Happy Now or Happy Later (aka this might have an actual term but I don’t know it)


When I was breaking the news of my decision to leave uni in a frenzy of rage and tears this past summer, (there will be a lot more about this drop-out stuff in coming blog posts. It’s the highlight of my life currently. Stay patient), there was something someone said to me that ricocheted in my head for a while making me doubt my decision. It was the only time. He said, “Are you really going to be distracted by temporary happiness?”

The dilemma of whether it’s better to sacrifice current happiness to find something greater later or whether we should choose our happiness for now, is a discussion I have come across more often than I’d realized. I think it might even be something certain religious foundations are built on. It’s an issue that the older generation will throw at you. The idea what one has to suffer for sometime to find success and happiness is passed around a lot. Our parents would be telling us stories of overcoming where they had to labor through difficult times to get to where they are. If you look closely, they’re not happy now either but they look grateful and that’ll tell you that there’s a point to it. It’s stable. It’s a very valid guilt card to make their children work hard.

You could make the argument that working hard is a good thing. I would agree with you but I’d also point out that I would rather work on something I enjoy.

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yofi, a vibrant young man who gave me the idea that work shouldn’t really be something we hate doing. Meaning, if it’s something we love, it’s not work (contort face like you’ve just eaten something vile) but work (this time smile like you’re seeing the sun for the first time) He teaches that happiness isn’t something we reach after we’ve done a series of unpleasant things but that happiness is in the experiences. Last I checked on him, he was on a journey to make the principal of work and learning something everyone enjoys doing. (I’ll probably write about this in the fullest sometime)

On the flip side, there’s this thing where complete freewill tends to pave way for ass people and people who get this mega confidence as they slowly make a series of bad decisions under the slogan, “My life. My rules.” The thing is, No not your life your rules because life tends to be this interconnected mess where the things you do affects other people almost all the time, for better or worse. And your failure is bound to have you fall on someone else making you something like….a parasite for lack of a better word. No one wants to be a parasite. It’s embarrassing.

I guess there’s a reason the happiness now or  happiness later thing (I don’t if there’s an actual term for it.) is an actual dilemma that people debate about. Do we refrain from taking actions to make ourselves feel at ease in the moment, suffer a little now to find happiness later or do we just make those rash decisions to be happy now?

The way I caught that ricocheting thought caused by that person to swing it over my head and throw it away is by reminding myself that eternal happiness is not a thing that I will reach at sometime and the idea of infinite dimensions that split every time you make decisions has been on my mind since I watched certain movies that shall remain unnamed because I don’t want to make anyone smug. Making a decision today isn’t bound to make you fail or succeed as foretold by that adult that pays your bills. It’s going to make way for more and more decisions for you to make and I remember a John Green video where he talks about how every time you make decisions your options start to narrow. Well for me, I decided not to become a Chemical Engineer and that just opened up my field. My path right now looks like the bole ring road at night. It’s dark so there’s no one there but it looks so free and open that it could go anywhere.  So maybe John Green wasn’t quite right. Maybe it’s just subjective.

P.S  Don’t ever listen to my advice. Except this one where I say don’t listen to me. This one is good for you.