Whatever I do, I always have two guys around me. One lives in the past, the other in the future.
I don't have a good relationship with any of them.
The Past Guy is very uneven and erratic. Sometimes I think that he's great, sometimes that he's lazy, other times that he's a dick.
The Future Guy? He's an absolute stranger to me. So whatever I need to do, when I don't feel like doing it, I just push it onto him. Because I don't know him, it's a no-brainer to do. I can postpone whatever I want, and I can promise anything, agree to any deadline, I can deprive him of sleep, I can even ride him to death. What do I care—I don't even know him. And he takes it all! He's either the biggest sucker or the inhuman productivity machine.
So here's who I'm stuck with: an erratic guy on one side and a stranger who's either a sucker or a machine on the other. With me at all times. I could use better company than this.
Then a little time passes, and the strangest thing happens. The Future Guy, that sucker, bolts and leaves me with all the stuff he was supposed to do. And The Past Guy? He pushed me under the bus, too and piled all those tasks onto me. I hate both of them.
This cycle has been on repeat more or less indefinitely, for as long as I can remember.
Then something happened, and I don't even remember what it was, but it was a revelation. Those two guys? They've always been with me, but they don't have to! It's not like we're family. I was just so used to having them around that it didn't occur to me that it could be any other way. But I can change who I spend my time with. I can choose someone I like, someone I can be friends with.
And that's how I met my new best friend.
He's The New Future Guy. Contrary to the previous one, I've met him and got to know him. He's a great guy. Warm, friendly, also very busy but doing his best. Someone I could actually spend a lot of time with and like it.
When I'm friends with somebody, I tend to put their priorities above mine. Having two tasks in front of me, I'll do the one that helps my friend first, then mine, even if mine is more urgent and important. I'm ok with it. That's how you become (and stay) friends with somebody.
So I started doing all the nice things for The New Future Guy. I wanted to make his life easier. If something could be done later, could I do it now? Ok, let's do it. Anything in the future that can be removed from the future and taken care of now? Do that, too. Something that I don't even need to do but by doing it I would make The New Future Guy's life easier? I'll do it with pleasure.
It's not easy being friends. It takes a lot of time and effort, and we all have busy lives. Often I'm so busy making The New Future Guy's life easier that there's not enough time to take care of mine. That's ok. I'm fine with this trade-off.
A little more time passes, and the strangest thing happens again. We're great friends with The New Future Guy. He appreciates my effort, and I like his calmness and wisdom. We get along great. As we got closer, The Past Guy, the erratic one, got bored, didn't fit in, and left. His place wasn't empty for long. In his place, The New Past Guy stepped in. What a great guy! I don't really know what games he plays or if he even plays any, but he's unnaturally nice and just altruistically does all kinds of favors. I'm not used to it. I'm a big guy that more often scares people than makes them want to do things for me, but he doesn't seem to mind. Whatever it is, I care only about the outcome. I'm grateful, and he's fantastic.
Having lived decades with the old guys, they seemed inseparable from me. They weren't. The new guys came and stayed. I like their company. We're going to stick together, and we'll work on making it a long-term friendship. Friendships need maintenance. This reminds me, it's 4 AM now, and I need to go to sleep. I don't want The New Future Guy to be tired and sleepy. He says he's fine with little sleep, but I know he's better with an extra hour or two in bed.