By Christopher Tan
How do you spend your day? Do you find yourself working most of the time? Is it spent learning about things that interest you? Do you find yourself scrolling endlessly down your timelines? Do you spend your time enriching and strengthening the relationships you hold? Maybe you spend your hours honing your skill in a craft. Maybe you spend your time hammering away at the life of your dreams.
Where you are and where you want to be
It’s important to consciously check in with ourselves to see where we’re at in life and to take a close look at the “patterns” in which we have built our lives upon. As much as we’d like lifestyle freedom and spontaneity, the majority of us live our lives based on pattern and routine; we have work schedules, and then we have to schedule in family and me time; we wake up in the morning, brush our teeth, have breakfast, go to work, spend 8 hours at work or school, and then have a little bit of time left over for family and hopefully ourselves before we have to do it all over again. Add in a social life and other various factors and you can see how busy our days can become.
How we spend our days now will dictate what our future will look like. It’s very simple: you plant a seed, and in time, it grows into whatever you have planted. Similarly, in life, what you plant now, is what sprouts in the future. In the same respect, if you aren’t planting anything worthy for yourself, and you’re just kind of sitting in the dirt wallowing about your existence, you won’t have anything to harvest when the time comes. What you reap, you sow.
The natural question then becomes: where do you want to be in X number of years? What do you want to harvest?
You are the master of your destiny (philosophically debatable). You are the author of your story.
For instance, we mentioned lifestyle freedom and spontaneity a couple of paragraphs above. Now, what this looks like might differ for each individual, but we can assume that someone who has this kind of freedom works for themselves and has enough financial freedom to do what s/he likes, whenever s/he likes, wherever s/he likes. Let’s say that you’re someone aspiring for that kind of freedom. If you truly wanted it, you would come up with a plan to make it happen that you would work at every single day to make it come into fruition. It may take you five years. But you’d get there eventually. On the contrary, imagine waiting five years, never really consciously striving towards what you wanted because you just kept pushing it forward; “Maybe someday.”
Someday doesn’t exist. Live today. Now.
Radical change is possible
Depending on the kind of life you want to live, you may not have to wait five years for your goal to manifest; you can turn vegan, you can sign up for that yoga class, you can meditate, you can pick up that book and start reading, you can write that novel, you can go for that walk you need, you can end the relationship, you can go to that new cafe in your neighbourhood, you can pick up a new hobby, WHATEVER!—you can do these things TODAY. You just have to have the resolve to say no to the things you do not want and the courage to say yes (finally) to the things you do.
Life is lived in the here and now
Ultimately, the future doesn’t exist. There is no guarantee of anything except the present moment. Life is always lived in the present moment—in the here and now. The point I want to make is the importance of not only analyzing where you want to be in x amount of time, but to analyze the genuine truth of your aspirations. Are you aspiring for that certain thing because it makes you happy or because you THINK it will make you happy. There is a radical difference. And if you make the wrong choice—if you do things because you think they will make you happy—you may end up grinding and working hard for something that ultimately doesn’t fulfill you.
A good measure is to figure out how happy and fulfilled you feel when you are doing any kind of work. Because remember, the end goal is never really THE GOAL. It’s about the journey there. It’s about the process. If the journey there isn’t fulfilling—within the moment, in the here and now—find something else. You’ve got to love what you’re doing, NOW. And if you’re not, you need to begin making changes in your life, because you and your happiness are important.
My goal is to one day be able to sustain myself through my creativity. That’s the goal because we live in a system where we must earn money to survive. But the process—the engaging in my creativity and creating enlightening and beautiful things for this world is what drives me. And this is what I engage in each day. This is what I turn to. It’s what feeds my soul. My creativity is my wealth. It brings me a joy like no other. I’m currently writing this at 3:44 in the morning. Who does that? Someone who knows what makes him happy despite what the world tells him.
So, whether you want to own your dream business or you want to become the greatest magician or you want to become an expert bird watcher or you want to be a scholar in Sanskrit, take little steps, whenever you can, to get where you need to go.
And don’t forget. Enjoy yourself on your way there. Savour each moment you are passionately striving towards that which you desire. By living today, you will get there someday.