Life is Unpredictable, Yet We Chase Security and Stability

To secure the future of his daughter and help his family, he decided to work overseas. It’s a sacrifice. He’s my old friend. I miss him.

A relative confessed that she envy the mid-twenties with stable jobs. She’s in her late twenties and a single mom. All she wanted is to have a stable job so she can earn sufficient money for her kids. I wholeheartedly understand.

When my father encouraged me to work abroad to earn more money, I didn’t know what to say. I know where he’s coming from. He was puzzled I didn’t follow his advice. Ugh. Something is wrong with me?

Here’s what we believe: More money means a secure and stable good life. Of course, who doesn’t want that?

Here’s what I think the problem: We’ve become incredibly obsessed about the idea of security and stability that we forget the truth:

Life is imperfect.

You might say, “Yes Jade. We know life is imperfect. That’s why we’re doing our best to find security and a stable source of income.” 

Let me explain.

Why We Chase Security and Stability?

There’s a reason for that.

  • We want our children experience convenient lives.
  • We want our families safe from terrorism or natural disasters or deadly illnesses.
  • We want financial freedom.
  • Or maybe we’re sick and tired of living in fear and poverty and anxiety and stress.

So maybe, the best thing to do is work hard and earn more money. That way, we can build a better future. More money. More.

More money means “prepared.”

We want to be prepared because we don’t know the future. We want a safety net when things go wrong.

I agree. I love preparing. At times, I can be a preparation-freak. But I want you to rethink for a second and ponder this:

Nobody knows what the future holds.

No matter how prepared we are, there’s always that possibility that something “not so good” will happen. That everything we’ve built will disappear. That everything we’ve worked for result to no fruitful purpose. Some things, we don’t have control over.

This isn’t being negative. This is reality.

I’ve met a lot of people full of regrets for spending half of their lives chasing security and stability, instead of living in the present and focusing on the things that matter most to them. Are they fulfilled? Not even close.

Let me clarify: Nothing’s wrong preparing for the future. My point is that too much preparation, at times, can rob the time we could have spent for the things that truly matter to us.

What are the things that matter to you right now? Focus on them. Pour your time and energy into them.

Spend 80 percent of your time and energy on the present — the things that truly matter to you right now. 15 percent preparing for the future — learning, developing good habits. 5 percent reminiscing the past mistakes to extract lessons from them.

Some days, if you can, spend all your time on the present (present only).

Life is uncertain. But the uncertainty isn’t the enemy. It actually makes life interesting.

PS: If you’re wondering how I prepare for unexpected bad things, I’m writing an article about it. I’ll put the link here when it’s published.


Jade Panugan

Some interesting questions about life and human behavior: What if there's no money? Why we often feel the urge to prove that we're right and others are wrong? Why we react to things beyond our control? Why we hate? Why it's hard to be content? I don't have all the answers, do you? Let's chat.