Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Now vs. Later


We recently went through a merger at the day job. As with most integrations, a lot (read way too much) time was spent nurturing cultural meshing and harmony. There have been a series of mandatory and voluntary conference calls and trainings with all hands on deck. A generous heapful of "we're all in this together and aren't we happy" has been served up time and again. Granted, this ain't my first rodeo and I've seen these pony rides before but I'm always amazed at what passes for motivational team-building.

I vividly recall my time at Kodak where they shipped twenty of us off to the wilderness to a "bonding camp" and expected us to climb trees, walk ten foot high tightropes and sing along to "Broken Wings" which was our "mediation song" for the weekend. Booo. After the unfortunate incident where one person didn't get caught in the backwards trust fall - that wrapped up the formal bonding. They handed out free booze and let us chill by the fireplace - that was a true bonding experience. 

Last week we had the last two "togetherness talks" which struck me in their complete divergence from each other. The first was calling "Learning to Live in the Now" which as you may imagine delved into Oprahesque ways to be the best you that you can be right now IN THE MOMENT. (Yes, all caps on the presentation) Two days later, they gave a presentation on "Life in the Long Term" which focused on what you can do today so your tomorrows are all pretty.

Besides irritating me with the overly simplistic advice, the two topics got me to thinking. Am I more of a "live for today" or a "plan for tomorrow" person? I think the answer is that I've evolved into both. Someone who wants to enjoy the here and now while laying out the stepping stones for tomorrow and the time after that. I think as you get older, you get a little more aware that your tomorrows aren't promised and are shrinking even as I type but you want to hedge your bets and make plans just in case you're blessed enough to still be around.

With my career it's different. The HR is a means to an end. That end being the day when I can write full-time again. And writing is something I plan to do until my fingers can no longer reach the keyboard and that speech-to-text app quits working. It's easy to stay focused on the next book, next deadline, next publicity tour while planning two or three books ahead.

In my personal life, well that's more complicated. Long term seems so... long term. Trying to guess what will happen on down the road, particularly with my relationship history is either foolhardy or brave. So I tend to be a bit more in the here and now. 

Quite the balancing act - staying in the moment with one eye on the future. Hopefully I do a better job with this than I did on that tightrope. I think I've mentioned before that I don't defy gravity well? Yeah um... picture me in bright yellow workout gear (I don't know what I was thinking) shrieking at the top of my lungs as I fell off the rope and the support harness swung me around to drop in the net. Never. Again.

BougieLand - are you more or a "live for the moment" or a "my day will come" person? And how's that working for you? Can you live life to the fullest if you're always plotting the next step? Can you get to the next step if you are completely immersed in the moment? (Has anyone else been on one these work wildnerness things - why do they do this?) Please share...

32 comments:

CaliGirlED said...

Being an over-thinker I'm more of a "plan for tomorrow" type, however I do get frustrated in the "my day will come" thinking and dive into "live for the moment". Clearly I need more balance.

In my personal life, at this time in my life, I'm "live for the moment". If in this moment you are not what I want/need, bye. But in a sense, I'm still planning for tomorrow, because I'm keeping myself open for The One. (Sounds good. LOL!!!)

thinklikeRiley said...

*fist bump* Awesomest post, OChizzle!
Riley is a live in the moment, I want it now, tomorrow ain't promised, gotta get mine while the getting is good guy. Seen too many folks gone too soon. Tomorrow is a dream, today is all we got.

iExemplifyKool said...

I have never been much of "plan for the future" type person. I'm a control freak and I would get to caught up in details. I have always felt liberated to do as I wish.

Now, I just "get through the now."

SouthernWes said...

Things change. In my twenties, I was short-sighted and my wife was the long-term visionary. Now I'm more the one who thinks how things will impact us tomorrow and she's more "let's just do this" - thankfully we balance each other out. Can you imagine two all about right now people together? How would that even work long-term?

ASmith said...

I surprise myself with how much of a "plan for tomorrow" person I am.  I really don't like plans, and when we start talmbout "5 year plans" I get nervous.  However I learned that I (and others like me) plan for 10 and 15 years out, but we're really bad with immediate plans, like what will we do tomorrow.

