I have a confession.
I am an addict.
And my choice of poison comes in monthly, in large sum, and with just enough possibilities to last me until my next hit.
This opium’s value is strangely imperceptible and mysteriously subjective. Highly personal. Illogically indifferent to your state. What may be a small amount for the tuxedo man can be exhilaratingly filling for the tattered.
But one thing is for sure, there can never be enough.
Want a little more, and you’ll want a lot more.
Even the voracious appetite for this narcotic seems to be cultural. Damn this crazy society. We even revere those who are most addicted, and feed our children dreams to become like one of them.
It’s hallucinogenic. It tastes and feels like success. It smells like the beach trips in summer and the exotic street food of a faraway place full of people speaking with their non-English native tongue. Comprenez vous? ¿me comprendes? Yes, yes. Social media attests.
For most, there can never be enough. Elusively lasting only a few days, even a few moments, then suffering, suffering, suffering until the next.
I am addicted to my paycheck.
I have promised to go home this year and trade fulltime. With the market at a sedated state, I was heavily burdened by the possibilities of the future trying to eat me alive in the next seasons that I will be without the comforting sound of ‘kaching!’ and the heavy bass undertones of BDO’s ATM machine when it tries to politely hand me out my money from its ‘mouth’ like an obedient puppy. Yes, I am your master, hand me that stick.
Ah, music to my ears.
No bling-bling. It doesn’t help that I don’t digest Lucky Me noodles very well. Half a day later, I’d still be uncomfortably excusing myself for burping. What poor soul. Atleast a burger machine’s buy 1 take 1 is stationed just around our corner. There’s that.
Late at night I found myself googling how much health insurance costs. No more velvet -cushion of paid hospitalization and MRI- for you know, just in case. However rare we even need them, but you never know do you? I’m a wee bit of a hypochondriac myself.
How bad was my port performance this month? Is that enough for, say, a little giggle and some black ramen, and more importantly a health insurance? I tried to do the most discouraging thing to do, and that is to do the math of my OFW retirement.
Damn was it a bitter pill to swallow. The more I look at it, in such an accusing eye, hastily scanning the paper sheet back and forth for anything missing, the smaller and smaller my courage gets.
I guess I need to scroll through instagram for some #motivation now or watch some Gary Vaynerchuk. I’ve saved enough lion with caption photos on my phone, it almost complemented my Nat Geo addiction.
I fought with the idea back and forth. The date to pass my resignation fast approaching. I have a list of things I need to get myself before I leave– funny things but nevertheless I deem as must-have- like discounted gym clothes and cheap gadgets. Preparing myself for a long winter but trying to make sure I don’t look deprived.
There shines my lick of Milennial. It’s my adorable character flaw. Give it a chance to grow into you.
I’m already missing the food and I haven’t even left the place. For an insane second, I can almost say I’m going to miss my job which started out as my naive passion. I was steered towards this direction by my well-meaning parents, thinking it would package me as the perfect definition of success in an era they understand– the 70’s. Living in America, driving a BMW, secretly knee deep in debt and paying off a large loan.
I had other things in my mind though, I had the corniest and cheesiest reason. I wanted to make a difference. ‘Touch lives’. One week after my first job and I was already disillusioned, confused, and wailing at the betrayal. This was not the dream I was sold! I’ve wanted to quit ever since then.
Now even as I know that this was what I have always wanted to do, I am paralyzed in front of Microsoft Word’s blank sheet. The cursor blinking, taunting me. Haunting little devil. I wonder why I couldn’t even begin the formalities of the letter. Why is the raging bull inside of me suddenly a quiet cow grazing in the fields? So contented and meek.
Every day I had to coax, plead, convince myself that I can keep going. I NEED to keep going. I have to keep going. Learn to love this, learn to be happy. Be grateful instead, you insolent silly young girl. Oh, how other people had it so much worse. What are you whining about? Pull those socks on and go.
If that didn’t work, I learned to be numb. There is no need to feel anything about this. Don’t think too much. Be a little nihilist and a lot more stoic.
Every day for 5 years.
All of a sudden it had to end, and I am feeling surprised with the new kind of freedom. I was experiencing what could be Stockholm syndrome’s ugly step sister. Denied of a door out for so many years, one day, an opening presented itself.
Like a barn animal restricted from the world, seeing those closed doors open for the first time, I began wonder, is it fine? Does it not offend the Gods? Do I deserve this?
More importantly, Am I being selfish?
My father smiled coyly in a nervous manner. My mother was at the other end of the room, pretending not to be interested at the conversation. I was hyper aware of how they both felt.
“How about our house, dear?”, he asked me.
I had not explored this situation in my mind, I have never prepared for an answer and I never gave myself the time to. I was bluntly refusing to think of something so sensitive to me.
“What about it?”, I said, pretending not to be weighed by the question.
