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 envies 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’s wrong with me?
Here’s what we believe: More money means a secure and stable good life.
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 to 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 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 do love preparing. But I want you to rethink for a second and ponder this:
Nobody knows what the future holds.
No matter how prepared we are, it’s still possible that something “not so good” will happen in the future. That everything we’ve built will disappear. That everything we’ve worked for results in 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? I don’t know.
Let me clarify: Nothing’s wrong with preparing for the future. My point is that too much preparation, at times, can rob the time we could have spent on the things that truly matter to us.
What are the things that matter to you right now? Focus on them.
Here’s what I’m trying to practice:
- 80 percent of my time and energy on the present — the things that truly matter to me right now.
- 15 percent preparing for the future — learning, developing good habits, building something.
- 5 percent reminiscing the past mistakes to extract lessons from them.
Some days, if I can, I try to spend all my attention on the present (present only).
It doesn’t always happen that way though. Balance is tough. But that’s ok. Because life is always uncertain.
And this uncertainty actually makes life more interesting.