On the plus side I tend to keep a good purview of things in terms of my super long term goals, while at the same time remaining completely open to what could come next (as in tomorrow next) but on the downside, I make people nervous and can come across as having no clue about what I'm doing which isn't that great when you're trying to lead people.

I'm working on it -- not making people nervous but I'm still not here for a ton of planning.

Mo said...

Woww... Briliant post, only Chele will make a  merge situation into a  life lesson. As I type this, we have 11.30 meeting because our company  entered into a material  definitive agreement, aka a  merger with  our competitor. Many moving parts to this agreement, but the plan is by the end of the 3rd qtr we will have merged with the competitor.

My daily struggle is leaving in that space between now and  later. I worry to much to enjoy the now, but working on  being a better me. I'm always perplexed at this weakness (worry) of mine because I'm believer, and the dogma is  you can't worry and pray. Like you said, as you get  older you  recognize your own mortality and  that will force  you into the NOW.

Monica said...

 I'm in my head a lot so I'm guilty of having been more of a "My day will
come" person and I'm trying to morph into a "Live in the moment"
person. Tomorrow is promised to no one. I don't want to reach the twilight of my life full of coulda, shoulda, wouldas.

iExemplifyKool said...

I have a girlfriend who LOVES to plan. She researches in depthly, asks plenty of questions and loves a good deal. She planned our recent girl's trip but left out "details" such as transportation and food.

iExemplifyKool said...

You said it then Mo the "weakness" of worrying and worrying too much to enjoy the now. That's me.

Andrea M said...

It wouldn't - that was me and my ex. All about now, nothing about the later. So we had no later. 

blackprofessor said...

Great post!

In my career, I am all about the long-term. I envision my career like a chess game - each step is predicated on the next and so on.  Every move is pondered to death before taken.

In my personal life, I am split.  I am a "carpe diem" woman except when it comes to dating.  Losing a close friend at an early age taught me that tomorrow is not promised so I try to live life to the fullest.  When it comes to dating, I tend to focus on whether a specific man has long-term potential for me. 

Andrea M said...

I'm more of a planner now, so much so that it's hard for me to be spontaneous and just go with the flow. I need to know what direction the flow is going, is there high wind, what's the weather forecast and what are we doing when we arrive. Yes. Control Freak is my middle name. I'm the person who has a GPS and a map and directions from a friend - just in case. 

ShawnSoze said...

Yep. Trying to avoid the coulda/shoulda/wouldas at all costs.

bashowell said...

I'm more of a live for the moment person.  Planning makes me nervous.

GrownAzzMan said...

I am definitely living for the moment. Responsibilities make you have a vision for the future and put some things in place but in my personal life it's all about the now.

As for that wilderness thing, GrownAzzMen stay at the Four Seasons

CaliGirlED said...

As I plan for my trip to Miami, I'm on the phone with my girl needing to know the dress attire for each part of the day. Will definitely have back ups, just in case. LOL!!!

I have On-Star and will print out directions from yahoo. I don't know if I'm a control freak so much as the city plan of Houston was created by some folks who had just finished a session of "puff puff give"! :-/

Jubi The Great said...

I used to be a big time planner. I was always taught that a plan was necessary, along with a backup plan & a backup to the backup plan. And then I became an adult & life began to not according to my plan. I freaked out & then learned to roll with the punches, but still planning. And then...I realized that I was missing stuff cause I was too busy planning & obsessing about the plan. The last few years of my life have been about living in the moment, enjoying the moment & going with the flow & things have gotten a lot better.

M Dot said...

Wow Michele, this is so timely for me. I would say that I am a mix of the two but shifting more towards a in-this-moment type of person

I've been through the deaths of three people that I considered mentors/"big bros" in the last 3 months. And none of them died of old age.  Cancer, heart attack, cancer. One of them I saw just two weeks before and we promised (as we had for months) that we would meet up and talk business. May 25th, he had a heart attack and died at his desk. 54 years old. Fifty.Four.

