Life becomes uneventful at home in a different country; not much interaction with strangers or new clients as before, and not much deep talks with friends over alcohol. That doesn't give me a lot to work on in terms of content.
There are a some conversations I had recently that I thought could be bundled together as a blog.
A Conversation on Happiness
|Not a life-changing movie, but at least a conversation starter.|
(Source: Netflix App)
The wife and I watched "Happy Anniversary" on Netflix and it sparked an interesting late-night conversation.
For context, the movie is about a couple who have been together for three years and are celebrating their anniversary a day after going out with a couple friend who can't seem to get enough of each other. On their anniversary, the girl just blurts out "I'm not happy," as the movie follows them around for the day, reflecting on what changed that led them to where they are in the relationship.
It got the wife thinking if we are happy, and that we're not falling into the same hole that the couple in the movie had.
Personally, I think things could be better.
The social norm is that a man provides for the family, and the wife keeps the house in order. Women fought for gender equality and are now also significant individuals in the corporate world. Despite these however, people frown upon the notion of a woman providing for her and her man. It's a sentiment that a friend shared with me; as a major in humanities, he thought his fellow students of social sciences would be more accepting of the fact that it was his wife working while he stayed at home, but he was wrong. They had the same judgmental looks and questions as others have.
If I were to base my happiness on social norms, then I shouldn't be happy. However, I've thought of how I would be happy way before I had this life as a houseband, and frankly, I don't care what society thinks of me.
My wife is afraid that she doesn't have time for me or our baby because she's busy with work. I assured her that she's never too busy to not have time for us, and me being home should give our kid the parental presence we both want him to have.
I was raised by parents who worked full-time, while my wife was raised by parents who managed a business. While we grew up fine and understood early on that our parents were away most of the time precisely to provide the life that we were living, we both wanted to have a bigger presence in our children's lives when we became parents ourselves.
In a perfect world, I would have a corporate job that pays well enough to support our family, while my wife gets to take care of our child without taking work home with her. But life's not perfect. I don't have a job, and my wife usually needs to work overtime to finish her job.
I told her that it makes our union work. She fulfills her professional goals, while I fulfill our personal goals. We can't have everything. Even the "perfect" couple in the movie was later revealed as too absorbed with showing off how "perfect" their relationship was instead of living an actual life.
If I had a corporate job, our baby would grow up like we did; it's not bad, but it's not the way we wanted to be as parents. We need to live with the sacrifices, but ultimately, we concluded that we're happy - it's not the same happiness as the world dictates, which made her question it a bit, but we ended that conversation knowing that we were happy in our own way.
Forcing Faith vs Spreading Faith
|Truth, in different perspectives.|
(Image Source: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fc/85/39/fc8539e853281b5805e0c2355ae18c80.jpg)
I've been blessed to have my faith grounded on the environment of Don Bosco Mandaluyong before it was questioned by the various philosophies we studied in UST.
It made me stubborn in the eyes of most elders, and is probably why "pilosopo" is a negative term in the local language while it is an honor to be called a "philosopher." Anyway, no one alive today could say that they personally knew Christ, Mohammed, or Buddha to know for certain which religion speaks the truth about life after death. We all base our knowledge of faith in books handed to us, based on the accounts of people who came before us.
Faith, I think, is very subjective. It's why Catholics go for the Sacrament of Confirmation because at birth, they are born into a religion. However, once they are able to think for themselves, they have the opportunity to choose if they will "confirm" what has been taught to them.
I believe that I can share my faith in God with people, but I don't believe I need to push my beliefs on anyone.
My dad and I had a lengthy argument about going to Church while I was in college. In a nutshell, I didn't believe that I should be going to Church because he said so, and I also think that we had the same reasons for going. As a result, I made a conscious effort to not attend mass with him which frustrated the heck out of both my parents. I prayed, and I went to church with my then-girlfriend (now wife), but I never announced it, didn't show it. I just did.
