The Stockholm Shimmer

I won the Shimmer Lottery back in 29. I was over the fucking moon. Just 19 and here I was getting a chance to meet my future self? I was going to be rich, I was sure. Future me would give the right stock tips, the right career advice, the kinda things that’d make me one of those twenty-year-old millionaires. That was my first thought – most people’s first thought. My second was that he’d tell me who I’d marry, who’d I’d fall in love with. That’s all a person needs, right? Their health, a million dollars, and someone to love and be loved by unconditionally.

This is the promise of shimmers, those windows 20 years through time. Everyone who wins one of the lotteries gets two slots to visit the shimmer – one now, and one twenty years from now. It’s a simple system. Just show up twice and spend an hour with 20-year-in-the-future-you.

And so I went, 19 years old, grinning ear to fucking ear. This shimmer was discovered in a forest just south of Stockholm, which, being late November, meant I was freezing my ass off. The parks officers guided me in, and I stood in front of that shimmer, looking through its impassable window to the other side, waiting for myself to show. But I never did. I spent an hour, shivering in freezing rain, stood up by my future self.
They say there’s any number of reasons your future self doesn’t show, but the only thing people really buy is that you’re dead. Some time between now and twenty years from now, you die. That’s what I believed.

I felt depressed for a while, putting my 500th hour into Skyrim, thinking it didn’t matter what I did now, because I’d be dead soon anyway. But soon it began to really sink in that my days were numbered. Before I thought I had all this time to figure things out, to find myself, to discover the world. But I didn’t. The more this sunk in, the more I found it hard to sleep, hard to think of anything other than my own death. I was up until 2am day after day, working through what I really /needed/ to do before I left for good. Two months later, I had a list, a list I was proud of, a list I was excited by.

Diligently, I’ve checked off just about everything on that list I made 20 years ago. And now tomorrow is the day I’m supposed to go and see myself through that shimmer, to impart all the wisdom I’ve earned. But I know that wisdom was only earned through experience, through the belief that my days were fucking numbered. So no, I’m not going to see my 19 year old self tomorrow. I’m going to leave him there standing alone in the cold because that’s what he needs.