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No one is coming to save us

No one is coming to save you.

Nathaniel Branden, Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Don’t get me wrong — I didn’t sit around waiting for someone to save me.

But when I was ten, I thought a person goes from grade school to high school to university to first job to getting married to having children to finally aging and dying happily… all through the mere passage of time.

I took it as a given that we progress through life’s stages as a matter of course. And I realized, maybe this meant I subconsciously expected someone was coming to save me?

As anyone who has reached even their 20’s can attest, these things do not just happen. When I was going through them, each step felt like the most important, most difficult challenge in my life. Advancing to the next stage was by no means guaranteed.

Driving along the streets of Rizal Avenue where I live in the Philippines, this was made clear to me. Every day, I drive by old, homeless people begging for food.

You imagine living an idyllic life in your 70’s and beyond? You are playing with your grandchildren in a cozy home you own? Reflecting proudly of what you have accomplished?

Growing up where everyone lives happily ever after, it doesn’t even occur to me to imagine any other ending.

Seeing these people, it hits me hard: Retiring comfortably in old age does not happen through the mere passage of time.

People have to make it happen. These people couldn’t. And nobody came to save them.

No one is coming to save us.