Because you can’t hit rewind when things go wrong.
I’ve never really been the kind of gal who made concrete plans for my life.
Some of my friends have their entire lives from highschool to retirement meticulously planned out with barely any room for change. If life was a movie, theirs would be polished Summer blockbusters with perfect Rotten Tomatoes scores. My flick, however, would still be in the draft stage, scribbled on old scraps of paper scrunched into balls and thrown on the drawing room floor.
I’ve never felt the need to map out my future, especially during my university years.
When asked the dreaded “What are you planning on doing after you graduate?” question, my mind would instantly go blank. I’d mutter something about keeping my options open, praying the subject would quickly change. Truth be told, I was all about living in the moment. If I was in in Friends, I’d be the laidback Phoebe, not the highly-strung Monica.
I firmly believed planning out every little thing was for boring people, which I most definitely did not want to be. After all, champions of meditation and mindfulness have been preaching about the benefits of this ‘in the moment’ living, and claim it’s the key to happiness, and I bought into it.
But there are a few pretty big flaws to living for today and ignoring the ever-looming tomorrow. While I understand the appeal of practicing mindfulness – and the scientific evidence which suggests it’s incredibly good for you – if you’re completely ignoring the future (like I was), you’re bound to run into some problems. Because I’d been so loosey-goosey about my future, now I was in my future, I didn’t have a leg to stand on. Since then, I’ve learned it’s actually a fantastic idea to have some kind of life plan, because…
History repeats itself
If you’re living in the ‘now’, chances are you’re forgetting about the past. However, history tends to repeat itself and we, as humans, need to learn from our past mistakes. If you keep having the same problems over and over again throughout your life, chances are you’re not paying enough attention to your past, so you’re not learning from the experiences and growing as a person.
It’s your past which helps shape who you are. If you’re always being passed up for the promotion at work, doing the same thing you’ve always done will, more than likely, continue to produce the same outcome. But if you examine what you’ve been doing and could be doing differently to further your career, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition. Use your past, and your present, to help plan for your future.
Everything won’t always be positive
You definitely can’t predict what is going to happen in the future. I remember the day my cousin died suddenly in a car accident. He was only a few years shy of his 30th birthday. His death didn’t only rip open a hole in my family as a unit, but it absolutely destroyed my aunt and uncle financially.
Having to stress about money during difficult times is, unfortunately, a heartbreaking fact of life, and if my cousin had life insurance, it would have eased the stress of the entire ordeal for my family members and allowed them to grieve without as much financial stress, allowing them to provide for their loved ones. Awful things happen. And as horrifying as it is to think about, it really does help to be prepared for these moments, and insurance can be the way to do this. No one wants to think about losing a loved one, losing their job, or becoming gravely ill, but pretending these things absolutely won’t happen to you is ignoring the fact we can’t control everyone and everything in our lives.
So if you do anything to prepare for your future, it may be to consider who can provide suitable options catered to your personal budget and lifestyle, so you’ve got a backup plan if the unexpected should happen.
It pays to be prepared
They don’t say “Money makes the world go ‘round” for nothing. Even though a healthy bank account may never buy true happiness, having a financial plan to ensure you’re not suddenly left cash-strapped with bills piling up and debt collectors knocking down your door will certainly help keep a smile on your face. According to a 2013 study, people who have a detailed financial plan not only save more money, but report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in their lives.
As someone who is almost always perpetually broke, I understand the relationship between being financially prepared for the future and being happier. My stress levels are always significantly lower when I’m not constantly worried about how I’m going to make rent, or if my job is secure.
While appreciating the moment and living for each new day is a great way to be mindful of your life and happiness, it definitely pays off to plan your future; even just a little bit.
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Comment: Do you live in the moment, or plan for your future?
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