Sunday, April 26, 2009

And now for something closer to home...

What do you call it when you look back at the last decade of your life and go, "Boy, what a waste of time that was"? A couple of weeks ago in church there's this German man who asked if anyone is interested in working with the homeless, just go see him after the service. I considered it. I seriously considered it. But I didnt go see him. Im in the middle of a project and much as I want to bail on it, Im committed to seeing it through. But when we finally put the project to bed, inshallah, what then? What have I accomplished? Where in the ultimate scheme of things does that so-called achievement figure? Was I able to help the homeless, the widows, the orphans, and all those people God said we should help if we're to continue to live as Christians?

Before I joined my present corporate overlords, I was working as a research assistant for social and marine scientists doing coastal resource management projects, working with coastal communities, and even if it was back-breaking work, with lots of physical labor, and long hours writing papers, spending days, weeks, months away from home in some remote barangay where there's no electricity and no plumbing, that was the most fun I had in my life. And I actually felt I was doing something worthwhile instead of just making somebody rich. I had to leave that job though. I figured with my baby daughter growing up, I needed a job with more stability, that was more mainstream, even though it required me to wear a necktie and leather shoes. Blek. It paid well. We were able to live comfortably and I can send my now two daughters to private school and all that but... Im at that stage when Im thinking if that's all there is to it, the chasing after the next paycheck. And what am I teaching the kids? That in this life you graduate from school and get a job -- any job as long as it pays good -- and then you die? I want them to chase not after a paycheck, but to chase after what theyre passionate about, to have a meaningful existence, and I dont think theyre getting that from me. Ive lost the desire to draw and paint and write and read stories, things that gave me pleasure before. I bought a sketch pad and some drawing pastels and tried to make something come out and nothing would. It's just not there anymore. Ive let the thing atrophy. I can't write either. I started on a story that I was to submit somewhere just for the heck of it and it started well but slowly it got into a hole I couldnt get out of until I eventually lost the energy to try to dig it out since all that energy's needed for my day-job.

All this traveling used to be fun. Now it's just tedious. My older daughter just turned thirteen and my younger daughter eleven. Theyre at that age when theyre starting to discover boys, and I feel I should be there with them, but this project would keep me away for most of the year. It'll make us good money, sure, but Im not sure it's worth it. We can make do with less if it means I won't have to abdicate being a parent for long stretches. It's times like these when I appreciate the sacrifice our OFWs make, for this isnt the natural state of things. But more than that I feel Ive lost something this past ten, twelve years. Ive even lost interest in wanting to be good at what I do, whatever the heck it is. It's like Ive been on a holding pattern with no definite airstrip to land in. We'll see how it goes, as always. Because it all goes, it eventually goes, and you can only pray to God that it'll go his way.

8 comments:

Jen said...

Aww Jego. I can't say I can relate because I don't have a family of my own, but I feel your pain. Konting tiis nalang. :D

Jego said...

Thanks, Jen.

Mid-life crisis. :-D A few years ago I spoke with a Korean businessman once and he said he used to run several successful businesses in America but he didnt find it meaningful. I think that's close to where Im at. He gave up his businesses and is now working with the poor in Cambodia.

Jen said...

Actually, that's the exact same reason why I cannot imagine myself working for a corporate entity. I guess that's what also got me into development work. But then the development work I'm doing is not really the hands on kind of development work, which is why I can still feel this lack of fulfillment from time to time. But my ultimate dream is to do volunteer work in some rural area - may it be the Philippines or some other developing/least developed country.

sparks said...

huhu. nakakaantig naman ito ng damdamin. uwi ka na. :-)

dkny.ca said...

jego, i haven't won the lottery yet so i haven't been able to produce a kid's science show with you as the host, ala Alton Brown.

grifter said...

welcome home, jefe.

Jego said...

Keep buying those tickets, dkny.
:-D

No home for long, hoss.

Anonymous said...

You became you're father. Haha.