One of the things JP and I constantly talk about these days is where we’re going to settle down and when we plan to go about getting there. A couple of weeks ago, I literally cried (like, you know, with tears and snot and all) out of frustration because I was bugging JP to “give me a place, and give me a date”, and he couldn’t (in hindsight, I should have expected it, because, really, who can think clearly with a bawling woman in front of him? hehe). I think the outburst was a culmination of emotions running amok after a recent situation we had, where I felt that I wasn’t in control of things. So maybe by getting JP to answer my questions, I really was trying to get back some semblance of control over my(our) life.
So, where do we go? I think that’s a question that’s crossed every OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Worker) mind at some point. To some, it’s clear: pick a country, work there, become a citizen, put down roots. To others, pick a country, work there for x number of years, save up, and then go back to the Philippines. But within those years, life happens, right? You may find someone, get married, have kids, and then suddenly, you have to rethink your plans–can I afford to buy a house here, have my kids go to school in this country or should I go back to the Philippines and all the challenges that go with living in it?
Eight years ago, life in Singapore was the foremost topic of conversation within my circle of friends. Getting here was the goal for most of us. We would talk of the bigger salary, safety, modern conveniences, etc. And now, during get-togethers, all we talk about is Australia: how those who have moved there are doing, did they find a job already, did you get your visa approved, how “work-life balance” was better over there, etc. So maybe those talks just reinforced in me that feeling of wanting to get out of here and move on to somewhere perceived as “better”.
During our discussion, JP asked me, something like this: “You keep telling me to give you a place, but what about YOU? Where do you want to go, and what do you want to do?” You know what, in my hormone-filled brain, I honestly didn’t know. I said this to JP: “I don’t know, all I know is I’m not happy. I’m going to go crazy if I stay here much longer“. There. I said it.
The root of all my recent issues. I know I hurt JP when I said this, because you’re supposed to be happy where your loved one is, right? But it’s not a question of loving him. That will always be a given. In a strange, selfish way, it’s me. While I’m grateful for the economic advantages working in Singapore has brought me, I feel like these past few years here has been so draining for me, emotionally. No matter how hard I try to “look at it through new eyes”, I feel stifled, limited, so..caged. I feel like the walls are closing in on me and I can’t breathe.
Sometimes I have this fantasy of just buying a one-way ticket back to the Philippines, and never going back to Singapore. But then the voice of reason whispers: “You can’t leave your husband, you have to pay mortgage and bills, your job is here. Wag kang mag-inarte dyan! (Don’t be so fickle!)” It took me a couple of days to calm down, pray and reflect on my situation.
There are a couple of points I realized that I’m holding on to right now that’s helping keep me together:
1) My husband wants me to be an active participant in our decision-making process. As a very independent person, I think it was a step in the wrong direction on my part when I thought I could just leave these big decisions on his shoulders. Seriously, did I really think that my husband would just decide on his own where we’re going and how we’re going to get there, without my input?
2) I’m only making my unhappiness worse by thinking that it’s the place that’s making me unhappy. Maybe it contributes a little bit, but my emotional state is really a result of me deciding that I’m unhappy. So I have to choose to be happy today, right here, right now. If today I moved back to the Philippines or to Australia, who’s to say I will be happy there? Because that’s the same thing I said 8 years ago about the Philippines, before I left for Singapore, that I’ll be happier if I leave.
3) Maybe this is just a case of envy, of seeing people move on and leave, and feeling like our life will not begin if we’re stuck here. But LIFE is already happening RIGHT NOW, with JP. What am I looking for, really? If we’re not meant to stay here for good, then God(the Universe) will make a way for us to get to where we want to be (if/when we figure out “where”, which I presume God/The Universe will help us discern at some point).
My situation may not be ideal, and everyday I have to psyche myself to think positive thoughts. But I’m comforted by the fact that my husband has the patience of Job in dealing with my random, emotional and sometimes irrational outbursts. So where do we go? While the location and timeline is a little bit hazy at this point, I’m content with having JP with me to figure that out soon.