You know those movies or lecturers who tell you to "live every day as if it was your last" ?
It seems to me that living every day as if it was your last is a great way to have a couple of weeks of fun and then wake up to find yourself in debtor's prison for decades, trying to figure out how to hang yourself with your belt.
Of course these well meaning but fatalistically short-sighted folks do have a point at the heart of what they are saying -- one needs to live in the moment, take chances, and enjoy the wonder and delight of our daily existence.
But it's also critically important for living a full life that we also take the long view, plan for the future, and find the discipline to do the things that may not be fun today but will lead to happiness down the road.
So I present you now with the "Living for the Quantum Superposition of your Future Life" Theory (otherwise known as the "Probability Distribution Theory of Daily Living").
The concept is simple -- you could die tomorrow or live another hundred years. So you need to psychologically live for today, and also for every potential day between now and the end of your life, as best you can probabilistically estimate the probability distribution governing how likely you are to die on that future day.
Estimating such probabilities is exceedingly difficult, and that says nothing of discounting rates and quality of life differences related to physical aging.
So I would like to suggest a much simpler heuristic:
- Live half of your days as if they were the last day of your life.
- Live the other half of your days as if you were going to live for another 100 years.
- Adjust this 50/50 split as you get older.
You could even try splitting each day into 50/50 blocks -- but i suggest that a per-day mode would result in less schizophrenia. You might even alternate in week-long blocks instead of days.
One tip: if you have a family -- make sure your switching schedule is as synchronized as possible -- otherwise there could be some tension.