When I think back on the things I did and the way I acted as a teenager I'm shocked and amused... but certainly my future-self won't feel that way when he looks back to now... right?
They called this phenomenon the "end of history illusion," in which people tend to "underestimate how much they will change in the future." According to their research, which involved more than 19,000 people ages 18 to 68, the illusion persists from teenage years into retirement.
"Middle-aged people -- like me -- often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin," said one of the authors, Daniel T. Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard. "What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we're having the last laugh, and at every age we're wrong."
When I look back I tend to see that I've improved in almost every way over the years. I hope I'll still feel that way when I'm older! (I guess I also hope that the feeling is accurate.)