If good things happen in the future but what is true is only the present moment and that—as Marcus Aurelius repeats in his Meditations, anytime we could die—, then the wisest choice of action is to strike a balance between working towards a better future while making sure you are doing something you absolutely have to do right now.
For example, one of my goals is financial independence. However, the “real” motive behind this goal is to experience creative freedom, that is, the freedom to do something I care about when I want to do it. I want to be able to do something for the sake of doing it, not because I need to earn money or achieve prestige.
Trading off five to ten years of my life to work hard so I can eventually achieve financial freedom and delay the pursuit of my interests puts me at a terrible risk: I could die prematurely, not achieve financial independence, and, worst, not explore my interests. How much better will it be if, along the way to financial independence, I intentionally free myself with some small packets of time to dip my toes in my interests?
As I argued in a previous article, even if we aren’t perpetually financially free when we aren’t financially independent, we can still be financially free at specific moments—moments when we choose to do something without the intention of making money. It is still possible to experience financial and creative freedom “now” as you walk towards financial independence.
I think this is one of the upsides of building a lifestyle business while waiting for one’s investments compound. When a business is built right, it can provide passive income “right now”—passive income that investments are only able to provide in the future. This passive income can create the possibility of mini-retirements that one can take on the path to financial independence. Mini-retirements then remove the risk of dying early without being able to do the things that one lives for.
It is possible to work for one’s future without unnecessarily sacrificing ALL the opportunities that one can take advantage of right now.
We only live once. We only live in the present moment.