Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Specious rewards?

Some of my research focuses on how users of technology focus only on short term rewards instead of considering the long term benefits of learning a new technology. This is especially evident in industries where time is extremely valuable.

I am finding myself struggling with this exact notion, not with learning technology, but with kind of everything else....I have a colleague who is dying, to the point that his wife is afraid to order a birthday cake for herself in a few weeks because he might not be around and it might be too hard on their kids. I think about them all the time and I think that is why I struggled so badly with food last week and am struggling with all kinds of decisions that usually I do not fret about.

"If I am going to get hit by a bus tomorrow, who cares if I am 3 pounds heavier from chicken wings and cookies?"

"What if something happens and I regret not taking Mr. P to Vegas because it would take most of our savings?"

THEN, I go more long term...

"What if I get diagnosed with something and if I had just lost weight I could fight it better?"

"What if I use all our savings to go to Vegas and the truck breaks down?"

I am struggling to find a balance between living in the present and living for the future.

When do you live for?

14 comments:

What a Splurge said...

Joan Rivers once asked how sad for all those girls on the Titanic who passed up the dessert cart? Yeah, if you only knew. I think it's probably best to assume you'll be around in the future. Don't hesitate to buy green bananas.

lastchanceivf said...

Holy crap this is a hard struggle. I can tell you that Mr. LC and I have tried very very hard to keep right on living rather than saying "when we have kids" or "when we're through battling infertility we'll..." but it is tough. I think it's good to live in the moment but prepare for the future. I guess that's a big old DUH, huh?

Amy said...

That's some heavy stuff! I guess my theory is to live life to the fullest, assuming I'm going to be here a long term. A friend dying might give me a different perspective as it has for you. It's hard to deal with!

SoMi's Nilsa said...

While we say it'd be great to see our futures, to know when it will be our time, I'm not sure I'd want that. What if I think I have another 40 years to live. Would I not make the most of today knowing I have many more of them to come? I've always been a firm believer that you should live life in the here and now, but also situate yourself (as best you can) for any unforeseen circumstances. For us, that means we won't let savings dip below a certain amount ... for that just in case.

Jenni said...

Oh, I ALWAYS buy green bananas, I don't like them any other way. If they get too yellow, they are for my husband then :)

I live for both. I live in the present but plan for the future. Sure, take that trip, but don't take it if you are draining your savings. I'm all for having a rainy day fund and treating that as if it's not there unless it's an emergency...everything else gets to be used to live for today!

Alice said...

ooh, what an interesting question. i think i'm MAINLY a present kinda gal, with a maybe 6-month future outlook. i'm not too good at super-future planning. i mean, sure, i have a 401k, but i sort of just agree in the present that i part with that money, without REEEALLY believing i'll see it in the future. not because i think i'll die first or anything, just because it's, you know, a long time from now :-)

Lucy said...

Wow, what a question! I have to say I tend to live 'safe' I wish I lived more in the moment. With age I am getting better at it but I mostly live 'safe'. I try to eat healthy. I plan for the future. I use to 'people please' to death. Living safe. The one thing I did do that was not 'safe'. We take trips all the time. We splurge and we do them on the spur of the moment. That is my only in the moment living.

Jen L. said...

That's so sad about your colleague. I was always a planner and I spent most of my life waiting for the "next step." Well, now I'm living those next steps--marriage, career, parenthood, home-ownership--and I'm making a real effort to live more in the NOW, while still making plans for the future. And I write a lot of run-on sentences. Roll Tide.

creative kerfuffle said...

hotch--this is exactly what the hubs and i have been dealing with all summer. of course losing a job isn't like losing a life, but it does give you a different perspective. sometimes we get bogged down planning for the future and saving for the future and we don't enjoy the now. i really think it's a tough balancing act, but one to you have to do. i would also love for the hubs and i to go to vegas--but i wouldn't drain savings for it.

Shelley said...

I struggle with this, having had a favorite uncle, who absolutely lived life to the fullest, die unexpectedly at 50. Sometimes I take his outlook on life and jump into things headfirst, and other times I am more cautious.

As far as food goes, I'm ok most of the time not eating goodies because I figure I've eaten my lifetime allotment already. But then again, sometimes I just eat the damn piece of cake! Hmmm, can you tell I'm a Gemeni?

destinationathlete said...

I am so sad for your colleague. Prayers to them.

I wish I had a good answer to your question...the truth is, I'm an anal retentive planner who freaks out about the future. I have to force myself to live in the present...

chezjulie said...

I have been thinking about this, too, with the holidays coming up. My "we can't afford it" planning for the future side is wrestling with my "let's have a festive Christmas" living in the now side.

Penny said...

I think I flip flop between both on a daily basis which can is very frustrating.

Not Your Aunt B said...

Live life to the fullest, including the more routine daily aspects of life. Something must be in the air because everyone seems to be thinking about this...

 
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