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Last night I received an email from myself.

Two years ago, I apparently wrote a list entitled “What’s Next? Brand New Challenging Life Goals.” Then I attached this to an email that was set to land in my inbox last night with the instructions from my past self to review and update.

I have no recollection of doing this, but it would seem that Long Ago Matt was a pretty smart guy because this was an interesting exercise.

It’s also not the first time that I’ve received an email from my past self. It happens more often than you’d think. I’m constantly thinking about future Matt and sending him stuff.

This particular list appears to be comprised of “big dream” items that are too difficult or too obscure to include on my yearly goals but still doable enough to keep on my horizon. Some of these “big dream” ideas were actually accomplished. Some had been forgotten, but I still love the idea today. A few fall into the category of “What the hell was I thinking?”

Here is that original list with the annotated updates that my past self demanded.

  • Perform my one-person show in a theater (DONE! Several times over!)

  • Spend a summer at Yawgoog Scout reservation (Still a goal)

  • Write and direct a short film (Still a goal)

  • Launch a podcast featuring the kids and me (DONE! Just 4 episodes but a real-life podcast!)

  • Learn to make an outstanding tuna avocado melt for Elysha (Failed many times)

  • Try curling (A forgotten goal but one I would love to try)

  • Teach a college class for new teachers about the things that are really important (Still a goal)

  • Officiate a funeral (What the hell was I thinking? Yet I’m still willing…)

  • Become a notary (DONE!)

  • Become an instructional coach (If I ever leave the classroom, my dream is to teach teachers in the first three years of their career)

  • Design and teach a competitive yoga class (What the hell was I thinking?)

  • Launch a storytelling podcast. Try to get Elysha to partner with you. (DONE!)

  • Land a weekly column in a major newspaper (This has been a goal for a long, long time)

  • Become an unlicensed therapist (A ridiculous idea but I think I would be exceptional at this)

  • Try stand up comedy (DONE! Many times over!)

  • Trademark “Homework for Life” (DONE!)

Not bad. Quite a few “brand new challenging life goals” weren’t as challenging as I originally thought. I was thrilled to see that quite few had been accomplished. It’s an exercise that I like a lot. It adheres to my belief that in addition to setting realistic, measurable goals for ourselves, we should also have new things on our horizons. Big idea goals. Things that might someday become a reality.

The horizon is the place where dreams are formed. It’s where we need to point ourselves. Too many people, I fear, never look to a horizon of new possibilities and instead remain fixated on their small, contained life.

In the spirit of looking to the horizon, here is the updated list that I just emailed to myself and scheduled to land in my inbox in two more years:

  • Spend a summer (or perhaps a week) at Yawgoog Scout reservation

  • Write and direct a short film

  • Learn to make an outstanding tuna avocado melt for Elysha

  • Try curling

  • Teach a college class for new teachers about the things that are really important

  • Become an instructional coach

  • Land a weekly column in a major newspaper

  • Become an unlicensed therapist

  • Build to a solid, 20 minute stand up comedy set

  • Publish a picture book

  • Break 45 (or 90) on the golf course

  • Visit with my father