Yesterday my post was about preserving your knees so you can enjoy your body for the long term. Several people expressed the opposite philosophy, that you should enjoy life now, even if it means more health problems later. I hear that same philosophy when I get into discussions about proper diet. But it seems to me that unless you are already taking heroin, you aren't being true to your own philosophy. You should be enjoying a good high now, not worried about what happens later.

I rarely make an important decision without considering the 60-year implication. My cash flow projections for retirement end at age 110. That's why the house we're building has an elevator.

I've always been this way. When I was in second grade I was already planning for my life as it is now, spending hours each day drawing comics. I assumed that would be my job. My focus changed by high school, to becoming a lawyer, so I buckled down and got good grades, figuring I'd need them. Things change, but I always have a plan.

The downside of planning so far ahead is that you worry more, and you probably enjoy today less. The upside is that your golden years might be a bit shinier. I'm not saying my approach is the best, but I don't think it's fair to call the "live for today" approach any kind of philosophy unless you're also quitting your job, having unprotected sex with strangers, and snorting coke. Junkies have a philosophy. You have rationalizations.
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Apr 23, 2009
"Junkies have a philosophy. You have rationalizations."

You had me at junkies! This is why people love you.
Apr 23, 2009
Hi Scott,

interesting to read how your perfect life looks like. Having sex with strangers (you don't enjoy your marriage, your wife and your kids?) and using drugs (you don't enjoy life?) and not working (so you do not enjoy being a cartoonist). Is it really impossible enjoying life without escaping it? (i.e. using heroin?) What a sad life yours must be. (This is teasing, I am sure, you enjoy also your current life)

I do not do use drugs (and I do not speak about Heroin, I speak about tobacco and alcohol as well), the main reasons being:
a) I do not like them (I do not like the taste of alcohol, so moderate use is out of the question)
b) I think Life is beautiful and Earth is (still) beautiful. So why escape from that?

I do travel a lot though, and I did quit my job twice to do a year travelling twice. Unfortunately this costs money, so I have to have some money (as well for the electronic gadgets I like to buy:-), so I have to work. I try to find a job which is fun though, i.e. even though I am quite old, I am still a software developer and did reject every offer to go further up into management.

Of course I also think about the future. I do not want to live today happy and tomorrow in a homeless shelter. So I got a good education, not with the best grades though, since I did not live for my grades:-)

Anyway, I respect anyone's choices for a happy life. If he/she has to use drugs, fine with me. It should not impact others though (so a serial killer is not fine with me).

Apr 23, 2009
Everything in moderation, enjoy your life today, but plan for tomorrow.

That means contributing a little less towards retirement for a couple years to save up to take a trip where you've been dreaming.

This means you can eat that cookie that your coworker brought for you, but take the stairs 2 flights later instead of the elevator.

This means enjoying the occasional drink with friends, enjoying lots of protected sex, and finding a job that pays enough for you to live within your mean, but that you still enjoy and leaves you time to spend with your family.
Apr 23, 2009
what your life plan needs, Scott, is an override clause.

Your life plan may indeed make your "now" less happy than it could be, but if you simply toss caution to the wind once in a while, you will add a bit of spice to things.

Knowing you as we all do, through comics and this blog, it's hard to say for sure, but my inclination is that if you had an override clause, you wouldn't use it. Maybe the baby steps plan can help.

Instead of setting your orange juice 4 inches to the left of your keyboard, set it six inches away. Next time you go underwear shopping at K-Mart, get the colored version of tighty whities. When you notice it's ten minutes to Wapner, mix things up and let the tivo pick the episode up, and watch it at a different time.

But seriously, as Agent Cooper says:

"Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee."
Apr 23, 2009
Why not both? Living for the moment is what weekends are for.
Apr 23, 2009
To some degree, life is a crapshoot - you really never know how much time you have left. This would argue for the "live for today" extreme.

But, if you don't consider the future (i.e. consquences) you only guarantee that you will be more miserable in the likelyhood that you do survive another day.

We need balance, and to remember what is really important in life. Enjoy today, but also plan a bit and sometimes sacrifice for the future.

But - it is still a crapshoot. There are no guarantees.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
People are so irrational in their choices of what to do and what not to do: some people who have artificial legs train and run for marathon or other sports which use the legs the most.
Why the heck do they want to emphasize their disability?
Why don't they choose to use other perfect body parts for their carrer such as their brain, or hands, or eyes, or ears, etc.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
The message I got from the previous post, which included a rationalisation for soccer, is that taking on useful advice and important precautions doesn't mean immobilising oneself for fear of becoming immobilised. Living for today and planning for tomorrow obviously aren't entirely dichotomous lifestyle choices - just if you want to have fun tomorrow don't wreck yourself today. Or tomorrow for that matter.
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Apr 23, 2009
Scott, I think you're smoking something now. Go back and reread yesterday's comments. Mostly they are about current injuries, preventing injuries, advice for alternate exercise and advice for running. Where are all these people telling you to live life for today and ignore the future? Maybe I'm a little loopy 'cause I can't find them.

