Words to live by

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Always.

Unpopular Opinion: On being childless

“Are you planning to have kids in the future?”

“Yes. Why?” he asked.

“I’m not.”

“Alright.”

“Are you okay with not having kids?”

“If you don’t want to, I’m fine with it.”

This might not be a popular opinion, but I do not picture myself having kids. Well, I used to, but after some thought, I decided that I won’t have any if I can help it.

I like how comfortable my life has become.

This sounds selfish, but I do not want to add any more pressure to my relationships and finances by reproducing.

I saw how my parents struggled to provide and care for me and my brothers because they married young and unprepared. They raised us well despite the circumstances, but I’m not confident that I can replicate what they did for us.

If I could, I’d like to spend the rest of my life making sure my parents live a good life.

I want them not to worry about retiring because they have a home and passive income.

I want them to go on vacations and do the things they weren’t able to do since their youth slipped through their hands while they were busy with work and child-rearing.

I want them to spend their life together going on dates and trying out new food, just like what they’re doing now.

I want to keep the status quo for as long as I can, even if that means working harder to sustain it.

My partner is very understanding about this because he knows how important my parents are to me, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

I can’t find the words to express how lucky I am to find this man who loves me enough to accept this unpopular opinion of mine.

I couldn’t care less about what others say because I only need him to understand that —

my womb does not define me as a person; and

child-bearing does not guarantee the discovery of life’s purpose.

The Power of Why

You always tell me you don’t need a reason to love someone, but your ready answer never satisfied my curiosity.

So while we were walking home after hours of running errands, I asked why you liked me in the first place. You thought hard about it — the question caught you off-guard.

It’s not like I’m the prettiest woman you’ve ever met. I have a temper, and I shut people out when I’m upset. I can be very rude when I’ve had enough and I tend to be oblivious to people around me.

You told me you liked me because I understood you. I was expecting a list of why I was perfect for you, but you simply answered that I understood you. What you said stayed with me until we got home. After some thought, it dawned on me why it mattered more than anything.

Being understood sounds basic, but most couples break up because they already reached a point where no one tries seeing things from the other person’s perspective anymore. Once they stopped understanding, the relationship starts falling apart. Hearts get broken, people are scarred and fond memories turn into regrets. The end is tragic, simply because they could no longer understand.

You liked me because I saw where you were coming from and still accepted you as you were.

You could have told me I was perfect — you gave the perfect answer to my question instead.

Now, I get it.

Money matters

I’ve been working since I was 18, and though I still have a long way to go, I know I’ve already come far.

2018 marks my 10th year as a career woman, and here are 10 things I learned about money and career:

  1. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay for your basic needs and (expensive) wants, and leave more room to pursue higher-level needs (on Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”).
  2. Money is not the root of evil — it’s human greed. But don’t fret, karma does not forget. People who lie and cheat for money will ultimately pay the price.
  3. Oblivion is expensive. You lose more money by not knowing or caring about your finances and spending habits.
  4. Old habits die hard. Being a one-day millionaire and having an “easy come, easy go” mindset can be overcome by tracking and reflecting on your income streams and expenses.
  5. Learn to say “no”. Family and friends have the tendency to depend on another family member who is more financially secure. Do not make commitments at the expense of your budget and/or savings.
  6. Think long-term. If you expect to die from old age, make the necessary preparations as early as possible. Make sure you get to live a long life by securing your future needs, either by saving up or investing.
  7. Work smart. It’s a given to work hard in any field but it’s a plus on your end if you work smart. It pays to know the ins and outs of the business you’re in in order to maximize your earning potential.
  8. Build relationships. Life is unpredictable and no one knows where anyone might end up. As user-friendly as this may sound, the contacts you make at work can sometimes make or break a promotion. At the very least, having a good working relationship with your colleagues and superiors leads to a better working environment.
  9. Maintain positive attitude towards work. Hard work pays off, but it takes a lot of motivation to keep working hard. Burnout is common, so take a breather every now and then (or as often as you need to recuperate). Remind yourself of your goals whenever you feel burdened by work.
  10. Stay healthy. Take care of your health, physically and mentally.

