Results of the Social Weather Survey on Life Satisfaction were published in the newspaper Businessworld yesterday. It says 81% of Filipinos are satisfied with their lives. Of the 81%, 33% are “very satisfied” and 48% “fairly satisfied.” On the other hand, 14% said they were “not very satisfied” with their lives, while only 5% were not at all satisfied.
My students who come from a prosperous Asian nation, with high dissatisfaction quotient and alarming suicide rate, constantly marvel at how Filipinos can afford to be happy, satisfied, and kind despite our lack of material wealth. They subsequently ask me how we are able to arrive at such a degree of genial disposition in a bit of relaxed demeanor. Truthfully, even I get bemused as to the possible explanations available. So I’ve done a little reading for verification and ruminated on a few realities to be able to answer their question.
Money is essential to our well-being – we don’t deny that – although we can very well manage to be in good spirits without it. There’s this Filipino mentality: “As long as loved ones are together, it matters little what kind of food is served on the table.” Nothing could be truer than that. It’s just the way it is here. We learn to get by with unanswered prayers. We soldier on in the face of pain and poverty. Yes, slum areas proliferate in our every city but rarely will you notice scowls on faces among the residents there. Why? Acceptance is worth embracing for the majority of us. Flexibility is another prime element. Toss us in any part of the globe and you’d be amazed by how willing we are to endure anything for the sake of survival. It surprises me as well how psychotherapy is not that popular a remedy in our country because we simply turn to family and friends for the airing of our inner disturbances.
Make no mistake though: We surely are gonna be happier with enough money. Or more than enough of it (I guess). At least I am.
My Life Satisfaction: Not easy to contemplate on after having gone through my most devastating loss early this year. But barring my recent circumstances, these questions must be answered honestly:
Q: Am I satisfied with my life?
A: Yes, contented (they’re similar I suppose?), too.
Q: Am I happy?
A: Most of the time, in fact.
Thinking carefully about it, what is there not to be pleased about?
My life is not without blemishes though. My son and I could highly sense that we disappoint each other from time to time. It’s a constant struggle the two of us face – just like in most parent-child relationships (if we all are going to be honest about it). He’s nevertheless aware he is my true reason for living.
These days, my son is glad to see me dancing and doing sit-ups again. He could only exhale in relief considering how two months ago he had voiced his concern to my mom and sister of my severe grief for the loss of my Dearest One. Maybe I owe him an apology for letting him see me feeling so helpless and in despair during those critical times. The despondence over my loss is something I now have to live with, which I try hard not to harbour – because every time I do, or for every moment that I remember my Dearest One, I still die a little. More than a little, to be precise.
I just had a haircut, by the way, which means I am currently sporting shorter hair. I had originally intended having a haircut last January. Love how I feel about my hair now since I’ve worn it long for several years.
Reading has been saving my life for as long as I could remember. Reading and music and nature. And more recently, writing. That is why blogging is one of the best things that ever happened to me. My work has given me structure and pleasure, too. I am an ESL instructor on weekdays and at the same time an online lottery agent who has to generate computer tickets for bettors every Sunday (my operator’s day-off). That has been basically my life for six long years. I must be thankful for having these jobs – considering the never-ending grim state of our economy and the high unemployment stats; not to mention job opportunities for someone at my age are getting more and more scarce. Yet there’s this undeniable truth I got trapped in this cycle for so long. As a result, my attention and energy had been snatched away, which I should have had in the first place bestowed upon the people I’ve treasured my whole life. The few people who truly matter to me.
However, it’s too late for regrets. The business of living is what all of us must get on.
Traveling is one my remaining aims in life. How I long to be able to see the wonderful sights in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S – so I’m gunning for sufficient funds for my probable trips to them in the near future. There’s also this wish that I’d somehow manage to find new friends who do share my interests and are on the same intellectual level with me. Friends who are not into any religious cult; are not into watching telenovelas; are not into the latest gadgets (Filipinos are crazy about the latest cellphones and texting, gotta admit that); most importantly, friends who don’t believe in, omg, ghosts and UFOs! I don’t want to sound smug or a snob but rarely can I find people here, er, cannier than me. And I’m not even smart or intelligent. Now how do I reconcile that? 🙂
I’ve been visiting You Tube recently. So delighted to have found this song which I haven’t heard for decades. When I was 10 years old, my favourite playmate and I would go over the many cassette tapes of his Dad -who happened to be an American- in their living room and we always ended up choosing this particular classic. He, with his light brown hair and skin fairer than mine, and I would sing our hearts out with this breezy song on our bright summer days. Definitely one of my unforgettable and charming memories.
Man, why don’t they make songs like this anymore.
Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again
Baby, baby, falling in love
I’ve fallen’ in love again
You and me for eternity, in love, we’ll always be
Young and free and naturally the way it’s got to be
-Fallin In Love by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds