Feeling for Now, Thinking for Later
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
We live in a very high stakes world where wasting anything is rarely practical. Capital, time, love, or anything else that we value requires us to plan ahead so that we can use it efficiently as our life unfolds.
Our current economy makes us work for and save our capital to survive. And this currency pays for everything, so we treat it with care. So yeah, you might wanna go downtown and buy shots for the whole bar, but you typically don’t. It’s not logical for your future happiness to spend like this because unless you are Bill Gates, you will not enjoy how your bank account looks the next day.
Other examples include time and love. Same as capital, these are things we must value and treat with care as well. In some cases, one can be in a great relationship with a significant other, yet have to end it. It has to end because although it may be good at the moment, it won’t be in the future.
Trying to benefit our future selves is simply something we must consider to live a long, happy life. The problem is we do not live in the future, we live in the present. I don’t know about you, but the “now me” hardly even aligns with the future me. Yes, I probably should not spend the rest of the night watching Netflix, but if the mood strikes, now me might do it anyways.
We are creatures of the moment. In short, it is because for thousands of years, the present is really all that mattered. It was not until recently that our biggest fears went from a bear eating us to not having an updated resume. Being in the moment and feeling in the moment makes sense, but it can also make life incredibly difficult. It is a lot harder being a motivated blog writer when my stomach keeps reminding me that I haven’t eaten all day.
My confusion on this topic branches from the idea of where this “logical” side is even derived from. I use quotes because if we do live in the moment, then why are our future actions the ones we care about? And what is to say that these “logical” actions are even going to help our future selves?
I believe the answer is that life is a gamble. We take actions for our future self because, theoretically, our impending self will eventually become our present self. We do not know for sure, but that is where the statistics and logic come in. I can die at any moment in my life, but statistically speaking it won’t. So, if I won’t die soon, then I should probably plan for my future self. The best way to do so is by evaluating the important parts of my life now and taking the necessary steps to increase my chances of achieving them in the future.
There is no guarantee any of these plans will work, but what is guaranteed in life? This lack of guarantee is why I believe both our present self and future self matter. A balance, in my opinion, will ensure the happiest, most fulfilling life.
I encourage you to balance your life. You should strive to make your present self happy, but also understand that sometimes your present self needs to suck it up so that your future self can hopefully be happy as well. You probably shouldn’t shop online until your credit card breaks, but maybe if that is really what you want to do then put a limit on your card, and find the best bang for your buck after a long day of work.
I believe we should shoot to optimize how happy we are. Sometimes that may involve going out with friends or it may involve working a late-night shift. We live in the present, and I’m okay with that. We need to learn how to balance our now selves so that our future selves will be happy as well.
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