For many years, I have thought that money can buy happiness. That we can find its true meaning from things that glitter – new clothes, new bags, new jewelries. And for many years, the proverb “All that glitters are not gold” has proven me wrong.
I remember when I was in my early twenties, I would always visit a mall to window shop when I was sad or depressed. I never went home empty handed. If it wasn’t the mall, I would visit a spa and have a relaxing back massage or a facial spa. I’d always find comfort in things like a new manicure, a new pair of shoes, unbranded bags or clothes, or even in a new headband! No matter how invaluable things were as long as I bought something for my self, I couldn’t care less. Then I’d feel happy. You know that wide smile you see on a child’s face when she finally got what she had been wanting for a long time? I’ve mastered that smile. My happiness, though, wouldn’t always last too long. At the end of the day, I was as empty as my pocket.
When our family migrated here in Singapore, I learned to value the things that cannot be seen or touched: a warm embrace, a short text message from our relatives in the Philippines saying “how are you?”, simple gatherings with friends. I only have few friends here whom I see most of the time. Some are so busy living their fast paced life catching up with their tight schedules. Some are not always around but you will feel their presence at times when you need them most. I don’t need to buy their time. They’re FREE.
I am learning to love the smell of the rain because the rain here is not as natural as it may seem. I am learning to love the company of silence and the chirping of the crows in the background. They give me a feeling of serenity. Our home is my comfort zone and I always find solitude in it. I don’t need to spend money and travel away from the city. A blissful, solitary moment is always close at hand.
I’m currently unemployed but I work more than 12 hours a day, 7x a week, as a mother and a housewife. I go to bed so effin’ tired most of the time. But knowing that my family is comfortable because I make sure there’s a satisfying food on the table, or they lie on fresh linen sheets, I feel great. Taking these things into account, I couldn’t be happier.
A month ago I celebrated my birthday. The third time here since we moved in this country. It’s just a small gathering and only a few close friends were invited, including a blogger friend whom I’ve been dying to meet personally because I only get to chat with her online. Our house was jam-packed and was filled with laughter from people who have met each other only that day. One friend even commented, “grabe ang saya ang birthday party mo… as in! feeling namin, matagal na naming ka chicka yung mga visitors mo.. hehehe.. saya saya!!! =)”. Although there were people who didn’t show up, some foods have gone bad, and I was left with a broken couch and a center table, I couldn’t compare the happiness I felt that very day. It’s beyond words. Immeasurable, if I may say.
I know now what matters most. I know now that…
It’s often true, right. Just forget about the price tags.