The Difference Between Those Who Are Present, Happy And Balanced And Those Who Are Not

As I progress through my 20s, I'm seeing the world more four-dimensionally. I've experienced the tests of time on this Earth and I've seen the benefits of thinking long-term.

Strangely enough, I've also learned to live more for the moment. Planning is a good skill to have, but the ability to improvise is just as important and finding a balance is crucial.

Spending your life chasing instant gratification will not make you happy, but thinking only about the future and missing out on life's real pleasures in the process is equally depressing. An addict chooses "now" every time, but the happiest people find things that are both healthy and enjoyable.

The "Now" Thinker

He wakes up hungover, feeling minor withdrawal effects from the various drugs he's gone without for eight hours. He stays in bed for about 45 minutes after waking and finally gets up when his desire for a spliff outweighs his laziness. He still needs his $4 latte, though, before he's really himself.

He goes to his dead-end job that he hates but holds to make ends meet. Since he has so many addictions to support, he never has money leftover for his savings. His job is boring, but at least it's easy.

He has always taken the path of least resistance and does not see any reason to work hard. After work, rather than investing his free time in ways that will improve his life, he gets drunk and plays Call of Duty. Two years down the road, he will be doing pretty much the same thing.

He is waiting on some inheritance money.

The "Later" Thinker

He is afraid to make mistakes and always buys insurance. He spends too much time thinking about money and ignores his body; his financial health comes at the expense of his physical and mental health.

He makes an effort to eat healthily, but does not particularly enjoy his food and doesn't care much about how it tastes. At the end of the day, if it fills him up, it's all the same.

He has an excellent memory, but when he needs to improvise, he freezes. He always tries to recall what he knows rather than inventing something new.

Since he doesn't pursue stimulating activities, his vision and hearing are weakening. He cares little about what his clothes and other belongings look like and he doesn't listen to music often.

He cares a lot about what society thinks he should do and downplays or ignores his own emotions and desires. He doesn't go out or meet a lot of people and finds it difficult to make emotional connections.

He works too hard and has no energy left over for anything fun, which makes him uptight and boring. He never even reaps the benefits of his hard work, instead putting it all in a retirement account. He gets promoted, but still feels empty inside.

He treats his life as a means to an end.

The "Balanced" Thinker

He makes decisions with both the present and future in mind and pursues activities that are both pleasurable and good for him. Rather than choosing between one or the other, he comes up with creative alternatives to satisfy both.

He takes time to enjoy the journey and makes sure that he is happy with his final destination. He knows that he doesn't need a whole lot but is always motivated and has a lot of energy.

He spends a little more to get food that is both healthy and delicious. He enjoys every morsel and knowing how nutritious it is makes it taste even better to him.

His goals broadly support his mental, physical, financial and emotional wellbeing. He is always down to try something new and is comfortable with the fact that he no longer enjoys many of the things that he used to.

Accepting this fact of life motivates him to pursue new interests and become a well-rounded individual. He is both very emotional and very logical. He is comfortable being alone, yet is always the life of the party.

He has an excellent work ethic, loves his job and knows that the easiest option is not usually the most rewarding. He chases his dreams knowing that even if he doesn't accomplish exactly what he sought out to do, he will learn from the experience and will be better for it.

He will leave the world a better place than he found it.

Photo via Makanyane