wisdom Would Your Future Self Tell You?

Lessons from my older selves

Marisa Hoenig
4 min readOct 28, 2021


“Where you are now is exactly where you’re supposed to be,” said my older self, approximately 90-years-old. She sat next to me and fiddled with her cane. Her long, gray hair was braided back into one thick tie. Her eyes shown with joy and remembrance, grasping at my hands held in hers.

When I asked what her life was like, she laughed, or more like cackled, and gave me her toothy grin. “Oh, dear. My life is but your dreams. The things you’re hoping you’ll do are the things I’ve done. Why would I spoil all the best parts?”

She gazed at me like I was her own daughter. But, in fact, I am someone even closer to her — I am her. She is me.

Her point brings me unending happiness. Her confidence in me makes me want to shine. I see her in front of me, and I see a life well-lived and well-loved. I see everything I could have hoped for and more (the more must be the best parts she mentioned).

“I’ve traveled far and wide. I’ve made all those passions of yours a reality, or at least, I’ve tried them out. Once you do them, you realize maybe you weren’t so passionate about them after all,” she holds my gaze, taking in my features and expressions. I feel like she can read my mind.

“And, yes, you ARE going to change the world, just maybe not in a way you expect. Maybe not even in a huge way like you’ve dreamed up. But, never forget that by changing just one person, you are changing the world. We are all intertwined, and the impact you have on one person can reverberate for generations.”

She smiles, and I smile back. It feels like looking into a mirror, except my features have become wrinkled and exuberant. She is radiant. Life has given her meaning.

She kisses my hands, and without a word, places her cane on the ground, lifts herself from the bench, and walks away. As I watch, she turns around, winks, and continues on her way.

I sit there, changed for the better, trying to understand this and that. But, when I look up again, another woman is heading my way. She looks the same as the last one but older. Her hair has turned grayer (which I didn’t think was possible), her cane has been replaced by a motorized…



Marisa Hoenig

Technologist, podcaster, & pun lover. On a mission to make the world a better place, one smile at a time. marisahoenig.com