You’re walking along a beach. You find a book.

The pages are a bit damp but it’s legible. You read the title.

2043.

Only four numbers? You flip it open.

A few sentences in you start to realise this isn’t a once upon a time book.

You start to recognise some of the stories.

The person in the book was born in the same year you were. Their parents had the same name as yours.

The lead character in the book is you. Except it’s 2043 and you’re 50 years old.

Now the title makes sense.

You flip to a random page.

2031: Lots of things happened. You got married. She’s beautiful.

You keep reading.

2033: You had some kids. Two of them are great. The other is also great but needs a little more love.

The book is styled in chapters. Each one is a year. It starts from the year you were born.

1993: Born in a hospital to two loving parents.

1994: Was a baby for a year. Dad would always take me on walks.

1995: First tooth.

That kind of documenting. But in a much more stylised way. I’m summarising here. I know you’re in a hurry.

Then you skip to the 20s.

2013: Turned 20. Fluttering student.

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017…

You get to the present day. Whatever the current year is. I’m writing this in 2018 so we can call it that for now.

2018: Started doing that thing I wanted to do, every day. Didn’t break the chain.

Why was the text in bold?

You keep reading.

There was a theme through the previous chapters.

2012: I wanted to make things but I was studying something else.

2013: I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I mean, I sort’ve known but I didn’t. Mum and dad said one thing. My teachers said another. I didn’t do any of it. It was hard to think about. It made me upset. I should’ve been there already but I’m not. And I don’t even know where there is. I’ll just keep trying to have fun.

Now it’s coming together.

2018: All this time, I knew I had it in me. All I had to do was show up every day. There isn’t a secret. I’m glad I finally figured out the butt-on-chair technique. If I want to do something, it’s up to me.

You keep reading.

What was this chain?

2018: I put a calendar on my wall. I marked the days with an X if I did it. And they got nothing if I didn’t do it.

What was it?

2018: The it didn’t matter. It was whatever the voice in my head was telling me to work on. Today was writing. Tomorrow will probably be writing. I’m starting to enjoy it more and more. At the start it was hard. I missed some days. Now I’ve got momentum. All I have to do is not break the chain.

You keep reading.

2018: The anxiety comes when we don’t match up. We as in the voice in my head and the person I am on the outside. It’s tough playing an actor. I guess that’s why they get paid so much. All I have to do is keep doing the thing. Keep working on what I want to work on. I can’t wait for it to be 2043 and look back and read this. The chain will be pretty long by then.

Your arms sink down and the book goes with them. You look out. The ocean is moving. It’s always moving.

You put the book down. There’s no point reading anymore.

You got a snapshot of the future. But you don’t want to keep going. A known future is already the past.

Walking up the beach you repeat in your head.

Don’t break the chain. Don’t break the chain. Keep it going.

There’s a corner store near the carpark. You walk in. 2019 calendars are on sale.

You buy one with pictures of magpies on it. It looks quirky.

You go home and hang it on your wall and pull out a marker.

Across the top, you write out your things.

Love myself.

Love others.

Create every day.

And the chain begins.

Hit a day, hit a day, miss a day. No worry, start again.