I don’t often think negative thoughts, especially negative thoughts about my life in the Philippines. Last night, though, my thinking bordered on being negative. Maybe it was not really negative, but more reflective.
Let me tell you what happened.
I was up kind of late, because I was unable to sleep. Normally, I sleep kind of early, and last night I went to bed early, but because I was unable to sleep, I got up and was playing around on my computer. For some reason, an old friend came to mind. Jim and I were best friends in High School. We had a group of about a half dozen of us who were all close friends, but for some reason Jim and I were a bit closer than either of us were with the others in the group. I guess we had a similar outlook on life.
Both Jim and I decided to attend college at LSU (Louisiana State University) after graduating from High School. I majored in Economics, Jim majored in Geology. We were even roommates in Baton Rouge, we rented an apartment along with another friend. We were very close. After two years at LSU, Jim decided to transfer to another college, while I continued at LSU. I don’t recall, but we may have seen each other a couple of times after that, maybe we talked on the phone, but within a couple of years, I had moved on to a different part of the USA, and I lost track of Jim. We have not talked or seen each other since.
So, last night, when I was a bit sleepless, Jim came to mind, and I decided to do a little Internet searching and see what I could find about him, if anything at all. Well, I did not find much about Jim on the net, just a few things, but what I found was pretty amazing to me. Jim is the President and COO of an oil company in Texas. Not one of the big oil companies, but nonetheless, a pretty substantial company. Without a doubt, it is the same Jim that was one of my best friends years ago, because his history that I found on the web matches perfectly… what schools he attended, what years he was in school, etc. It simply could not be anybody else. When I saw this, I was surprised, and happy for Jim, to be such a success. It made me think back to some of our good times together, and feel proud that he made it so far in his career. On the off chance that Jim is reading this, which I highly doubt, congratulations, my friend!
As I thought more and more about Jim, it made me think of what I had left behind by moving to the Philippines. What kind of job would I have now? For my last 10 years in the States, I was self employed, except just the past two years before moving to the Philippines. Those last 2 years in the States, I was employed by a major Japanese company that manufacturers silicon wafers, which are used for making things like computer chips and such. I was on the fast track with the company, and moved up pretty quickly. In just 2 years, I received several major promotions into the management levels in the company. Heck, that was 12 or 13 years ago, where would I be now? It is possible that I could have a very high ranking job with that company now. However, it is also possible that I would not have a job with them at all, because in the past 5 years or so, they have shrunk considerably. When I was working there, at that one location we had about 4,000 employees, and I hear that they have only around 400 or so now. Would I still be with them? We will never know. Perhaps I would be, or perhaps I would have moved back into self employment, there is no guessing.
What about my kids? Did I lesser their opportunities by moving them to the Philippines at a young age? When we moved to the Philippines, Chris was 8 years old, Aaron was 3, and Jared was only 1 month old. Did I limit their opportunities by moving to the Philippines?
While I can never know the answers to my thoughts about the opportunities of the kids, I came to the conclusion that I made the right choice. I mean, if I look at my life, and my family’s life at this point, we are all very happy. I am self employed, and I feel that I am successful at what I do. My kids are all studying in quality schools, and generally doing well with their studies. Especially Aaron and Jared, they are in one of the highest quality, and most prestigious schools in the Philippines. They have so many opportunities ahead of them that the possibilities are endless. Not only do they have opportunities, I feel that living a multi-cultural lifestyle during their childhood will offer them some opportunities that other kids don’t have.
So, while my late night thinking led to some questions and concerns, my conclusion was positive. I did the right thing. Maybe I could have achieved some high ranking job like my old friend did. But, would I be as happy as I am now? I doubt it. Would I make more money? Perhaps I would, but I make a pretty nice living already, so why worry about that? There are things in life worth more than money.
Yep, I’m pretty darn happy. Are you?
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.