Living In The Moment vs Living For The Future

I’ve noticed a fairly large shift in how I use my free time. Over the winter I was very focused on achieving some long term objectives - namely becoming a better programmer, and working on side projects. But something has changed, and more recently I’ve been spending my free time socializing with friends and enjoying the outdoors instead of being cooped up inside using my computer. Maybe it’s the nice weather. Maybe my brain just needs a rest from all of the mentally exhaustion that constant work and learning incur. Maybe I’ve just changing what’s important to me.

I’m conflicted in terms of how I feel about this change though.

On the one hand, I feel like I’ve been slacking off. I’m a very future oriented person, and not making progress on my goals makes me feel like I’m cheating my future self. Becoming a better programmer is critical to my career, and thus my ability to generate income. Building my side projects satisfies my deep desire of turning ideas into reality. If I don’t make progress on these fronts over the coming months and years, I’ll probably begin to feel like I’m stagnating, and develop regrets about how I wasted my time. If I hadn’t made similar investments of my time in the past, I wouldn’t be where I am today. As a practical matter, I simply need to continue spending some of my time geared towards long term goals.

On the other hand, I’m getting a lot more enjoyment about life. Spending an hour hanging out with friends is hands down more enjoyable than an hour spent debugging JavaScript. I’m going outside more, taking advantage of New York more, and talking to my friends more. The most important thing in life is developing relationships with the people around you. Everything else pales in comparison. I’ve spent a lot of days living deliberately these past two months, and don’t for a second regret any of it.

Time is limited, and I can’t do everything I want to. I’m sure I’ll continue to struggle over how to spend this most finite of resources until it finally run out. I can only hope that I choose wisely.