The future is what motivates us. The idea of good or bad consequences affects our actions. Without a thought of the future, and without regard to the past, we would not think of our actions as deeply as we do because there would be no repercussions.
There was one mild summer night that I was deep in thought about this notion. The sky outside was slowly fading to black and my dad and I were idly standing outside of his car. Despite not having to worry about it for a while, I asked him what the point of college was. He told me it was so you could get a good job and be successful in life.
We got into the car and drove home, my mind still buzzing with thoughts. Breaking the silence, I asked my dad what the point of getting a good job is. He said so you can support your family and retire.
It got me thinking about what the point of anything was. I would always be preparing for the next step, working towards working more. Everything in my life seemed almost pointless, because I had no goals beside getting through life, which seemed like a given. I would go to school and try hard so I could go to college. I would go to college so I could get a good job, and I would get a good job so I could support myself, start a family, and eventually retire. It was like an endless video game where the objective is just to continue?or striving for perfection, always one step closer to something unreachable.
I did not like the idea of living like that, so I decided that I should consider both long and short term goals. I need short term goals to keep me motivated, to help me treasure my time in the moment, and to encourage myself to achieve things, as small as they may be. On the other hand, I need lifelong goals to inspire me to prepare for the future and consider the consequences of my actions. So, I believe it’s important that we all have a variety of both, because in life our goals are our purpose, and our achievements from those goals are the meaning of our lives. Without goals, we’d never achieve anything, and we’d be living for nothing, rendering our lives pointless.
Our goals also connect to overcoming our challenges. For example, I always stress over test grades. In the future, when I’m an adult, test grades might seem completely insignificant, and I will probably regret putting effort into studying. But if my goal in the moment is to get good grades, then my effort would be meaningful. Furthermore, by acknowledging both the present and the future, it makes our actions significant, whether it’s in the short or the long term.
So when people say to live in the moment, it is only partially good advice because without considering the future, we do not care about the ramifications of our actions. But, if we live entirely in preparation for the future, then we may live our lives trying to achieve an unreachable and possibly unknown goal. Therefore, I believe that by having a variety of goals we learn to both appreciate and utilize our time, but also prepare for the future so we can reach whatever end result we are ultimately striving for.