Author Topic: living in the NOW while planning for the future...  (Read 5804 times)

catccc

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living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« on: September 06, 2013, 12:16:24 PM »
I don't mean living it up now v. saving for the future.  I see the now and future (post retirement) lifestyles as relatively consistent.  But mindset wise I feel like I am always waiting for the next thing, and not enjoying where I am now.  Always focused on the destination and not the ride.  Any tips on how to avoid this kind of thinking?  I think it makes me unhappy.

Things I am waiting for:  possible new job, buying a house, both kids in school (and possibility of spouse contributing to income), reaching FI, the next vacation, etc...

But really life is pretty good the way it is right now.  It's hard to remember that when the future looks so much better...

Russ

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »
Today was yesterday's future.

Sebastian

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 12:27:46 PM »
Anytime I get in that same kind of situation I have turned to one book that has helped me a lot. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle(sp).

I can't say enough good things about this book, but I know some people aren't a fan. He writes in a strange way that is off putting to some, but if you can muscle through it I promise it is worth the read :) Give it a shot!

olivia

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 12:28:16 PM »
I don't mean living it up now v. saving for the future.  I see the now and future (post retirement) lifestyles as relatively consistent.  But mindset wise I feel like I am always waiting for the next thing, and not enjoying where I am now.  Always focused on the destination and not the ride.  Any tips on how to avoid this kind of thinking?  I think it makes me unhappy.

Things I am waiting for:  possible new job, buying a house, both kids in school (and possibility of spouse contributing to income), reaching FI, the next vacation, etc...

But really life is pretty good the way it is right now.  It's hard to remember that when the future looks so much better...

I am exactly the same way and wish I could be better about just living in the moment.  But mostly I just want to be able to see the future!  I'm an over planner, so when I think about something I always think about it 10 steps out.   

Zaga

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 12:32:54 PM »
Try writing down some things that you are thankful for.  I know, it's cheese, but focusing purposefully on the good really can change your perspective.

matchewed

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 12:59:46 PM »
I do it through a physical action. Hiking is my favorite to clear my mind and put me in the moment. I live in a wooded but not very mountainous area but I'll seek out the most technical hike I can. It forces me to pay attention to the now. Regardless of what future worry is on my mind at the moment I come away from it feeling very refreshed and clear minded.

Meditation is supposed to work as well for this sort of thing. I no longer do formal meditation but I do find myself slipping into it with simple tasks such as washing the dishes or cooking. You can be attentive and focused while doing a simple comfortable activity.

MrsPete

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 01:08:31 PM »
The word I come back to again and again is balance. 

You shouldn't throw away today for the sake of tomorrow.  None of us know how many tomorrows we have left, and you're certainly as young and probably as healthy as you'll ever be . . . today.  So definitely slow down and enjoy the moment, especially if you have children.  They won't always be children. 

On the other hand, you can't live without a plan for tomorrow.  For most of us, tomorrow will come, and we will be better off if we've saved money, eaten some vegetables and exercised, and worked towards our goals. 

Both matter.  Balance. 

Justaerin

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 01:11:41 PM »
I get this way a lot.  I'll set a financial plan into motion, and then get really impatient about it.  It makes me feel like I need to be doing SOMETHING with my money RIGHT NOW.  Often, that's spending.  So for me it's going back and looking at my goals and getting excited about the time I'm in because it's a dead-set path to the goals.  So it's still thinking about the future, but that gets me excited about the fact that I'm on the path. 

I also do lots of physical hobbies that exhaust me both physically AND mentally, as they're cerebral as well.  Several martial arts, technical physical training through crossfit, exciting and challenging hikes that really bring you back to the now.  They are my meditation.  Yoga is a phenomenal way of bringing silence to my mind and gives me an amazing euphoria both physically and mentally.  Soon your diversions will be your focus and enjoyment, while you're busy doing those things your financial plans are working in the background.

jrhampt

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 03:20:04 PM »
I do it through a physical action. Hiking is my favorite to clear my mind and put me in the moment. I live in a wooded but not very mountainous area but I'll seek out the most technical hike I can. It forces me to pay attention to the now. Regardless of what future worry is on my mind at the moment I come away from it feeling very refreshed and clear minded.

Seconded!  I just got back from a short hike this afternoon at the cliffs by my house -- and it's a gorgeous day for a hike here in CT.  Appreciating the beauty around me also keeps me in the present, touring the local wineries, which are usually in lovely spots, reading a book in my hammock, enjoying an avocado wrap or a favorite cheese.  However, I do struggle with this mindset.  I think it's tough for people who are planners and like to complete projects in short bursts of energy instead of having to maintain that focus long term and live with the feeling of having an incomplete project hanging over you.

NinetyFour

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 04:32:51 PM »
It helps me to get out and exercise--preferably far away from my computer (with which I obsessively check my checking, savings, and retirement accounts, fiddle with my loan payoff spreadsheet, and look at what the Dow is doing!).

Quick story:  this morning, I was getting in an extra mountain bike ride (after I had arrived at work on said bike).  I was trudging up a rocky trail, and after I nailed the 3 switchbacks, I was feeling good that I would make it to the top without having to stop.  Then at some point, I let my mind wander and started thinking about the camper that I hope to buy next Spring---right when I got to the thought about how much money I should have saved up by then, I hit a rock the wrong way and had to put my foot down and stop.  Bummer! For me, the lesson in that episode was, "Stop all the fantasizing about the future and pay attention to/enjoy/embrace the now!" My next thought was, "I can't wait to share that story on the MMM forum!" :-)

homeymomma

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2013, 08:27:18 PM »
Things do not have to be perfect to be wonderful! - I tell myself this any time I get stuck in the 'someday it will be good/better/perfect' mindset.

catccc

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 07:18:44 AM »
Thanks, lots of great advice, everyone.  I think physical activity is something that could help a lot, but it needs to definitely be challenging.  My mind is so prone to wandering.  I'll check out that book, too.

Ishmael

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 08:34:29 AM »
I am terribly guilty of the same thing. I especially find winter difficult, because there's more sitting around thinking than doing. I've recently had some success by mentally thinking of all the things good in life at the moment, and planning each day to make it as good as it can possibly be.

This summer has been great - been doing a lot of fun things with the family and really living each day to the fullest.

I spend too much time looking at my 5-year financial plan and continually reviewing future plans. I keep improving them and making them better, but it really affects my current life/happiness.


fallstoclimb

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 11:41:07 AM »
I'm gulity of this as well.  It appears some of it was good old-fashioned impatience though -- I recently moved to an area that makes me happy and switched to a job I like SO much better than my old one.  These days I am less obsessive about my student loan payoff, now that I am happier with my life generally. 

For me I get focused on the next thing when I can't figure out how to escape the current thing that is making me unhappy.  Most Americans respond to this frustration by buying a new car, I guess.  Mustachians stare at their financial spreadsheets. 

I still get impatient with the debt payoff, but it helps me to automate it and think about it less.  Yeah you might put a little less money to your goals if its automated, but if you're still working towards them and are happier I think it is worth it.  Also, focus on hobbies you love and physical activity. 

catccc

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 12:04:37 PM »
Oh yes, thinking about the future is definitely partly thinking about escaping what currently makes me unhappy.  And also this is tricky because I'm not sure what exactly is making me unhappy, or if I would be any happier with whatever scenario I see in the future.

mustacheme

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Re: living in the NOW while planning for the future...
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 05:29:38 PM »
"Wherever you go, There you are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn is another book  that might be good to check out to get you thinking more along the lines of mindfulness and being in the present.