Investing in Your Future

23 09 2008

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I’m on Holiday at the moment so I have for you an article by Lifestyle Project contributor Tom Church. Please bear with me for comment approval whilst I’m away. Enjoy!

Image by Oude School on Flickr via Creative Commons

Image by Oude School on Flickr via Creative Commons

“Learn the past, watch the present, and create the future.”

Looking out my bedroom window this morning, through the crisp sunlight, I noticed that the first of my garden trees had begun to shed its’ leaves. ‘Already?’ I thought. Recalling in my half-asleep brain the month, I gasped silently. 2008 was nearly over. It seems only yesterday that I was laughing uncontrollably at the dinner table with my family at Christmas. Surely it hadn’t already been 4 months since I finished school for good?

I began rattling my brains for a solution. There had to be some sort of time delusion going on, what had I done with all this time? Bit by bit, I began piecing together my year: the parties, the exams, the girl friend, the holidays, the jobs, the random events, the ups and the downs. And where did all this leave me standing? In the same room I woke up to in January.

After this mind boggling brain storm, I went downstairs to recover with a hearty breakfast. Whilst eating, I thought about how this year measured up in comparison with previous years. Surprisingly, I could not accurately conclude whether this year was better or worse than the years before, simply because they all seemed exactly the same.

This provoked some panic within me, especially as I began working out the percentage of my expected life I had already lived. It had gone too quickly for my liking, and I was shocked. I looked around me at the interior of my parent’s house where I live. All of this stuff was theirs. How on earth did they manage to acquire so much (rubbish) in the small difference between our ages?

Until today, I had always assumed that these sort of things just happen. You study, you get a job, you earn, you get married, you buy a house, you have kids, you die. Yet, as I have just discovered, this isn’t quite the case. With the economic crisis, I have found it incredibly difficult to find a job recently (well, it took me 2 weeks), and now I have one, I don’t really want it. By gaining a job, I am simply ticking off the next thing in my life check list. Next, get married. With every tick, I am becoming closer to death.

What would happen if I did the opposite? Un-learn, leave my job, spend money, become single, travel around, use protection, live. It sounds extremely appealing. At least it did to me at first.

Whilst in the gym today, I picked up a magazine for the first time entitled Psychology. I’d never read in the gym before, but this took my fancy after having read a blog post, Simple Ways To Increase Your Attractiveness which explains that learning the basics of Psychology will increase your attractiveness.

Within this magazine, there was an article about being honest with yourself and living in the present. There was a golden line (not literally) which initiated a huge thought explosion inside my head, it read, “Imagine that you’re fifty. What have you achieved with your life? Compare this to your present.”

And that’s exactly what I did. It was then that I realised material possessions were not the greatest component of my future happiness (although my vision did include myself looking out through the window of a penthouse apartment). I had a wife, a kid, a fire, a comfortable home, a view of the city and a sunset.

Comparing this to my present life, I sighed, concluding that I had none of these things. It seems that my ‘opposite-life-list’ of being single and spending money won’t lead me to my desired dream of when I am 50 years of age.

My vision showed that I wanted comfort when I was older, secure surroundings for myself and my family. It included a nice place with a view over the city, accurately representing my love of city life and the buzz of people. This means that I have to begin to invest in my life. I hate to think of living and dying alone, it scares me. Online dating sites show that the life check of ‘get married’, just doesn’t happen automatically. You have to work hard to find someone you can share love with.

Now that I have realised this (and hopefully you have too), I can start taking an active role in investing for my future life. This doesn’t mean putting huge amounts of cash into a high-interest bank account, although I would love to if I could. I am starting simple by developing an ‘investment attribute’ within my characteristics. Investing into projects that have long term benefits, for example, exercising every day or eating healthily, will develop a greater level of wisdom and foresight.

These returns should aid me in turning my dream into reality. For now, despite no sleep in the last 38 hours, I am going out to show my appreciation to my friends one last time before they go to University. Who knows, maybe one day, one of them will return this appreciation and save my life.

This article was written by Lifestyle Project contributor Tom Church of The Life of Change blog. Click here to subscribe to his blog. You can also find Tom on Twitter.

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