When I was 25, a good friend of mine died of cancer. He was in his twenties. At that time I was in a steady relationship, had a permanent job contract, and a fixed-rate mortgage. His death rocked the idea of what I thought was a ‘stable life’ to its foundations.
After my friend’s death, I broke off my 8-year relationship, quit my job and moved from the Netherlands to Spain to work in a bar.
Life has to slap you in the face sometimes to make you realize that anything can happen, at any time, to remind you that you shouldn’t take life for granted. Rather, you should make the most out of every second of it. It is a cliché, but we tend to forget this while chasing stable careers, steady relationships, and an overall stable life.
Without any stability, life would be chaos. But a desire to have everything under control and a constant fear of losing that stability can also paralyze us and keep us from doing what we really want to do.
If you have the feeling you are stuck in your career or relationship, it might help if you stop counting on having absolute control of everything to be happy.
It can also help to question your idea of ‘stability.’
A simple definition of stability:
- the quality or state of something that is not easily changed or likely to change
- the quality or state of something that is not easily moved
- the quality or state of someone who is emotionally or mentally healthy
But what does this definition mean for you? Does it mean you need to have a relationship? And if so, for how long? And do you have to live together? Do you need to receive a paycheck every month? And if so, how much do you need to earn? Do you have to know where you will be in one year to say you have a stable life?
Your idea of a stable life may be based off the experiences and choices of the people around you.
When I was 25, I thought I had the answers. A “stable life” included a career, a man, a house, children and maybe a dog. Now I am 35, I have had 2 long-term relationships and flushed these answers down the drain. To be honest: I don’t have a clue.
Instead, I choose to stay on stable ground by believing in my capacity to deal with the instability of life. That’s where you find the happiness.