mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The eternal struggle between present and future...

I was reading a book that included a quote from someone who was in the twin towers when the planes hit, who told his son that he should live his life in a way that he wouldn't have any regrets if someday he saw a plane coming at his office window.

It's good advice.. or is it? It's tempting to suggest that we should live in the moment, do the things we want to do so we live with no regrets, ect. At the same time, there is evidence that people who can defer gratification tend to be the most successful. Doing the big things in life that people want to do - marriage, kids, owning nice things, training for races - often means making short-term sacrifices to achieve larger long-term goals.

I've been thinking about that a lot of late. I've been less than happy with certain aspects of my life, especially my being single and where I am career-wise. And in general, my response to both of these things has been that I need to work harder - that I need to devote more time to working out and making more money, in the hopes becoming more attractive and desirable, and that I need to put more time into work. i've generally figured that I can relax - that I can think about things like vacation - later in life, after I have found someone to share it with. But as I get older, and that seems more and more like a goal that for some reason is completely out of my reach, I wonder when I should relax.

For example, i don't take vacations, and usually end up losing most of my vacation days at work. I'll take a day off here and there to visit the family, or to attend an auction, but I can't bring myself to take a bunch of days off just to do nothing, and i can't bring myself to spend a bunch of money to travel somewhere. Even when I've thought about traveling, I usually wanted to center it around an auction or something where I could possibly make a few bucks to offset the travel costs. I posted this on a forum I read, and the general response was that I am a moronic loser who will die alone. Which may well be true, but I'm not sure how sitting on a beach somewhere is going to help me - I'm still going to be the same awkward and not particularly attractive person on a beach somewhere as I am in the real world. And i can sit at home and read a book much cheaper than I can sit on a beach and read a book. But I can't really justify sitting home reading a book when I could be at work - if I'm not there, I might miss a meeting or a chance to make an impression on someone that could make or break my career.

I don't really know what the answer. In a way, I feel like if I'm relaxing and enjoying myself, I must not be working hard enough. It's like when I finish a race - if I don't pass out at the finish line (and i never do) then I must not have pushed myself to my limits. If I have free time to read or watch tv or write on this blog, it's time I should be using to try to chase love or money.

I don't want to die having never enjoyed myself. But I also don't want to die wondering if I could have achieved the things that have seemed out of reach if I'd put a little more time into it.


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