Cheers!

Just another Saturday

My day starts with a message.

“I miss you. Can’t wait to go home.”

He’ll be home in 2 hours.

I get up, wash my face, and make myself a cup of hot cocoa.

I sit on the bed while browsing my social media news feed for a good 30 minutes or until I’m fully awake.

Afterwards, I go back to the kitchen to prepare our breakfast. By the time I finish, he has already arrived.

I greet him and hug him tightly. I tell him how much I missed him and how lonely it is to wake up alone. He’ll smile and hug me some more. I ask how his shift went and listen to his rants and whatnots while placing plates, utensils and food on the table.

We eat breakfast while exchanging stories about how our nights went. We clean up and lay in bed, doing our own things. He plays games, and I watch KDramas or KVariety shows.

Sometimes, we’ll disturb each other by showing memes because who doesn’t love memes? Other times, we’ll talk about random topics — mostly philosophical, some political/historical, others nonsensical.

We get tired eventually, stop what we’re doing, and just cuddle until we fall asleep.

Hours later, we wake up and cuddle while telling how much we missed each other.

He’ll get up, make me a cup of strong coffee and prepare our dinner.

We eat dinner and clean up afterwards. I prepare for work while he rests and waits for me. Once done, I kiss him goodnight and leave for work.

I text him once I’m in the office, and he’ll stay up with me. He’ll wait for my break times so we can talk.

I go home after my shift is over, and he greets me at the door. We eat breakfast and talk about how our nights went. We clean up, lay in bed and do our thing until we fall asleep.

The things we do are not extraordinary — in fact, we lead a very mundane life. Yet I won’t have it any other way.

I like how stable and quiet our life is. I like how unwavering my partner’s devotion is. I like how secure I am in this relationship. I like how free I am to be and do what I want. I like how I do not have compromise who I am to be with my partner. I am me, and he is him.

The things we do are very ordinary, yet I won’t have it any other way.

An eye for an eye

I have a weird habit of looking people in the eye.

They say eyes are the windows to our souls, and even though I’m skeptical about the concept of soul, I believe that eyes tell a lot about people.

The sad thing about this habit is that you tend to see a lot of adults with “dead” eyes. Those which makes you feel like you’re staring into nothing. Those which makes you feel like the person you’re looking at already lost his/her passion in life.

It’s a heartbreaking realization that we grow up with sparkle in our eyes, full of dreams and hope as we go out into the world — only to realize that life isn’t what we have always imagined. And the most painful part is that we tend to resign ourselves to the fact that this is how things are. We forget who we are in the process of building the lives of people around us. Ultimately, life is reduced to surviving day by day and being anxious about the future.

How do your eyes look today?

Happy Father’s Day

My father has never been the outspoken type. He listens most of the time and speaks up only when necessary.

He had a hard life, so he dedicated his life to making sure we get quality education since he had no wealth of his own. Armed with hand tools (and eventually, power tools), he built one house after another and even took side jobs after work and on rest days until my brothers and I left the nest. Nevertheless, he kept working to provide for my mother (and cousin who was left in our care).

He reached first year college but due to financial constraints, he had to quit and make a living for his family. Despite being a high school graduate, he’s very good at managing his crew and projects. He’s wiser than most educated people I know.

Whenever I face a crisis, I always ask for my parents’ advice, specifically my father’s. He warns me about human tendencies and tells me how to deal with unreasonable people. And no matter how bad the situation is, I can trust him to hear me out first before judging my actions. He’ll call me out if I did someone wrong, but he’ll always be on my side. He gives sound advice and never runs out of second chances.

I kept wondering how I made it through my turbulent teenage years and complicated adult life.

