The future is no place to place your better days.” So, I’ve never really been a HUGE Dave Matthews fan, but I can’t deny the band’s immeasurable talent and every once in awhile I enjoy a handful of their songs. This lyric comes from a song of theirs called “Cry Freedom.” This lyric stuck out to me because I think many people, myself included, have a habit of placing their better days in the distant future rather than the near. Yet, at times it can be difficult to find a happy medium between living in the present, and basing your life too much on the future. However, I think I may be coming closer to a solution…

Planning Out your Present

This past weekend a friend of mine was explaining to me how he plans out his life (shout out to Jess & Jon ;0), which has included some awesome world travel such as volunteering at an orphanage in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and teaching kindergarten in Beijing, China. “Two Year Blocks,” he stated. This is how he plans out his present.

Is there any better way to travel the world than to do it while filling your time with something you are passionate about? You may have noticed that his main set of activities while living abroad have been focused on working with children. Not bad for a guy that wants his career to revolve around this and who plans on continuing his higher education in this field.

I think it is important to keep in mind that you can travel the world, pick up and leave to whatever destination your heart desires, and take bigger risks without having to give up or put on hold your career, interests, or education. There are opportunities worldwide to enrich these things, possibly more than you could have done from your home-base. You may have to put in a little extra elbow grease, but doesn’t every worthwhile thing in life require that?

Yea, it takes some guts as well as the ability to allow a bit more uncertainty into your life than what the norm is in society, but in the end, when you’re where you want to be, doing what you want to be doing, and truly becoming a better, cooler, and sexier person…well, it is 100% worth it.

Two Year Blocks

I think this is a great way to guide how well you are able to live in the present. Going day by day or month by month can at times leave too many opportunities for laziness… using spontaneity as an excuse for never actually getting anything done long-term. On the other hand, while it is good to have an idea to a certain extent, planning your life out to a T by the decade may make you feel bogged down by commitments, making it almost impossible for any spontaneity.

Everything in moderation. There is a happy medium here. A lot can be accomplished in two years. You can learn a new language, travel around the entire world or immerse yourself fully in another culture, learn the ropes of the business you started in the beginning of the 2 year block, get a degree, take a relationship from casual to serious…the list goes on and on.

With a concentrated focus on what you wish to accomplish throughout that two year block you can achieve much more than the general focus you’d have in a 10 year block or the lack of focus you’d have in a 1 month block. Having a 2 year block allows you to gage on a time-scale where you are in terms of your goals and gives you a general deadline and therefore a bit of pressure to make it happen. Not to mention it also gives you the freedom to make changes, take things as they come, and enjoy the general process by being able to see the bigger picture at the end of the block.

So, what about you?

Lately I’ve been trying to get a hold on what direction I want to take my life in. Do I want to continue to travel the world or should I settle down back in the US? Is there a way I can do something in the middle of the two? Where do I want my relationship to go? Should I go back to school to get an MBA? Should I save more money or spend more money? These life questions are endless.

The ever-changing answers to these life questions shouldn’t be based on what I feel like doing this very day or month, yet also shouldn’t solely be based on where I see myself in 10 years, for this is a long time…and you never know what can happen or change in that time. The trick is to find something in between the two.

And so below are a few questions I’ve been asking myself in regards to my 2 year block. Whether you think you have your entire life figured out, or if you have no idea what is going on, I invite you to ponder their answers with me.

1.) Career: If you could be doing anything in your career right now what would it be? If you can’t do that because of certain circumstances, what other resources or opportunities are there out there to continue on this pursuit with momentum?

2.) Health & Fitness: Where do you see yourself physically in the next 2 years? Answers like thinner, stronger, or losing 10 pounds aren’t enough! Rather, HOW will you get there?

For example, at the time of writing I can barely do one pull-up and am out of shape when it comes to running for longer than 10 minutes. My goal – I’m going to run the Philadelphia marathon in November… a goal that will take a lot of sweat and boy watching at the gym to achieve, but with enough focus I can do it. Sometimes the goals that seem impossible are the ones that push you enough to actually do it.

3.) Friendships: The term “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold” sticks well with me. How will you make an effort in keeping in touch and staying close with those that have made you who you are today? What trips, big and small, will you plan to visit these friends? It’s easy to say it could never happen, but I haven’t seen some of my best friends in over a year…I didn’t think I’d ever let that happen. This is something I personally want to change.

4.)Family: How can you be a better brother, sister, mom, dad, cousin, aunt, daughter, son, etc over the next two years? Is there something in particular you can do, a family reunion you can finally make it out to, or a family drama you can let go of?

5.) Self: What do you need to do personally to make you more proud to be You. What is it that you want to say you’ve done in your life. What is missing in your life that you know has been missing for some time but you’ve been too scared, stressed, uninspired to actually go for it? You have a two year block to move forward on this. What can you do?

There you Have It

And so there you have it, my friends. I hope that your next 2 year block and the many that follow carry on with satisfying answers to the 5 questions listed above. The answers will change and the questions will too, but at least you’ll be ready to ask them and ready to answer them. Remember, the future is no place to place your present. Now go out and enjoy life.

How Are You Designing Your Next 2 Year Block?

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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