Planning for the Future (part two)

We plan for the future because we anticipate being there, isn’t that so? That means we have a responsibility for taking care of our health. Twenty or thirty years ago, people did not have as much information, opportunity or support from others to be working on their own health care program as we do today. Now, nearly everyone feels that it is a duty, taking care of him or herself through exercise, proper diet, vitamins and more. If you want to live a long life and take charge of your life without taking charge of your own health, something is missing.

Looking for a mate
With a logical, proactive approach toward the rest of your life, if you are like most people, you begin looking for a life partner. Before that however, you might think about what qualities you are looking for and judge potential mates by how closely they match that model. As usual, when they do not match, but you want them anyway, I suppose people figure they can just fix them up afterward. Nevertheless, it is good to have some idea of what kind of person you are willing to live with for the whole rest of your life. A proactive approach to looking for a life partner is very much taking charge of your own life and anticipating new responsibilities.

A real vocation
Planning a real career is different from, but related to education preparation. How are you prepared for that career? Preparation through school training now only exists in your past, isn't that so? How are you going to squeeze your educational process to fit your career choice? Many go back to school, or perform extra activities to prepare for their career, or abandon that vocation possibility. In addition, one must also have the physical capability to fulfill the requirements of that profession. Working with many health care providers has made me aware of a very real issue; someone is educationally prepared, but their body is not strong enough to do the kind of work expected of them, so the career disappears because they physically cannot do it. Of course, if you wanted to be a blacksmith, you have to have certain capabilities, but even with an office job, if you cannot sit down for eight hours a day, you do not have the physical qualifications to do that work either.

Even with all the good preparations and capabilities, a successful career still requires motivation. This is where it could all fall apart, for example, if mother or father insisted that you become a dentist, but you do not want it, your poor motivation will cause you to burn out. The motivation to enjoy and succeed must be quite high, not just to initially obtain, but also to maintain an occupation.

Since career planning is so important to many people, we can hardly say too much here. Thousands of books are written annually to advise how to maintain a successful profession. One important element is to seek networking. All really successful people feel connected to the community that is doing a similar kind of work by sharing information, a sense of community, and feeling if what are doing is where they want to be in their career. Perhaps this was not as important in the past, but if you feel isolated, without peers or a mentor, it is difficult to recognize if you are going in the right direction.

Speaking of direction, we actually are going somewhere with this discussion related to spiritual success. At the minimum, I hope that you are thinking about the many steps you have taken so far that have placed you exactly where you are right now. It would also be good to remember how you chose the plans that created your present reality. Next, think of how many of those choices were you were free to make, and how many forced upon you. Was it okay that some were mandated, because you came around to their way of thinking and eventually decided that, for example, you did want to be a dentist after all?

Sometimes drawing strength from good motivation, combined with education and good choices, still does not mean working at a job that you can tolerate. A student of mine was working with a medical librarian, grading test papers for certification in aromatherapy. The librarian was having a hard time scoring. She thought one person did really well, but was struggling to give her a top score. My student said to her, "If you feel that she did really well, and you have nothing to score down, then give her a perfect score." She said, "I cannot, I used to be in human resources, and in that job there was a policy of not giving perfect scores. That is because you then have to pay them more money. I left human resources and got a masters degree in library sciences because of that hypocrisy." I see her dilemma, thinking you are going to serve people in human resources, and then you cannot but are still influenced by those rules.

The retirement plan?
Like that, to the best of your ability, you achieved some or all of your career goals by preparing carefully, staying alert, and remaining strongly motivated. Then, moving through daily existence, while you were still in your career time, you will enter a new phase of life planning, but now it is about retirement. 'Will I have enough money to retire? Will I have all the debts paid off?’, you might think. Perhaps you begin saving and have some ideas of how you would like to live after retiring.

For many people this is not just planning for the future, but a concern. Maybe it is a worry because things have not all gone exactly the way they wanted. Someone in college, from a fresh youthful viewpoint, would confidently say, "It will go a, b, c, d, e, f, g." However, with life experiences, some folks now try to make double the money needed for retirement because things usually do not turn out the way they were planned. It is better to overcompensate for errors, but how much overcompensation will be needed? You do not know. Therefore, it is not exactly in the category of planning for the future. It is more like worrying about retirement. To be continued…


  1. I tend to live in The Now: I don't actually SAVE for retirement. I am confident in Australia's pension system, and on my own ability to raise an on-going small income from lodgers. So I spend all I've got constantly. There may be no future. I put my money into worthwhile things like home improvements that I enjoy doing, including building myself a separate granny-flat (studio-apartment) in the back yard.
    Buddha said "A wise man builds his house on an unstable slope." ! WHY?
    Because... It reminds him of the transient nature of all things!" SO I did build a small house on an "unstable slope" - after watching several series of "Grand Designs", and studying Structural Engineering!


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