Oftentimes, we are told conflicting things about life, such as save for the future, and prepare for what’s ahead and then someone else is saying live for now, enjoy the moments that we have. There is no rule that says that we have to hate what we are doing now just so that we can prepare for the future. We should be doing something that we love, such as our career, which brings us towards a hopeful, prepared future. People spend too much time thinking about their future and working hard towards obtaining that goal with the mindset that “as soon as….” As soon as I retire, then I can enjoy life. We should be spending time thinking about what we enjoy now just as much as what will make us comfortable later in life.
I’ve been thinking lately about a candy I used to get as a kid. It was called “Now & Laters,” and the little jingle was, “Have some now, save some for later.” It was actually a pretty dumb jingle, as I recall. But the idea has been rolling around in my head because I’ve been thinking about the conflicting messages we sometimes get.
We’re told to save for the future, prepare for what’s ahead. That’s good advice.
We’re also told to live the now, enjoy the moment and appreciate what we have. That’s good advice.
Some people have difficulty doing both; it feels like living in the now necessarily precludes preparing for the future.
My philosophy of Slow Down FAST helps heal this rift between living the now and saving for the future, by following the rule of the Now & Laters candy. Have some now, save some for later.
I think the idea of working your entire life, as hard as you can, usually at a job you hate, so you can retire and enjoy life, is ludicrous. Where did we ever get the idea that we are supposed to, that we HAVE to, work for 50 years and then enjoy ourselves?
My thinking is, why do we have to choose between enjoying now and enjoying then? What is this ridiculous idea we have that we cannot enjoy our lives and our work? I think we not only can, but should, be enjoying our work.
There’s a relatively new book called The Four Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss. Tim talks about getting free from Work for Work’s sake – WfW, but he also talks about all the things you can and might want to do if you didn’t have to work. Some of those things sound an awful lot like work – except they’re vocations, not careers. They’re things we want to do, not things we have to do.
My own take on this is that we probably work way too hard for things we don’t need – the fancy car, the large home, the vacations we have to take because our jobs are so horrible – and we focus too much on “retiring” and “then I’ll…”
Sure, you need to prepare for the future. I totally agree with that. But I think we spend too much time, quite often, preparing for the long-term future, and not enough preparing for the future that’s five minutes from now. I think we don’t spend enough time in the now, really.
A lot of people say you should live as if this were the last day of your life. Honestly, that’s not something most people can sustain. I try to live my life the way I wish I had lived yesterday and the way I want to live tomorrow. In between, I try to make both yesterday and tomorrow proud.
Thanks to Widow’s Quest for including this post in the Carnival of Positive Thinking, and to The Skilled Investor’s Personal Finance Blog for featuring this post in the Carnival of Financial Planning.