An Overlong Sharing To A Dear Friend

Date posted on June 12, 2010

I recently read a friend’s blog post about her frustrations from last year, and it elicited this email letter which I immediately wrote and sent to her. She recently replied expressing her appreciation, saying how it succeeded in making her feel she’s not alone and adding howit read like a blog addressed only to her. So I decided to post it here so I can share it to few dear friends who visit this blog. Maybe it’ll do to you what it did to me and my friend – comfort and empower me with the feeling that I’m not alone in my frustrations.

Hey, I just read your last three blog posts. I haven’t been religiously blogrolling, or blogging for that matter, thus the delay.

I wish I was there so we can have coffee and chat… I feel bad that (at least in your 2009 entry), you’re feeling increasingly frustrated. Sana lang it’s all better now, with that volunteer work, and with your little boy going to daycare (if pushed through with it) to give you more time.

I kinda share your conundrum about why some people are able to adapt more and let go easier. Although I’m here now sa Pinas, I kinda wonder a lot about that as well when I’m in London.

I really see a lot of promise in staying in London, but somehow, I can’t fully embrace the thought and I still feel like home is where my career ought to be. It’s not really a problem, if you think about it, but I feel like it shouldn’t be the case. It’s as if I wouldn’t be exploiting the opportunities available to me if I opt for that. I get an impression that a Pinas career would not be ambitious enough, or at least, not commensurate to the time and financial investment I made on my studies.

I have this feeling na if I stay in London, the climb is steeper and harder kase I’ll be starting at the bottom with nothing but my education to back me up. Therefore, the climb will take longer. Nevertheless, the excitement, the city, the culture, the enrichment I get while there… It’s just too tempting. And the fact that I can start on a blank slate and have a do over, wow. But can I still afford to do that at 30? I promised myself na taking time to study for 2 years abroad would be my last luho – and then I’d be all focused on being a responsible adult na. Earn a decent living that won’t be subsidized by my inherited luxuries. I want to completely, genuinely fend for myself na.

And then, to add to that, there’s this feeling na if I go back naman to the Philippines, I can simply pick up from where I left off. I was doing well already and was just starting to really make significant strides in my career when I left. Now, armed with new knowledge, I can carry on doing that. These steps I was about to take could now extend to crazy leaps. But then, I also end up thinking that that’s only possible because Pinas is such a small pond. Or, perhaps more accurately, Pinas does not offer the possibilities London and the world offers. Furthermore, I always feel like I’m regressing when I’m home. I’m really happy here and I enjoy the luxury, the lifestyle, the comfort of having a solid support system, my own home, and most importantly, the company of my family and friends… but I also feel like I’m back to old horizons. Parang lumiliit na naman yung mundo ko and it shouldn’t be that way. It shouldn’t, right? Di ba dapat palaki ng palaki ang mundo mo? I feel like I’m falling off the wagon. The wagon that’s laboriously taking me to a more difficult but ultimately more fulfilling path.

It’s a paradox I face whenever I’m home for too long. The paradox that while home makes me happy and feel I’m back where I belong, at home, it’s harder to get what I want. Perhaps coming home to things that make me feel secure means I’m also coming home to all my insecurities. So while I have a career to return to, I don’t feel half as empowered as I do when I’m in London, even if realistically, objectively, and internally, I feel like it’s twice as hard in London to get to where I’ve gotten to back in the Philippines, and harder twofold getting to where I want to be in life.

Suffice it to say that I crave for the best of both worlds, but I feel like I’m being immature wanting that every time reality sets in and the issues of practicality and feasibility of both paths are stacked up against each other. Sana nga ganon kadali na I can be here in Manila when I want, and London when I need to be there.

That’s why I emailed. So much of what you wrote, especially in your post “My 2009”, reflected my sentiments. You also mentioned how you wonder why it’s so hard to find friends who share your pains. Why you can’t embrace your new life the way other friends have, like lots of our other friends there who seem to be content and flourishing in their new plots. I know we’re not exactly on the same boat. I’m just about to sail, whereas you’ve been on that journey. You’re now on the other shore. I’m just walking up the plank of my rickety banca, and from here, I can see that on board, taking the boat with me, is fear. I fear making the wrong decision and being trapped in it, whereas you speak of feeling trapped in it already, even if ultimately, you have the choice to go back.

While it’s not exactly the same as what you’re going through, I suppose we share the same feeling of frustration and uncertainty. The same feeling of being in a tug-of-war. You feel like your hands are tied, when they’re really not… but it might as well be, given the choices you end up making and continue to make. Yun yon e. You don’t want to renege on the choice you made cause it’s like you admit to making a mistake – that all this time spent after committing to that choice has been for naught. That, or it would be like admitting you’re weak – because you weren’t brave, and strong, and steadfast enough to hold on to the choice you made. That maybe, the rewards of the sacrifice have simply yet to come, but you’ve grown tired of waiting and have decided to give up. That’s never easy to admit, is it? Not for us. At least, that’s what I understand you to be going through. The difference is that with me, I’m just about to commit to a choice. With my studies due to finish soon, an ultimatum hangs. I need to ruminate and be sure of my next steps. I don’t want to make a mistake. I don’t want to be made to feel weak. I don’t want to wait too long for my reward. I don’t want to ever give up.

I hope that even though it’s depressing, it makes you feel better that thousands of miles away from you, a dear, dear friend shares your agony. Even if it doesn’t exactly do that, at least you can relish the thought that your writings have helped someone contemplate and articulate his own dilemmas. Making a sheet of paper or a computer screen throw back your thoughts at you is always a great way to hear what your heart and mind have to say amid an awful din of cynical feelings. It’s even better when you have a trusted friend listening with you.