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
15 thoughts on “April Babe Musings (Asking for A Little More from Life)”
I like your new picture with the short hair! You know what? I think we are all the same. We have trials and tribulations and then “get on with the business of living.” And I didn’t see Canada on that travel list!!! We are right by the US, ya know.
My dear Paul, how can I live without you now? 🙂 You’re starting to become one of my best reasons for blogging. You have this special way of making me feel better with your words.
Yeah, Canada! How could I have forgotten? Thanks for reminding me. You and M are bound to welcome me to your house then. Oh, I can sleep on the couch. 🙂
It’s always a pleasure to have you drop by here.
Of course you are welcome. And there is lots to see in and around Toronto, including Niagara Falls, where Michelle grew up.
Wow what a heartfelt post, I often find myself wondering nowadays how hectic life can be – and in spite of, one must always survive – find a reason for living, a will to go on. And then, also learning to live with the knowledge that certain fantasies may never become reality. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss and all the drama you’ve had to deal with. You should know that I feel very encouraged reading this post and I’m looking forward to reading more!
When I was a teenage girl, I had this fantasy of becoming a (cough, cough) rockstar. The only (major) glitch – I have no talent for music. Not in singing, playing a musical instrument (well, not so sure about that – never had an opportunity to master playing the piano and guitar) or composing music. So I wasn’t being realistic. Mere fantasy in my case. But you’ve got real talent, so it’ll never be a fantasy for you – and your chances are pretty swell. Do your best to make it a reality.
When you’ve made it, please don’t forget to spend valuable time with your loved ones.
Thank you for commiserating with my loss. Drama (sigh) :-)…I wish I could expel the word from my vocabulary. The term has been exasperating me recently. 🙂
Thank you for your visits and your comment, Josh.
It’s a pleasure and thank you for the encouragement. I’ll make sure to take your words to heart Marj! 🙂
Another great post Marj! The adversities of life are the crucible where our personalities are put to the test and our character grows. Allowing your son to see you go through a rough part in life’s journey taught him valuable lessons about how to love deeply and eventually begin the process of coping with one of the undeniable and sad truths of life children have to bury their parents. Now that your life is moving ahead without a person so important to you, will help him when is it his time suffer the inevitable losses that time will visit upon him (hopefully, not for many many more years to come :)). I’m glad to see that your generally happy with where your life is at. It is important to find inner peace without giving up on the desire to continue to grow.
Dear Martin, Pardon me for the little delay in my response, I went offline for a few days. But imagine my delight when I saw you here after I went online this evening. I regularly look forward to your comments as they echo my genuine frame of mind and never fail to inspire me.
Like every parent, I’ve this persistent need to shelter my son from the cold realities of life but I know I can only go so far. Still, my wish is he’d never have to go through the rough patches I went through to get this far.
It’s true: there aren’t a lot to complain about because my needs are simple – I’m glad. Only my sketchy psyche is intricate :-). The desire to grow hasn’t faded yet that it’s been of prime consideration why I wake up and get up with appreciation every morning.
I am grateful that we are around to support each other in this (blogging) world we’ve both come to love.
thx for coming by LFM….Vancouver Canada has been voted both he unfriendliest and the unhappiest place in the world in several polls ..everyone should appreciate the Philippines for the generally pleasant atmosphere that your people seem to maintain…keep it up.
Hi J West, it’s been a while I know. I’ve been thinking of you and your blog for the past couple of days and I remember how it had been a favorite destination of mine here at WP last year. The liberty I enjoyed then is not the same now after the tough times I had to weather the past few months.
I’ve always been aware of your aversion for Vancouver, Canada – including its climate. I’m glad to know you’re currently in better spirits living in Texas. You visited the Philippines in the past and I’m sure you’ve seen how lacking we are in prosperity. We try to get by unworriedly though.
It’s a wonderful surprise to see you here, dear J West. It does mean a lot to me ‘coz I’ve really missed you. Take care.
enjoyed reading 🙂
Thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. I happen to love your blog, too. You’ve already had a lot of fun experiences for your young age. I’m happy for you. Keep it up.
oh dear,.this is so sweet of you to think that…I had the time when I didn’t know that I would ever be happy, but time is the best remedy of all I feel and God gives you reason to be happy …I love reading your blog..very creative writing style you have….Keep blogging 🙂
Looking back on my life I feel that what we consider to not be life, the stress, the daily grind, the bills. I think we have to embrace even those moments. I think living in these poorer neighborhood and being dispossesed of a homeland or a history has really made me appreciate, the things in life we tend to want to reject.
They dont make music like that any more because there is too much music like this:
and it sells
I love this comment from you on embracing everything – as in everything – about our existence – even the sinister aspects that could bring us down to our knees at times.
I will let you in on a secret characteristic of mine. I am such a baby when face to face with complications or predicaments. I am not as tough as people imagine me to be – so don’t be surprised when you see me one day wailing somewhere here. 🙂
Ha ha ha! MrMary, I have the feeling your music video above features the theme that revs you up. Admit it, you listen to it all the time ;-).