Adapting to a better life

Change Ahead Sign Refers To A Different And Changing FutureAJ: I don’t often read Oprah’s magazine, but I read the September 2014 issue and felt a strong connection to a point she drove home in her final thoughts. From her article entitled Best Advice Taking Care of Yourself she writes:

    “We live in a state of constant change. Whether or not we’re paying attention, the process is always happening. Even people who can’t see it in themselves witness change daily in their children or in others around them.

    Life is about recalibrating. About continually asking yourself: What do I have to do to get where I need to be? How do I create the life I want?

    …We have to make ourselves over daily, consistently, in order to keep moving forward. We are not meant to stagnate.

    If change is the one thing you can be sure of, the goal is to figure out how you can use that certainty to your advantage, to modify, transfigure, refashion, and transform your day-to-day being.”

My first reaction was “that’s SO true!” I do feel like I’m in a constant state of change and evolution, and I feel like if I’m not daily asking myself where I’m going I’m already behind. Rarely do we take the opportunity to just be. In such a forward-focused, fast-paced world it often seems impossible to take enough time to slow down and recenter. I very much live in the moment, but the future is never far from the forefront of my thoughts. The place I most often seek balance is in that constant battle of living life fully and saving for our future. Surely you can’t do both with equal finesse, right?

Maybe not. Taking the time to live AND enjoy AND spend are equally important to the constant pace of saving and planning. Planning for retirement isn’t just a marathon, it’s a freaking triathlon, and it’s not sustainable to never reap the fruits of your labors. Sometimes you just have to spend more than you planned, you have to take an unplanned, unbudgeted-for vacation because if you don’t you’re going to quit your job and live in a box on the side of the road. Give yourself room to make decisions without constantly living in fear of the long-term repercussions.

KJ: When you’re in the thick of whatever it is – be it a project, your job, chores, saving for a goal – it’s very easy to lose sight of the end goal by getting caught up in the day-to-day. Whether you are intending to change or not, it’s something that just sort of happens and it’s seldom something within your control. But you can control how you react and process the new information. Your goals may shift at any point – your kid wants an expensive camp, private school where their friends are going, your job prospects may suddenly change and your retirement goal gets pushed back just a little, a sudden windfall suddenly brings some of your goals to the forefront. Look at the change as a way to see if you’re still on track, but don’t lose sight of what you’re doing today. It really is a balance between the here and now and the uncertain future, but don’t be afraid to live a little. Just don’t use it as an excuse for always saying you’ll get to it “tomorrow.”

AJ: Drink the extra glass of wine, buy the piece of art, take the extra day off. It will all still be there tomorrow changing as quickly as it always does.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / Adapting to a better life is copyrighted by without consent to republish.

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