I suspect you're messing with us again and pulling the old politician trick of assigning a ridiculous point of view to imaginary opponents.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
The inability or unwillingness to consider the long-term consequences of one's actions or lack thereof has always fascinated me:

"You didn't feel like going to work last Tuesday and now you are surprised you got fired?"
"You fail to hold down a job because you can't be bothered to show up regularly and on time and are surprised your landlord is evicting you for nonpayment?"
"You have revolving boyfriends sleeping over every weekend and you are surprised your 13-year-old daughter made a few bad choices of her own and got pregnant?"
"You played Wii all weekend, wrote your paper on the bus on the way to school and are surprised you earned a "D"?"
"You failed to take school seriously and now you wonder why your career opportunities are so limited?"

Perhaps I sound a tad judgmental, but a new study came out recently linking the choices made by governments to the welfare of their societies. Here's a surprise: lazy, corrupt, indolent rulers produce poor results. Who knew?

Apr 23, 2009
I totally second your comments, Scott.

There is one thing we are missing with the "Live today" philosophy - we have to live later as well. And living with broken knees with 250lbs in your clothes - it drains the life out of you !

Put it this way, you still have to live thro' your 40s - 50s - 60s and if god forbids, 70s. Imagine living all those years with destroyed lungs, kidneys and liver !

Be kind to your knees !
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
Coaches definitely seem to go with the "live for today" motto - at least for their athletes' bodies. On the other hand, not allowing a player to mess up the win record on the advice of some idiot doctor does evidence an ability to think long term. The coach's career in ten years vs. the 11-year-old's physical handicap in forty: It's all about choices.
Apr 23, 2009
Excellent post. Thanks!
Apr 23, 2009
What's the point of dying with perfect knees?

Coming up with that utility function is tough, though, everything looks different from the spending side than it does from the having-spent side. How to weigh the concerns of now-me with those of future-me?

Apr 23, 2009
Scott claims to, but really, as far as I can tell, we're the ONLY guys who are seriously thinking ahead 60 years.

Sooner or later, if humanity survives long enough, someone will create human-level artificial intelligence. After that, the future will depend on exactly what kind of AI was created, with what exact long-term goals. The Singularity Institute's aim is to ensure that the first artificial intelligences powerful enough to matter will steer the future in good directions and not bad ones. Put more technically, the Singularity Institute exists to promote the development of a precise and rigorous mathematical theory of goal systems -- a theory well enough founded that we can make something smarter and more powerful than we are while still knowing it will create good outcomes. This requires extending current theoretical computer science to include rigorous models of reflexivity, and extending current cognitive science to include rigorous models of what outcomes humans consider "good".
Apr 23, 2009
I commented that I have diabetes, and then I said that I don't yet... in my family, we treat insulin resistance the same as diabetes because they require almost identical treatments, so i don't usually distinguish between the 2. I apologize for any confusion. i also promise not to write my comments in work and copy them in anymore. It made a mess of my !$%*!$%*!$%*
Apr 23, 2009
I’ve heard the argument ‘living for the moment’ from people, and I understand that for the most part unless it comes to where it will damage your health later. I have a friend who developed diabetes. He refused to stay within the guidelines of the diet stating that it was pointless to live unless he could enjoy his life, and he LOVES food. My response back was that it wasn’t a ‘live or die’ scenario. He could disobey his doctor and live a long life… with kidney failure, amputated limbs, blindness and other such serious issues. For me, it’s worth missing out on some things I enjoy now when I know that what I’m doing may go a long way toward my being able to enjoy other things longer.

I have diabetes – it’s a genetic thing in my family and not caused by weight. Our bodies just don’t know what to do with insulin, so our pancreas work like crazy until they wear out between the ages of 30-35. I’m 37 and have not turned the corner from insulin resistant to diabetic yet because I pay attention to my diet and exercise program, and this will benefit me later. I miss certain foods that I love, but I’d rather know that I’m doing what I can to make my twilight years enjoyable.

I'm a Christian, and yes the Bible states we are not to worry about tomorrow, but it also states that our bodies are His temple, and we are to treat it as such.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 23, 2009
Planning ahead will prevent us from being walmart greeters.

About Jesus saying "take no thought for the morrow" - he was talking to the disciples about abandoning their careers and becoming full time ministers, telling them that the Lord would provide.

In my opinion, the way the Lord provides for full time ministers is through the contributions of others who have different specialties. So - I need to plan for tomorrow by working today, AND I need to plan well enough that my charitable contributions don't have to stop when I retire.
Apr 23, 2009
The teaching of Jesus is not to worry about tomorrow: "The evil of the day is sufficient thereof."

With a short-term philosophy like that, he never would have amounted to anything if he hadn't come from a good family with the right connections.
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