These deaths reminded me that tomorrow is not promised.  On that note,  for more than a year I've been saying I was going to do my public affairs and consulting business full-time. But my semi-comfy job kept me placated because I knew the next check was around the corner and that ONE DAY I would make the move...

Two weeks ago I made the leap.  Where it's going, I don't know but I DO know that sometimes you have to make yourself a little uncomfortable to reach your goals.  I hope this helps someone else considering the same move.

TypeALady said...

I don't know if I'm a control freak so much as the city plan of Houston was created by some folks who had just finished a session of "puff puff give"! :-/

^^^One of the many reasons why I moved back to the east coast...

JoycelynC said...

I'm a planner; long-term or short-term.  I always have been and that is unlikely to change.  However, I have had enough things not go exactly according to plan to learn to roll with the punches of life and enjoy some of its unplanned moments.  

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I am definitely a "my day will come" type of person.  Frankly, I adopted that mindset full-force because I saw it as essential to having a lifestyle better than the one in which I was raised.  Honestly, it's not really working that well because I focused a lot of energy on the wrong aspects of the future, and never really enjoyed significant parts of my life.  I also, post-high-school, didn't really have strong advocates and mentors to help push me in the right direction.  While it burns my grits to have spent so many years, and so much energy, on things that have not allowed me to get closer to the vision that I have in my head, I have to chalk it all up to life being a journey that is only marginally in my control.  Now, I'm trying to be a person who makes sound plans for the future, and who can enjoy every moment. 

Angel Blanca said...

Seems to me they could have gotten off cheaper (and better) by just going the free booze route, but what do I know? *sips adult beverage*

Angel Blanca said...

Sorry, I forgot about the questions asked, I was so focused on happy hour.

I think with MS, I've developed more into an "in the moment" type, as I can never be sure from day to day what will happen.  I am, though, living as though there will be a long-term, so I'm working daily on activities and ways of being that will keep me as healthy and capable as possible for the next 80 years, or so.   This means, I'm focusing on being active daily, eating better, and ensuring I get enough rest.  Long-term, I'm focusing on getting a new job that permits me to live as I desire well into my second century of life.

Mykeia said...

Great post.
I have evolved into a live in the moment person, but I will always have something to add to the live in the later pot.
I hate physical team building exercises, just not fun.

jake said...

How about we went on one of these and the CEO got hurt and had to be airlifted back to civilization - last wilderness run for this company. #NoCountryforCompanyCamping

chriscogmta said...

i take things as they come, always looking ahead, so i see them coming.  I'm like Neo in the Matrix!!!  seriously, i think it can't be overstated how an unhealthy balance is required to really make it in life.  You have have to grind unsavorably in the beginning so you can coast later on. 

I have been on a company city slickers moment and it was actually pretty dope.  we got out of the office, a few people hooked up, we learned/confirmed that our boss was an idiot and 7 of the most talented of us planned a mass exodus to a rival firm and got decent bumps in pay. 

Jason P said...

That's a win.

Jason P said...

I like the big picture so I look at the now and the later. 

The_A said...

I'm a live for today based on my plan for tomorrow kinda gal. 

I love to live in the moment surrounded by tons of really bright shiny objects & distractions! Now that I've made absolute peace with the way I am, I just do it within some well defined boundaries. It's like moving from A in the direction B with ample time built in to wander into the cute shops,  restaurants & attractions on the side roads.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

I've never been on one of those 'bonding' trips, and I don't count that overnight Girl Guide excursion back when I was 12. Anyway, I'm a mix of Now/Later - living in the Now, and looking at what aspects of Now I can build on for Later.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

 True dat. I've seen Hostel, The Ruins, and Cabin Fever; we can bond just as well in an all-inclusive resort in the middle of civilization.

Butterfly2011ct68 said...

I JUST found your website!!  It's great.  I can definitely relate.  I come from an international, multi-billion dollar company and they were ALL about lifting the spirit and living for today, planning for tomorrow and work/life balance.  If I had to either attend or coordinate one more of these little love fests I was going to carve my eyes out with a spork!!

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