Atishay Jain
Atishay Jain

I have a question to start with - Anyone here prefers 5 million dollars 5 years from now over a million right now? What about 10 million in ten years? How about 20 in 20? 100 million in 100 years. Yes. That is what I want to say - there is a time value of money but it is not as huge as is the life value of money. Now is more important than 10 years from now.

Let me go through what the life of a normal individual say {person 1} looks like - Office is at 10, he wakes up at 9:10, slowly as he puts the alarm clock to sleep. Then the race begins. He switches on the shower while brushing his teeth, drives to office with a sandwich in his right hand. Luckily with automatic transmission there is no gear box to keep the hand busy. Sits in front of a machine all day, even having his lunch at desk. Tired he drives back home, finishes some household chores and again gets late for bed. Then after months of hard work, he finds a vacation and guess what he does going to the exotic location, shuts down his alarm clock and goes back to sleep.

This is the now that many of us are living. We work so hard waiting for a glorious future. We sacrifice now for tomorrow but the tomorrow never comes. Young await being independent. Adults yearn to save enough for a retirement, the enough that is never defined. The best days are the ones that we are letting go. God gave a present, the present time in out lives that keeps slipping right from under our nose.

I am not saying to stop planning or working for a better future. With my burgeoning ambition, I am also trapped in this present sacrificing, future looking ride of life myself. By speaking out loud I am trying to remind myself more than I am trying to remind you - you do need to work for a better future but not at the cost of the present. I know it is a cliché but it is a fact that no one on his deathbed wishes that he had worked a tad bit harder. There is an opportunity cost to everything. Sweet memories are too huge a cost for any future. Coming to US, I miss so many small family meet ups and events that would have created a great set of memories. I am very likely missing a cousin’s wedding this March. Therefore, I should be building a better set of memories that would justify my decision, rather than just a plan of a better future.

I do love my job and maybe, even when I earn the financial independence I would continue to do something very similar. But there was so much more to me that got lost while growing up. That is another point that we should remember. Say we had no job to do tomorrow. Do we have something to do in the retirement we are spending our lives working towards. Now is the time to develop that additional hobby that is enjoyable. The aspirational writer needs the hours of practice before he learns enough to go full time. Now is when that time has to come. Not everyone can be Bill Gates or Sergey Brin to have enough time after retirement to work on things that he desired. We need to slice time from the present so that we don’t regret in the future. That future planning is what we are missing in this race for wealth.

There is one more thing that you need to do now. That is meet {person 1} and make friends with him. Same with {person 2}, {person 3} or any other interesting person you need to be friends with. The top of the success pyramid is very boring. So will be the time when all life goals are reached. Many old men await death just because they have nothing to do and no people to do stuff with. Now is the time to figure out the interesting people you will need life long. Remember that you get this life only once. Now will never return.

Build memories as they will be the only ones that last. Build hobbies as they need time to grow. Make friends you will desperately need at all times good or bad. I leave you with a question very different from the one I started with. If you were to be forced onto the mission to colonize Mars, think about the one photo you would like to take with you. Mine would have my parents and my wife. I don’t spend enough time with the people that matter most to me. Do you?