“Everybody’s working for the weekend.”
A while ago I had a friend tell me that I would always have to do something in my life that I won’t enjoy so that I can enjoy other aspects of my life more. There would always be some aspect of “work” so that I could “play” later. The thing that most surprised me about this statement from my friend was that everyone else involved with this conversation agreed with him. Many people seem to have this notion that unhappiness now will lead to happiness later.
This is very apparent in our monetary system. People take on debt (negative wealth) in order hopefully insure they will be prosperous later. These people hope that someday in the future they will no longer have a burden of debt and things will be better for them. This encourages them to “work” jobs that they may or may not enjoy so they can gradually reduce the amount of negativity (debt) in their lives so they can be happier in the future.
The problem arises when it becomes apparent that the future will never get here. All you have is what you are right here, right now. The past is gone and it will never come back, and the future will always be out of reach. If you choose today to take on something that makes you more unhappy that is all you have, nothing else.
This system may have worked for many people before you, and it might work for some after, but one thing I have learned in my relatively short life is that change is the only constant now. The world as it was 22 years ago when I was born is nothing like the world today. Many of the things we have now could hardly have been imagined back then, and the only thing I have learned about planning for the future is to plan for it to change.
With that amount of uncertainty, how can anyone plan out their debt for the next 20-30 years? How can anyone rely on anything except what they have right now in this instant? Yet somehow, many people are still finding ways to push their happiness further and further in to the future and fall in to the traps our society has created.
I am sorry if this post seems vague, but it is still a vague concept to me. I am constantly told by many people to invest for my future. Sometimes this investment involves taking on debt in order to have it pay off later, but other times it involves storing my wealth so I can access a greater amount in the future. Instead of being told to focus on what I can contribute to the world right now, I am told to wait and try to find a way to contribute later.
This is a concept that continues to push me in circles in my head, but I keep coming back to one question. If I can’t live in the present moment with peace and happiness, what is the point of living at all?