Advice, Motivation

Finding the balance

“You could die tomorrow, so live for today.”

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

How can two statements, which are both used often, be so counteractive?

On one hand, life is unpredictable. You could be gone tomorrow, so why waste any time doing things that you really don’t want to do? But on the other hand, you could live until you’re 80, so you should spend your time bettering your future, right?

Living for today

This is the easier of the two options. After all, don’t we all just want to live day by day? It’s less stressful and it’s more freeing. We can do whatever we want whenever we want and love every minute of doing so.

People who live for today truly soak in every moment. They may be traveling the world or spending all their time doing what they love, and they will be loving every second of it.

If those types of people died tomorrow, there is no way they would regret a moment of their lives. They would be happy with how they spent their time on earth, and they would be leaving the world doing what they love. So, why wouldn’t someone simply live for today?

The answer is simple—because of their future.

Preparing for tomorrow (or 10 years from now)

We all know those people who spend every waking moment planning for what lies ahead (Heck, I’m one of them). They have their entire life planned out by the time they’re 20, and they know what steps they have to take to get there.

They set their mind to where they want to be in 10 years, and spend every day getting closer to that goal. They may go to college, get their masters, find a full-time job right away and move up the rankings in their career until they reach the top.

Then, once they reach the top, they focus even further into the future—savings, retirement and the works.

This sounds great and all, and trust me, I am a firm believer in planning and working towards a goal, but I can almost guarantee that if someone unexpectedly died in the midst of all this planning, they would absolutely regret the choices they made in their time on earth.

So, the question remains—are you supposed to live for today or prepare for the future?

Living for today, while looking towards the future

There are pros and cons to both living for today and preparing for tomorrow, but the truth is you can’t just choose one. Well, technically I guess you could, but my suggestion is not to.

The only solution is to find a perfect balance between the two. Yes, you should be spending your life doing what you love, but you should also be spending your life preparing for what’s to come, which means doing things that you may not necessarily enjoy. So, you must live for today, while looking towards tomorrow.

A life full of regret is not a life worth living, but it’s something that can easily be changed. You might be sitting here thinking, “Sh*t, I really need to get my life together and actually prepare for my future,” or “Sh*t, looking back, I have spent all my time preparing for my future, and I haven’t had any fun.” Regardless of which side you sit on, there is time to make a change.

If you’re one of those people who constantly live for today, it might be a good idea to sit down and give yourself some goals. Where do you want to be 6 months from now? 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? You don’t have to figure it all out now, but you should come up with some sort of plan to drive your life.

If you’re one of those people who spend all their time preparing for tomorrow, it’s time to plan a spontaneous trip. No excuses. No vacation time from work? Go on a weekend. No money to travel? Refer to this post. No one to go with? Sometimes we all need a break from everyone.

You do not want to be that 60-year-old looking back at your life and wishing you had experienced more, and you do not want to be that 60-year-old standing there thinking “Now what?” after you’ve experienced it all.

It’s time to find the balance in your life. We all need a healthy dose of fun and adventure just as much as we need a healthy dose of preparation and planning. It’s all about the yin and the yang.

As I finished this post, I realized I wrote a similar one back in August (oops!). Sometimes I just get to thinking about things, and can’t control my writing brain. If you’ve read them both, you can see how my views have changed. Just a small reminder that life is all about growing and changing (Keep Going, Keep Growing 🙂 ), even in a span of six months. 

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