Looking at our family photo, I finally understood.

Quarter-life existential crisis

I’ve been thinking about life and death more often than usual for a while now, and I always ask myself why I keep living when I know that life ends.

That no matter how we delude ourselves into thinking otherwise, we are all a(n) sickness/accident/attack away from death.

That no matter where or who we are, death does not discriminate.

That from the very first time life existed in us, our fate has been decided.

Death, just like change, is permanent.

So I always ask myself: why the heck would I choose to live when I’ll just die someday anyway?

If you think about it, struggling everyday is meaningless when death awaits you at the end.

But then, I thought about my parents, my partner, my friends, and the people I have interacted with.

I thought about teaching, reading poetry and novels, watching KDramas and anime, singing KPOP, writing, and all the things I love to do.

I thought about how I feel whenever I see sunrises and sunsets, or whenever I walk/run in the rain, or whenever I see art in places and nature.

I can think of thousands of things I hate about this world, but I can list down a million reasons why I should keep living.

Why the heck would I choose to live when I’ll just die someday anyway?

I couldn’t find the answer in death, but I certainly found my reason in life.

Total Recall

You remind me of my teenage years,

back when I was immature and insecure;
back when I believed “you and I, against the world”;

back when I thought distance didn’t matter at all;
back when I thought love was enough to make things work.

You remind me of my teenage years,
back when I was still naive,
back when I was yet to be deceived.

To the vulnerable youth

You are young.

You can’t wait to go out into the world.

But..
you feel trapped in your home-school routine;
you feel deprived of access to your possessions;
you feel denied of freedom to do what you want.

And you..
you just want to be free
to wander where your heart desires;
to tread paths you’ve never been before;
to finally do what you think is best for you.

So you snapped.

You thought giving in to your inner demons will make this easier.

You thought giving up is the only way out.

But let me ask you this:

Have you ever thought how it feels like to raise someone else’s child?

To bear the responsibility that wasn’t yours in the first place?

If you were in their shoes, would you take in another child despite having three of your own?

Would you do the same sacrifices they did so that child wouldn’t make the same mistakes her parents did?

Have you even thought about how they must have felt seeing you like this?

You think that you had the worst luck of being borne into the wrong people, at a wrong time.

You think that you do not deserve how you are treated because you’ve always done your best.

You think the world is unfair because people your age live their best lives, yet here you are, stuck.

You did not choose to be where you are.

But they did.

They chose to care for you, so they did everything in their power to provide you a home, access to education, and means to set your moral compass.

They’re not perfect, and so are you. They’ve never raised someone else’s child aside from you, hence they’re bound to make mistakes from time to time.

You might be too young to understand how they feel, but you’re old enough to acknowledge what they’ve done.

Had they turn down the request to take you in, how do you think your life would have turned out?

It’s okay to feel hurt by words people say when they are upset.

But know that it’s not enough reason to throw away years of their sacrifice over an argument.

You’ve come this far.

Do not give in.

And do not ever give up.

Evening thoughts

I’ve been feeling it for a while now.

I want to quit.

Not because of the nature of my job — which is very tough and stressful, mind you —

Not because of the people I work with — they’re actually one of the reasons I’m still here —

Definitely not because of monetary reasons — I am paid more than enough, thank you —

But because I want to focus on what I do best —

teaching.

I can acquire many different skills, yet nothing makes me happier than speaking to people who look forward to learn something from me.

However, as much as I’d like to quit right away..

I can’t.

I need the financial stability that my current job provides, at least for another year. I still have a year to pay off the loan we used to purchase another property last year.

(A realization just dawned on me: I spent my 20s investing in real estate. 😳 Time flies by quickly. sigh)

I do get project-based teaching job offers, but I need a long-term prospect.

Once I quit my job to focus on teaching, there’s no turning back.

I’m currently working on a side project, and I’m really hoping that this becomes a success so I can teach again.

