Future Ben: How To Make Friends with a Better Version of Yourself
"January," as recently expressed by a girl walking past me on Haight Street, "is a time for self-reflection....especially when it's a New Moon and you're a Capricorn." I am pretty sure the second half of that sentence doesn't mean anything, but I agree with the January part. So in the spirit of self-reflection I want to introduce you to someone who tries to stay out of the spotlight but has really made a huge difference in my life these last few years.
Please say hello to my good friend, Future-Ben.
The first time I can recall meeting Future-Ben was Halloween, 2010. I had recently come out of a 13 year marriage and was living alone for the first time in...well ever. This time in my life was like one long New Years Day, a time when it was necessary to focus on who I want to be and what I want to do with my life. For the first time, I was realizing that these choices are mine alone to make. Any feelings of sadness or loneliness were mostly wiped away by a sense of giddy hopefulness that can only come from hitting rock-bottom and witnessing yourself bounce skyward.
My new Bay Area friends had invited me out for Halloween. The plan was to take their 11 year-old trick-or-treating in the Oakland Hills, then we adults would hit up a spooky art show opening in San Francisco's Mission district. I didn't have a "costume." I just wanted to look good. I had one suit that a friend had given to me when I was Best Man in his wedding. That worked. I had a short beard for the first time ever (facial hair was previously forbidden) so I shaved it into an old-timey chops and mustache configuration and slicked back my hair. Who was this character? I didn't know. He was just some dapper guy who's ballsy and weird enough to rock some ridiculous facial hair. I was dressed like a guy who's far more confident and attractive than I was.
As the night went on I felt a strange comfort and confidence in this character. I realized, "I want to be this guy all the time. Why can't I? I'm a single dude in the San Francisco Bay area. I can be whoever I want!" This wasn't any sort of fanciful character. I had merely dressed as the fearless, charming man I wanted to present to The World every day, Future-Ben.