‘One Day This Will Be Twenty Year Ago,’ Bill Bryson


‘One day this will be twenty years ago,’ is a quote from Bill Bryson that I found in Pam Grout’s latest book ‘Thank and Grow Rich.’  I happened to see the quote as I was flicking through it having brought it back from the library. The quote stuck in my head and I wanted to talk to you about it today.

The way I see it there are two sides to this quote that both bring us back to the present and help us to become mindful to what is going on right now in our lives.

The first perspective is that anything that is annoying right now or seems like an uphill battle will probably not matter twenty years from now as in many cases it will have been long forgotten, or in the cases of deep grief we will have had the journey of time help to take us to a new relationship with that grief.

The second perspective is that in twenty years from now I will be able to look back and more easily appreciate all that was wonderful with life just as it is now.  In twenty years time I won’t have a seven-year old, I’ll have a twenty-seven year old. In twenty year’s time I might look back and appreciate the health that I have now,  how unlined my face was, the home that I live in now and the signs that are there presently of our lives as we live them now.

I also see that remembering that one day this will be twenty years ago that I am in my moment by moment way making the past that I will remember at that time twenty years hence. I have the opportunity to work day by day towards the dreams that may come to fruition sometime between now and that point in the future.

In Tara Mohr’s book ‘Playing Big,’ there is a beautiful meditation that comes from the Coaches’ Training Institute where you imagine going forward in time and meeting this ideal self twenty years in the future.


  1. What would you want your ideal self twenty years from now to say about how you had lived?
  2. How would you like your ideal self twenty years from now to look?
  3. What is her health like?
  4. What had she treasured in her life over the past twenty years?
  5. Where has she travelled to?
  6. What is important to her?
  7. What is she most proud of?
  8. Where does she live?
  9. What has her work been over the last twenty years?
  10. Which relationships have mattered deeply to her?
  11. Which causes has she supported?
  12. What dreams has she fulfilled?
  13. What dreams does she still hold?
  14. How does she express herself creatively?
  15. How does she use her voice in the world?
  16. What difference has she made in the world?
  17. How has she learnt to trust herself?
  18. How has she learnt to love herself?
  19. How does she nurture herself?
  20. What does she need you to know now?

Don’t worry if answering these questions feels like ‘making it up’. Through considering them you are tapping into the wisest part of yourself that already knows your own best answers.