Stuck in the ‘time-being’

When you do stuff just for the time being, what are you referring to?

The ‘time-being’ is this voided place in time that is related to the ‘around to it’ and ‘one day’. It’s the vague projection of time and space that enables us to remain non-committal, ambiguous and justify a half-arsed effort.

If you preface things with ‘the time-being’, it’s kind of like saying ‘no offence, but…’ – you’re abdicating risk rather than managing it.

We are always talking about the short term and the long term in life. Plan for the future but live in the moment – which one is it?

The live-now-pay-later revolution of interest-free payment options for household goods has been the linchpin of people cashing in the future for the promise of immediate gratification. It’s presented as ‘you only live once’. The notion that the long term doesn’t matter because it’s all about the moment.

At other times, we wish we had considered the future more thoroughly and that thing we needed ‘right now’ is now broken and faded in the corner whilst we still have the responsibility to pay for it. Peoples’ health and 401k/super is usually a good example of areas of poor planning regret.

Well this is where the ‘time-being’ comes in. That dangerous middle ground that tries to manage the future whilst pleasing the present and drawn from fears of the past. Somehow we’re lead to believe that if we just do X, Y and Z for the time-being, it will bridge the gap.

Making decisions for the long term future are inherently bigger, slower and take more time to mature. Sure they see the long term benefits but the short term costs prohibit it. – “I don’t have time for exercise”, “we can’t install that system because we need to run the company today” etcetera.

Making decisions for the short term future are typically smaller, faster and you can take it home now. Sure they see the long term risks but the short term benefits outweigh it.  – “I could be dead tomorrow”, “I need it now and in five years but I’ll deal with it then” etcetera.

It’s a constant challenge for us in careers, in love and in life. We aim to make choices to achieve the long term future, we will always make choices to please the short term future and yet somehow we end up dealing with the consequential choices of the time-being.

The ‘time-being’ decision to choose that job or live in that city or date that person or to accept that treatment is connected to your short term choices and affecting your long term ones.

If you want to change your life, stop worrying about the decision you’re making for tomorrow and the one for the next ten years. You can’t change that bill due tomorrow regardless of where you are and you can’t stop heart disease in twenty years by not eating that cake tomorrow if you intend to just eat it next week.

Start focussing on the decisions you’re making for the ‘time-being’. They’re the ones really driving who you are, making you feel crappy about your short term decisions and undermining all your plans for the future you want.

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