아자 파이팅!~

Dear Old Love

One university.

Two people from the same circle.

Three years spent together.

You saw it coming months before I decided to finally say it.

It took me months before I realized I shouldn’t have done it.

You walked with me through it all, yet I still walked away from you.

There were countless times when I really wished I could ask you what to do.

You were my guiding hand, my compass, my North star. You always knew what to do.

Without you, I was lost in my new job, in a new city, with new people.

I was lost in my new life.

Two years ago, I let go of the man who loved me more than I loved myself.

The months that followed were the toughest and loneliest time I ever had.

I learned to be more wary of who I trust because I saw how easy it is for people to put a front and make up stories about themselves in a city where people come and go as they please.

I learned, in the most painful way, that people like you are hard to come by.

And I realized how stupid I was to break you.

I wish I could turn back the time and take back everything I said.

I wish I could undo the damage and spare you from the pain.

I wish I was braver then to be your strength.

I wish I had more courage to stay than run away.

A year ago, I met a man who gave everything he had to fix my brokenness.

I found another soul like yours.

He held my hand when I was at my weakest. He helped me get my life together. He believed in me and stayed with me, even when I was being difficult.

I found a man who loves me more than I could ever imagine.

The day I left became a reminder of how easy it is to break someone’s heart, and how karma catches up to you to give you a dose of your own medicine.

A year later, I came to understand what I should have done two years ago when I left you.

Love hard, especially if you’re with someone who breaks his/her own heart to be with you.

Cherish the person who stays with you despite your misdeeds and shortcomings.

Hold on to what you have, tighter than ever, and believe in each other so you don’t end up losing him/her.

Love hard, because love is the only thing that makes sense of it all.

Now playing:

https://youtu.be/M8GUlNNXBVg

https://youtu.be/F4oenLX1WcA

Morning thoughts

I’ve got quite a temper.

This is the reason I prefer not to talk during arguments because I tend to lash out at people, especially when provoked.

I would rather shut people out (or cut ties with them in extreme cases) than confront them because confrontation consumes too much energy but doesn’t always solve the problem. (Well, neither does falling silent. The only difference is I don’t have to exert any effort lol.)

And so you can just imagine how my partner and I fight.

We’d argue for a few minutes – raised voices, though never actually shouted at each other – then stop. After a couple more minutes, we’d either continue through chat or I force myself to sleep. I’d realize where I lost logic, and apologize for being unreasonable..

..and all is well.

In my native tongue, “maswerteng bata.”

Of thoughts and conversations

I have a weird habit of plugging in my earphones just to keep people out of my personal space.

You see, as much as I crave attention, I prefer being left on my own most of the time because it allows me to sort out emotions and untangle the train of thoughts I have during my waking hours.

So much to ponder on, yet so little time.

Today, I plugged in my earphones.

I ate lunch by myself because my partner was on a holiday, and I didn’t want to bother my teammates to go with me.

And so I sat there, pretending to watch a video, while listening to what everyone talks about during their much-awaited lunch break.

Guess what I found out?

Everyone was talking about other people.

Family.
Teammates.
Bosses.
Enemies.
Old flames.
Even acquaintances.

They talked about what they did, what happened to people they knew and the chat went on.

And this got me thinking — not in a condescending way, but curiously —

Is this what happens when people grow older?

Do we not find joy in talking about ideas anymore?

About theories that challenge our beliefs?

About topics that piqued our interests when we were children?

Do we all end up losing the joy of wonder once bills keep coming in?

What changed?

Of universal topics and blog reach

I really find it amusing how far this blog has reached.

I even wonder why people read my posts in the first place.

The things I write about are very random, but I guess they’re universal.

..

To the avid readers of my blog,

I’m glad to know you can relate to my literary pieces.

Thank you for the support — I’ll definitely do my best to write as much as I can.

In Michael Faudet’s words, “I write because you exist.”

Love,

S