“Didn’t you say we’re going to move to a better one?” He smiled and maintained his eye contact.
“Did I say that?”
My brows furrowed. I am normally quiet around our home. A few times irritable when something bothered me and the storm has yet to pass. I have stopped telling them anything that gripped me ever since I started trading the stock market. I’ve decided some burdens are never to be shared by those who will want to carry it for me, because all I wanted to do is to relieve them of it in the first place.
“Didn’t you say that?”, he said again, maintaining his nervous smile.
They didn’t prepare enough for their retirement, they have not even decided on where to spend it.
“I didn’t remembering saying that, dad. Besides, what are you going to do with your other houses?”
“I suppose we have to sell them…”
“Yes, Daddy. You know, you can’t think of spending money again on large ticket items at this point.”
My parents are assets-rich but cash-poor and those assets have been painstakingly illiquid. I didn’t know what to say, my father and mother are reaching their retirement faster than they could anticipate.
Faster than I could anticipate.
I stood up and walked back to my room. I wonder if I could have handled that better. I wish I didn’t sound angry, I hope I didn’t sound irritated. What do I tell them?
What do they expect? What should I do?
“To Whom It May Concern,”
Okay, maybe not, maybe not that.
This sounds weird but let’s see where this goes.
“I’d like to extend my graciousness for the kindness of your institution…”
Kindness of your institution… I rolled my head back and laughed a bit. What a lie. Do I do this or tell them honestly that my boss was reminiscent of the Dilbert comics?
What would I do that wouldn’t make me wish for a do-over while I stand on a hot shower, thinking about my life choices?
“… for employing me for the last few years. I am grateful for an opportunity that only a few were offered to enjoy…”
I guess I am. Why would I not be? We are the highest paid in our profession at the region I was assigned in. It built a substantial amount of cash, funded for investments, and paid for some vacations I’ve care-freely indulged in.
It gave me the necessary boost. I was trying to solve the problem of having no cash to begin with, and now it’s been solved.
“I am tendering my resignation and will gladly serve the necessary time to help with the transition. Thank you for the support throughout my employment. I had been provided with an excellent experience and training that will undoubtedly help my career growth.”
I guess I’m lying again. My job has absolutely no connection to the new world I am about to enter. However, it had built me into who I am, and discontentment was a major part of the push necessary to propel me to make a change that otherwise would have left me petrified.
I tried to keep my resignation letter sweet. I have never told anyone, not a single soul, about my plan. I exhibited no signs. Nothing. Nada. Nil. Zilch. Even pretended to be interested in participating on the October out of country trip some of my workmates were planning to take. Heh.
Bet on Yourself
(a passage from the 50th Law of Power by Robert Greene)
“It is always easy to rationalize your own doubts and conservative instincts, particularly when times are tough. You will convince yourself that it is foolhardy to take any risks, that it is better to wait for when circumstances are more propitious.
But this is a dangerous mentality. It signifies an overall lack of confidence in yourself that will carry over to better times. You will find it hard to rouse yourself out of your defensive posture. The truth is that the greatest inventions and advances in technology or business generally come in negative periods because there is greater necessity for creative thinking and radical solutions that break with the past. These are moments that are ripe for opportunity. While others retrench and retreat, you must think of taking risks, trying new things, and looking at the future that will come out of the present crisis.
You must always be prepared to place a bet on yourself, on your future, by heading in a direction that others seem to fear. This means you believe that if you fail, you have the inner resources to recover. This belief acts as a kind of mental safety net. When you move ahead on some new venture or direction, your mind will snap to attention; your energy will be focused and intense. By making yourself feel the necessity to be creative, your mind will rise to the occasion.”
A passage from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
“Be like the rocky headland on which the waves constantly break. It stands firm, and round it the seething waters are laid to rest. ‘It is my bad luck that this has happened to me.’ No, you should rather say: ‘It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.’ Because such a thing could have happened to any man, but not any man could have borne it without pain. So why see more misfortune in the event than good fortune in your ability to bear it? So in all future events which might induce sadness remember to call on this principle: ‘this is no misfortune, but to bear it true to yourself is good fortune’.”
I don’t really know what I’m doing, there is an endless abyss of pitch black darkness below the gap I’m jumping. I don’t know what’s on the other side- if there’s another side- I’m not sure when my feet are going to touch the ground again.
All I know is I’m jumping, and what I have in me is all I have, all I’ll ever need.
Fortune favors the bold.
The universe loves a seeker of stories,
a writer of its secrets,
a player of its games.
My chips are all in, on me, and not on the venomous changing circumstances. It is in my wings I believe in, not in the traitorous headwinds.
The deep rumble of earth is quiet and brewing.
One day, all of a sudden, change will erupt and shake the core.
Dear Universe, are you not entertained?
Please be kind to me as I rarely am with myself.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
– Ambrose Redmoon
Enjoy the show.