“Ever since I started surfing, I realized that there is more to life than just work.”
I heard A say this during the 5-hour drive back to Manila. I was feigning sleep and listened in on the conversation. Her purported awareness was belittled by a snigger: How will you pay for the bills, he said. Or sustain yourself while living in a surf town? What, leave all responsibilities and comforts of the city behind? How is this even possible?
Admittedly, A hasn’t figured out what to do yet. All she knew was that she was dead tired doing 22-hour shifts at work and needed a break.
While I totally would support her and her plans of quitting her job (I am a supporter of going on a sabbatical and taking a break if need be, for your sanity’s sake), I decided to let it simmer and think about my own battles.
I may be one of the lucky few with a job that allows for flexibility, giving me the chance to leave on a moment’s notice for days on end. I work for AXA Philippines btw, and just celebrated my 3rd year. There is tons of money for sure, but it’s the time that I am most grateful for. I could live with less, way less. And I have.
Back in 2014 when I just quit my very dependable office job and dabbled into sales, I’d have nothing left in my bank account because I was just starting to build my client portfolio. Furthermore, I was flashpacking around the Philippines often and was so obsessed with going to Baler monthly. That meant I nearly had only P0.00 every end of the month. Zilch, nada. And I was okay with it. Now I’m a little more well-off, more cushioned, and smarter about my money for sure.
While it appears to some that I have found the very elusive “balance,” there are days, weeks, even months when my life actually sucks. Like when my introverted self starts rearing its ugly head and I want to hide in my room forever, or when I’ve travelled too much and I refuse to go back to reality.
Like now. I sit in front of my laptop doing the bare minimum.
I’ll just get my sales projections back in order, I say. But I never do. Sometimes I go around the metro doing my job halfheartedly whilst daydreaming of glassy waves, my board I’ve left at the hostel, the delicious boodle we’d have for lunch, and sleeping in a hammock while waiting for the swell. I think of retirement and wanting to live in a coastal town for the rest of my days, living simply and purposefully, with my dog and cat.
So I’m writing this because I’m reminding myself I have 5 more years to work my ass off, shoving all my earnings into my investment accounts, trying my best not to get distracted, and finding more ways to keep living the dream. Yes, all these thoughts just flooded my mind all stemming from A’s epiphany. Two years later, I still feel the same way about surfing: It’s fun, it’s rewarding, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
A is my friend and I love her. I’d tell her to go take a break, quit if she needs to, and figure it out as she goes along. Don’t be too cerebral, don’t overthink. Sometimes when you least expect it, life will throw something your way and it will just snowball from there. I am that hopeful — or naive, whatever you want to call it.
That other person, well, I think he needs more beach time to appreciate what he’s been missing.