Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#153 - Balancing Between Today and Tomorrow

“Sha-la-la-la-la-la live for today / And don’t worry ‘bout tomorrow, hey”
– The Grass Roots

Finding the balancing point between what is and what might be is always challenging. How does one know whether he or she is making the right choice? Hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight and forward vision can be a bit blurry at best and myopic at worst.

One of the blogs I regularly read is currently in the middle of a series of posts that have a bit of a survivalist bent to them, looking ahead to dwindling oil supplies, hyperinflation, and a collapsing economy. Definitely not light bedtime reading. But is the author right? Are we headed for financial Armageddon?

I don’t know the answer to that question, and he admits he doesn’t, either. That’s the point. Not even the wisest of us has a direct line to the future, so none of us really knows what lies ahead. While the song by The Grass Roots may, on one level, seem a bit irresponsible, there is a lot to be said for living for today.

Today is all we can see and all we have any semblance of control over. That does not mean doing nothing to plan for the future. Nor does it mean not having any hopes or dreams to look forward to or live for. What it does mean is doing the best you can today to plan for the future without sacrificing the present and worrying about tomorrow if and when it comes. 

Looking at the world around me, I see that throwing money at the problems we face, as America is sometimes accused of doing, has so far not solved the problem. Nor has cutting spending to the bone, as has occurred in some European countries, done the job. As in all things, balance and moderation seem to be the key.

I’ve been accused often in my life of being a pessimist, but I am something of an optimist at heart. While I believe we face a variety of challenges in the years ahead, I also believe we can and will address them, whether it be through evolution, technology, divine intervention, or some combination of all three. Forty years ago, during the last worldwide oil shortage, many were forecasting gloom and doom. Since then, we have made great strides in alternative energy sources such as solar and wind, and I suspect further advances lie on the horizon.

I sometimes think about what the future holds for my autistic son. I realize that I will not be around for most of his adult life and will not be there to guide him through whatever lies ahead. Plans are in place to try to prepare for his future, but as what anything forward-looking, those plans are at best an educated guess as to what he’ll face and what he’ll need. At the same time, his parents hope and plan as parents for our own future.

I suppose the moral in all of this is to do your best to plan and prepare for the future you hope to see while also doing your best to live in the now (and not, as Jethro Tull once sang, “keep living in the past”). Metaphysically speaking, I guess I need to work on my sense of balance. Sha-la-la-la.

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