|Bryan Cohen 2003 versus 2011|
500 Decisions In
By Bryan Cohen
During my sophomore year of college, I took a class on 18th century literature taught by one of my favorite instructors, Professor Thomas Stumpf. It was only a week or so into the course when he gave us an assignment to write about a day in our life around 20 years from that point for extra credit. I titled my story “A Thousand Decisions Later” and it detailed a day in my life in the year 2023.---
I recently found all of my old college files stored on a few DVDs and this was one of the first files I wanted to read. The reason I wanted to read it is to see exactly how close I have come to my predictions about halfway into my 1,000 decisions.
At the time I predicted I’d still be living in Chapel Hill, N.C., which is still a possibility for 2023, since my girlfriend’s family is from there. Sadly, since Saturn has gone out of business, my prediction of a 2015 Saturn in my garage will not come to pass :). I thought I’d be a drama professor/author/comedian. The professor part doesn’t seem to be part of my future currently, but the other two have been greatly enhanced by my success of the past year.
“Bryan slipped upon a thin paperback book on step number one but held his grasp on the finished wooden strip. He picked up the book: A play by Bryan Cohen. He used the sigh to replace sitting on the step and reading over what he’d wrought as he placed the book out of harm’s way.”
While I didn’t envision the digital publishing extravaganza of the last couple of years, I do actually have a play with my name on it that people have bought and read. I remembered this quote, because Professor Stumpf had read the passage out loud in front of the entire class. Another passage, however, I didn’t recall until looking through it again.
“Bryan was glad that years in cutthroat real world life had never sapped his almost ever-present grin. To be alive still made him happy.”
I had forgotten that above all achievements, honors, and memories I laid out for myself in the story that being happy was important to me. I had forgotten this quest for happiness for many years until recently. I’m currently working on my magnum opus of sorts, which focuses on happiness, to be completed later this year. It’s awesome to see that the seeds were planted early on.
If there’s a lesson to learn from reading this collection of future ideals, it’s that there are clues in your past for your future. Look back over your old journal entries and assignments. Remember the ways in which the person you were has contributed to the person you are today. This can act as a wonderful wakeup call to pick who you want to be in another twenty years.
In the year 2031, I’d like to be living prosperously from my writing and through other means I haven’t even come across. I want to have a loving family that I treat with great respect and care. I hope to have helped many people to have improved their lives through my books, speeches, etc. Perhaps if I push it, I can achieve all of these things by 2023, exceeding my 2003 self’s enjoyable expectations. What does the future hold for you?
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!
To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.
Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.