When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most about humanity, this was his answer.
Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.
This is a powerful quote. I see too many people that are so concerned about the future that they sacrifice any possibility of happiness in their everyday life in order to have it in the future. The problem is that this becomes a habit, and they find that they never stop sacrificing for a future that may or may not be there. Live life now. Planning for the future is extremely important, but don’t do it at the expense of living life right now. How you live life now is how you will live life in the future, so if you are not enjoying life now, what makes you think you will in the future?
God’s plan is the plan of happiness. He wants us to live full, happy lives. It isn’t the plan of delayed happiness. With His gospel, it is possible to be happy now, not just in the future. Sure, trials can cause temporary setbacks in our happiness, but overall we should be enjoying life. Don’t drive yourself into the ground day after day without taking time to enjoy something now and again. Spend time to develop a talent, just for the fun of it. Or spend time learning new things, doing something you’ve always wanted to do, or meeting new people. This is how you build a balanced future for yourself.
It is easy to see people pushing themselves past their limits in a university setting. Perhaps they want to finish school in three years instead of four, so they take the absolute maximum load of classes every semester for those three years. This does help them accomplish their goal, but at the expense of a multitude of experiences that university life has to offer. Work is not the only thing in life, and we need to find time for social, athletic, and just plain fun activities.
Balance is key to living a happy life. Develop that balance now, before you find yourself so deep in the rut of life that you can’t find that balance later on in life. Live life now.