Five Years Advice: Both Ways

Five Years Advice

Writing prompt:
“What would you say to the person you were five years ago?
What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?”

by Corbett Barr

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Five years ago:

I was 21.
I was single.
I was childless.

Five years ago I was neck deep in a high school/college relationship and making really bad financial decisions about finishing my degree (like taking out a mass loan to finish “on time”). This relationship, which I choose activitly and defended to my parents and close friends, made me turn away from my passion for filmmaking and life. Inside of being more adventerous in college – trying new things with new people – I was totally wrapped up in being the person this woman wanted.

My actions were NOT her fault.

My identity was completely dependent on having a woman in my life. I craved her attention and the attention I got for being in a “real relationship.” So I gave up on moving to LA to become a filmmaker (which I almost did when I was 18) and after that major decision I followed this pattern for the remainder of the relationship. When making decisions, I crushed my own instincts to make room for her desires.

I gave up being me to be us.

Five Years Advice – Back

If I could meet myself five years ago I would give this five years advice: “Hey you, crazy-hormonal-mess, put yourself into every creative project that comes your way – spend every moment outside your work/school creating ANYTHING. Take on that short film project, spend extra time at improv practice, blog more/write more, use that canvas you bought, play guitar in front of a group and open yourself to random creative adventures that others are having.”

The Unpland Improv: First Show
James Cernero and Matt Emmons at the first Unpland Improv show


After a moment I would follow this up with: “Your heart longs for the connection that comes in marriage and the satisfaction of being a father…. this will come sooner than it feels like right now.  Use the time you have now to discover and experiment and create lots of different things. When you get married you will still be able to create but taking time for open ended discovery will be much harder if you don’t practice NOW!!!”

Of course, I had people encouraging me in these directions but I was so set on my own way being right.

Five Years Advice – Forward

Then along comes my wife, and Jesus gets to me and I am now continuing to realize that life can only be lived fully in humility and flexibility.

And so in five years I might say something like this: “John I am so amazed at what Jesus has done these last few years to break down your resistance to inviting others to advise you. You have become so much more connected and secure in Jesus, giving you freedom to grow and learn AND create stories that bring people together. Continue opening yourself to the work of Jesus through other people, listen to anyone who cares enough to give you advice – even if you disagree with them on everything. Truth can come from anyone at anytime.”

I am now more excited about what is going to happen now and next than ever before.

*** This is where the daily prompt is located***

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