I once saw a photo online which, I later came to learn, was taken during the premiere of the Hollywood film, Black Mass. In that photo, an elderly woman was standing with the rest of the crowd, barricaded to the side of the streets, watching as Hollywood stars pulled up. Everyone else around her had their phones out, capturing the moment with their cameras while this old lady captured the moment with her eyes, a smile on her face, and a telling satisfaction of just living in the moment and not letting her phone get in the way.
Sometimes, parents take their kids on vacations to historic or scenic places and when the kids want to throw themselves into the experience, marveling at everything, they get interrupted by their parents, who want them to pose for a picture beside something “awesome”, every step of the way. The kids soon rightfully get irritated and make a face to mommy that says we want to enjoy this vacation with you and not with your camera please!
These are moments when it would do us well to take it all in – to forget about yesterday and tomorrow and just bask in the present – living for the moment, living in the moment.
“You only live once (YOLO)” is bandied about as an excuse to live recklessly sometimes. You have one life to live, so why not live it to the fullest, they say. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. Say yes to life! Kiss French, dress Italian, spend Arab and party Caribbean!
But we all know that this does not apply to all areas of life. You may get away with the YOLO philosophy in some instances such as basking in the sun during a well-deserved vacation or viewing the premiere of a Hollywood movie, but there are areas where we shouldn’t live for the moment. YOLO does not apply! In these instances, we are to think about the past, present and future and make our important life decisions based on where we’re coming from, where we currently are, and where we hope to see ourselves in the future.
Here are 3 areas where I would advise you don’t live for the moment, but think carefully about the consequences of your actions.
Spending Your Money
If you’re not Arab, then please don’t spend Arab. Impulse-buying has dire consequences. When you leave home with some money and return both without it and without knowing how it all left your pocket, that’s a problem!
The solution would be to start budgeting. Plan out what you would like to do with your money during the week and just follow your plan. Also, begin to change your mindset about money. Money is not only for spending – there’s giving, saving and investing. It’s a pity that when we give kids some money, the first question we usually ask them is, “so what are you going to spend it on?” No one’s asking them how they wish to save or invest it.
When you have clear goals about what you intend to do with your money, you would most likely not have the liberty to convince yourself that you deserve a treat anytime you go out. You’ll think about the past and the future and remind yourself that you have dreams to fulfill and not to be so foolish as to spend them away along with your cash.
Getting into a Relationship
Whether it’s dating, marriage or having an affair; think twice about the future consequences. Track record is very important to consider here. You have to look at the past actions of the other party before making a hasty decision.
And as for affairs, also look at the past for those who have done what you’re about to do and see how their lives turned out. That’s your future too! And please don’t take one example of a case so special that it doesn’t even remotely relate to yours, and base your decision on it. Let your sample size be large enough to be statistically significant. In the world of stats, that’s at least 30 different cases.
So, please, if you’re not French, don’t go about kissing French. And even if you are, please think about the consequences of your actions first by considering the past –in terms of track records, your present circumstances, and the future outcome based on those two.
Sometime ago, I wrote an article, “Three Things You Are Responsible For in Life”. In this article, I mentioned that you are responsible for some things and responsible to some things. For example, you are responsible for your family of procreation and responsible to your family of orientation. You are to see that the family you created is taken care of and provided for first, before becoming Mr. Philanthropy outside.
Don’t accept, on a whim, the responsibility of taking care of another person’s family just because you’re ‘moved’ by compassion at the moment. It could have dire future consequences especially when you didn’t think about how much resources you had in the first place and then you find them resenting you because you couldn’t keep up with the charity after a few months. Before you refer to them as “entitled”, ask yourself why you jumped at the opportunity of raising their hopes in the first place, only to have them dashed later.
It’s important to be educated on what you’re responsible for and what you aren’t. Sometimes, people take on tasks that they’re not even naturally built for just to align themselves with the fad of the times. All these lead to future regrets.
So don’t be emotional, but think twice. You have goals to achieve, you have dreams to fulfill. And it’ll be sad if you don’t. You will be sad if you don’t.
It’s okay to throw caution to the wind when enjoying a moment that has no dire future consequences for you but when it comes to your future aspirations, remember that YOLO does not apply. In fact, in the words of Nancy Sinatra, “You only live twice or so it seems; one life for yourself and one for your dreams.” And if you only live twice – if that song is anything to go by – then the least you can do is to think twice before you act!