The reading of Jack Kerouac´s novel On the Road reminds us of one of the most common phrases: ‘live the here and now,’ which is certainly a great motto to describe the typical teenage mindset. We can assure that all of us have reflected upon the pros and cans of following his statement at some point in our lives.
In the first place, in case some individual defined their lifestyle according to the ‘here and now,’ it seems quite obvious that it would be much easier to enjoy and avoid the routine, adding to this the spontaneous behaviors and self-development which this experience would bring to that person.
Nevertheless, it must be said that to live ignoring the existence of some ‘tomorrow’ might break into pieces our possibilities to find a job, which is required to afford a house and sustain ourselves and our families in the future.
Considering each of these facts, we can end with a conclusion: acting as if there´s no tomorrow should be taken seriously, otherwise we will suffer the consequencies sooner or later.
People can live for a hundred years without really living for a minute, wanting to live as if there was no tomorrow. Carpe Diem. They are all different ways of expressing the “here and now” lifestyle. But what are the pros and cons of living this kind of lifestyle?
By living the “here and now”, by forgetting that there’s a tomorrow, life is more enjoyable, because it prevents you from being a prisoner of the past, no errors can be made, there are no limits at all, there is nothing you can’t do. The positivity that soaks it all comes from the certainty that by focusing on the present you can live better, which leads to a positive approach to life. Besides, by taking risks and erasing all concerns, mental health is improved, because it means leaving behind sadness and insecurity. Furthermore, this lifestyle implies a seek for renovation and freedom, wanting to be 100% yourself, to improve; it encourages you to be better.
On the other hand, by forgetting that there is a tomorrow, that what you do today might have an impact on what you’ll do tomorrow, you lose sight of the future. All actions have consequences, and being reckless can be damaging. What’s more, when living on the edge you can hurt yourself, or even hurt someone else. By focusing only on living like there’s no tomorrow, the existence of other people can be forgotten, and therefore their health or security aren’t taken into account. Besides, it is necessary to look at the past, because it’s a way of learning, of not repeating the same mistakes you once made.
We can conclude by saying that living the “here and now” allows you to enjoy life, breaking the chains that restrain your freedom, and it also leads to a healthier mind. But all acts have consequences, and lessons can be learned from the past. It is paramount to take into account other people’s lives so they aren’t hurt. Let us find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live, as Criss Jami said.
¨Carpe Diem¨ is a very common expression that many people have heard at least once in their life. Translated from Latin, the sentence would mean something similar to ¨seize the moment¨. This idea of worrying just about the ¨here and now¨ has had a lot of influence in different movements, such as the ¨Beat Generation¨ of the mid 50s in America. As any other idea, this philosophy presents pros and cons, which should be analyzed in order to determine the benefits and disadvantages that this type of lifestyle may present.
For a start, living the current moment without worrying about the future is at first sight something easier than trying to live a life which follows an established course, eliminating the typical concerns which people are usually exposed to. In addition to this, the fact of not being attached to making decisions which could compromise your future allows people to expand their freedom and self-determination, which are greatly valued concepts in today´s society.
However, this kind of philosophy is clearly not designed for everyone, mainly because it is not essay to abandon the stereotypes of a perfect life which we have been listening to since our childhood. Studying, growing up, getting married, and having kids could seem as not vital or of great importance, but many of the people which have spent their entire lives enjoying the present day discover in the end that those are vital elements that can bring us more happiness than all of the superficial joy obtained through applying the ¨carpe diem¨ idea.
In conclusion, dedicating your life to living the present moment is something not many people can do, despite the fact that it could seem like the easiest option. However, it looks like all the satisfaction obtained through this kind of lifestyle is not enough to leave the traditional values aside and replace them for what fans of the ¨Beat generation¨ would consider a life worth living.