“Success in your 20's is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast.” –Paul Angone
I found this quote on Beliefnet.com, and seeing as I am in my 20's, it's very relevant to my life right now. Granted, I think I've always lived my life with this type of attitude. In middle school and high school, when other students would talk about going to parties or getting drunk or doing drugs, I remember thinking, "Why are they wasting their time on 'fun' now when the fun in the future will be so much better?" I thought of it like this: I can either go to my friend's house and drink the liquor stolen from her parents' cabinet with a bunch of people I don't like, or I can focus on my studies right now, and when I'm rich and successful, I'll do fun things like ride on yachts and go shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York City" (I had big dreams, okay?). The latter sounded a lot better to me.
I still live by a similar ethic, though I've loosened up a bit (yes, I actually drink now). I go out to dinner with friends and treat myself to some new clothes every once in a while, but I don't let myself go crazy. I know that it's important to work hard and save money (i.e. "setting the table") so that I can reap the benefits in the future ("enjoying the feast"). I've always felt that self-deprivation is a better way to live than hedonism; I prefer to compare happiness and success to a fishery with sustainable yield issues. And "success" is more than just money. I'm establishing and fostering friendships now that I hope will last well into the future; I'm taking care of my body now so that I'm still healthy when I'm 80. I know that my generation is known for feeling entitled and wanting instant gratification, but if my peers listened to Paul Angone (and me, of course), I think they would see that there is more to life than "me, me, me" and "now, now, now."