There are a lot of religions existing, and while some don't agree with your beliefs, it doesn't make them wrong. After all, you can't see all sides of a house from one vantage point; you can't assume a house is blue because you see one side is blue, the other side might be red for all you know.
Given this, we should respect a person's beliefs and not force what we think is right for them.
My parents shared this story of my uncle getting sour about Padre Pio's oil not healing my aunt that he loved so much. They feel like he's ungrateful for all the help Padre Pio has done for them, especially after some stories my dad shared about praying for my aunt and sharing her pain in order for her to be relieved by some of it.
Personally, I think it's a clash of beliefs broken down by a man's pain. We all wanted to help my aunt, and the best we could do was pray for her. At the time, there are moments of relief, and they shared it with my parents. However, we don't live with her everyday to see what she's going through on a daily basis. My uncle went all out in helping her; modern medicine, prayer, heck I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to talk to spirits in his effort to ease her pain.
Despite all our efforts (my uncle's, most especially), she succumbed to her war against sickness that she so valiantly fought for years. No amount of prayer could give us the miracle we craved, nor was there technology to save her completely.
My parents believe that it's partly because my uncle never really shared the same faith that they had when he prayed to Padre Pio. My uncle believes that that faith is useless because it didn't save his dear wife. I think it was just her time, and she was living in borrowed time for quite a while because of her will and determination to live, fueled by her family's love and everyone's prayers. It hurts, but it was inevitable. They wanted to blame something, anything, for their loss, when no one really is to blame.
My point in telling the story is that forcing faith isn't spreading it. Faith is internal. You can't tell a person to have the same faith in the things you believe in and expect them to just follow you like sheep. When we get to a turning point in our lives, we don't all take the same path.
This realization dawned on me after a conversation with someone about personal struggle. We came to the conclusion that while external help is appreciated, "personal" aspects like practicing faith shouldn't be forced on the one in need. There's walking a thin line on guidance and completely ignoring that line.
A Lazy Society
|People on screens all the time and riding personal mobility devices - we're on our way to the future Wall-E has shown.|
(Photo Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/jT43R)
This is more of a conversation with myself.
I write long posts, and this one is no different. It's a personal writing style that I've adapted even when writing for publications. On print, I understood the concern for the word count, but online, where there are no pages to count, I found it difficult to understand.
Of course, I am no sheep that only does what he's told. I asked until I understood.
People don't read through something that's too long. They always want easy to consume articles that gets direct to the point in order for them to move along to the next thing they're supposed to do or read. With information at the tip of our fingertips now, everything is so fast-paced that last hour's news is already old news.
Scrolling three times to finish an article is already a chore for most people that they don't bother to finish the whole article if it goes on that long. I don't think a lot of people will get to this part of my blog precisely because of that.
However, I think this is why fake news and online scams are so prolific at this day and age.
We're all about speed and breaking news that most people ignore how the news came about or the source of the news. Most people read the headline and assume that's all there is to a story. Some people don't bother to check out who sent them an email, assumes it's official, and submits their personal information to scammers who take advantage of their carelessness.
Society has become lazy because of how easy life is. The internet can give you so much that it almost eliminates the need to talk to people in person. After all, whatever you could talk about is probably on the internet anyway. Heck, even musicians aren't original because somehow their songs resemble some unknown artist's beats.
I like writing long articles because I want to paint a clear picture in my readers' minds but also provide them with the proper establishing facts that led me to that picture. However, this lazy society doesn't care about facts and instead wants to offer their own closed opinions on the matter. Instead of igniting an intelligent debate, I only get to interact with trolls whose only concern is to make a comment, even if it's just "FIRST!" or a bunch of other nonsense.
I still like to write and cater to an audience, but it's getting increasingly frustrating to come up with articles that are click-friendly instead of something that tickles one's thoughts.
I think I too have become part of this lazy society, as I'd rather post a thought immediately in order to spark a conversation with people who read it instead of waiting to make a blog out of it.
Hopefully, doing this blog lets me change that.