Planning Ahead vs. Living For Now
I'm in a state of flux. Constantly moving and ever-responsive to whatever opportunities come my way. However, I'm still a practical person and tipping the impulsive-pragmatic scales more to the right as I get older.
I'm an adventurer at heart and strive to treat the present as a gift, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't live in the future somewhat. So I've been thinking a lot about how to find that delicate balance between living in the moment and planning ahead.
Tomorrow is not promised, as much as we think we're entitled to it, or feel we're invincible to tragedy and travesty. It is precisely because of this that I don't take the small things for granted as I tended to in the past. It could also be that I simply didn't used to prioritize life in the way I do now, and that my mind was cluttered with so much other crap, that I couldn't think straight.
A few areas that come to mind when I broach the topic (within myself) of planning ahead versus living in the moment are finances, relationships with people, and health - both mental and physical. I guess the main thing to keep in mind when thinking about these topics is: just as I am in a state of flux, so is the world, and so are my definitions of what it means to be happy or satisfied. I also understand that in the mere notion of me taking the time to plan how I want to think about living in the present versus planning for the future, I am not, in fact, living in the present. Ironic how these things go, but I guess that's just the way my life is working right now. So, here goes; my thoughts on that delicate life-balance for the areas I mentioned above:
I have a feeling this might be the first thing that comes into people's minds when they thing of that sweet and sensual balance of the here and now vs the if and when. I mean, I totally understand why. Living overseas, I've struggled with where to put my money for months. My own mental struggle compounded by comparing my financial situation to those of my peers didn't help anything. After a while, I finally resolved to just sitting down with myself, straightening out my thoughts and listing out some goals. How could my money possibly do anything for me if I wasn't giving it any guidance?
So I made my vision while living in Korea to be able to say to myself at any given point: "Nkem, if you leave this country tomorrow, will you be satisfied with all that you experienced here?" and for my answer to be an unhindered "Yes." With that in mind, it made setting more tangible financial goals much easier. I could then allocate a certain amount of my paycheck to my savings/investments, expenses, and disposable income. With my savings, I've had to adjust my end goal several times within the past year, just to make room for the disposable income I wanted and needed to fund all the experiences I was enjoying in the here and now. The things I didn't really plan for, but still felt I shouldn't miss. I know things I don't plan for will pop up here and there in life (both fun things and not-so-fun things), and I also know that having a financial plan puts me at ease 10-fold if I'd have to reallocate my money somewhere down the line. At least there will be money to reallocate, eh?
Another topic that has become uber-important to me in the past several months is that of relationships. I'm not just talking about romantic relationships, but platonic ones as well. After all, for many of us, we spend more time in platonic relationships than we do in romantic, right? Well, I'm not sure if It's because I've spent so much time alone that I've become sensitive to when the vibration isn't right with someone (pretty sure that's the reason), but it's become obvious to me that kicking it with people who either don't share my wavelength, or make me feel uncomfortable or inferior for whatever reason, is something I won't tolerate. However, there are situations when I don't notice that the vibe isn't right until some time passes, and I realize that if I continue on that path with the person, my future with them isn't gonna look too bright.
So, then I have to ask myself whether I should continue a relationship for the short-term because of its (and the person's) redeeming qualities, knowing it could all be a detriment to my psyche; or if I should let the relationship go for the good of both parties in the future. Because let's face it, if one person in a twosome isn't feeling it fully, that is just not a healthy twosome, is it? Anyway, this is a topic I'm constantly thinking about and toying with as people enter and exit my life with such frequency nowadays. Maybe once/if I settle down, this won't be a concern for me. Maybe not. Who even knows, haha.
Do I have more chocolate, or do I give it a rest for a while and wait until I feel like I haven't had chocolate in a while (which is usually, like, two days). Guys, they say after 25 everything goes downhill! Who are they, you ask? The all-knowing, all-deciding THEY! And they may not be right on a lot of other things (*ahem* socialization), but science doesn't lie. I don't look much different than I did five years ago, but sometimes I definitely feel it. If that is any indication for what the gap between 25 and 35 will look like, I need to prioritize my physical health! Naturally, I can be quite self-disciplined (I love seeing the results and knowing I can control my mind and life like that), but I am also a bit of a pleasure-seeker. So when it comes to my physical health and thinking about instant satisfaction versus long-term health, it's a daily balance. Workout every morning (in most cases) and maintain a vegetarian diet (dislike this word but oh wellzies), but also indulge in things like dark chocolate and vegan homemade ice cream. Oh, and wine. Duh... I just don't want to spend majority of my life looking at the mirror and hating what I see, or unable to touch my toes or twerk when my song comes on, you feel me?
When it comes to mental health, my approach is a little different. It's funny - though I may at times consume things that are toxic to my body, I wouldn't really be able to tell unless it was a large amount and those toxins weren't counter-balanced by all the nutrition I take in. But when it comes to my mind, one toxic thought (source internal or external) has the power to change my mindset immediately! Wild thoughts, I tell ya. It's true what they say (ughhh, they...) about thoughts having the full capability to change your life. Because I know my disposition is naturally a positive one, I'll do anything I can to keep it that way (cue Nkem swatting away haters, negatrons, and jin sarams* like summer insects). In the case of my mental health, there is no concession. The future is now, because mental health is way too important to mess around with, as much as we can help it. #keepingitpositivepeople
How do you balance living in the moment and setting yourself up for the future? Is it something that matters to you? Do you think the focus criteria are contingent upon age? Just tell me your life story, while you're at it.
Hope you enjoyed!
*jin saram (진사람) is the Korean saying for loser :p