My Japanese boss and I was stuck in traffic earlier and were talking about the ways our culture differ from each other. He asked me if suicide is common in the Philippines. I said no, not really. It happens, but it’s not a common thing unlike in, well, Japan.
I said I think it’s because of close family ties, or because as people, we are pakialamera. It’s normal for 30-something adults to still live with their parents, even when they’re already parents themselves. Sometimes we live with siblings, or cousins, or colleagues, or friends from way back. We are still shocked, or we at least find it unusual, to know that someone is living by himself. We are so close that there’s at least one person we can talk to about our baggages, and that person will most likely offer some advice, solicited or not.
The Filipino spirit also isn’t that easy to put down. I’ve seen our fellowmen happily waving to cameras while their houses are submerged in water during floods. We’ve been through so much disasters as a country, and yet we’re still considered as one of the happiest and warmest people.
There’s also religion. Being a dominantly Catholic country, we’ve been taught that taking your own life is a mortal sin. And not a brave way to “solve” your problems.
Anyway, this made me think of death. I realized I’m not afraid to die. I’m afraid of pain, but not of death. I assure you, I’ll never think of committing suicide. As arrogant as it may sound, I didn’t become who I am now, capable of doing whatever I put my mind and heart to, just to waste away my life by ending it. I believe things happen for a reason, and that when it’s our time to die, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. We’ll all die in the end, and I choose to let that happen organically. I don’t think there will ever be an incident in my life that is so unbearable that death will be my only choice. My father has broken my heart, and as a daughter he’s probably the one person who can cause me the biggest heartache, and I survived that. I recovered.
Looking back, I’m fortunate to have been part of the industries that I’m passionate about at some point in my life. I worked in the PBA, in radio, in tourism, in events. I have my own business, I worked in corporate, and now working from home. I’ve created art. I’ve seen some parts of the world. I’ve been on top of mountains and swam in seas (with vests, but still counts!). I’ve been hurt but I know how to love. And recently, I’ve held my precious niece. It was quite a life I’ve had so far, and though I have some regrets, the things I’ve done outweigh them.
The only thing I would wish to have experienced is getting married. To have that kind of commitment with someone who truly gets me, cares about me, and chooses me. But marriage aside, if my time comes, I would go in peace knowing I’ve done the best I could in this life. ❤️