Choosing to stay

My friends have taken the leap. One is becoming a VP, one is taking a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, and another left her job to re-examine her life, after her partner passed away .

And today another colleague left the company. She was the third to go. She wants to think over her career choice, if she’s still in the right place. She’s going back to school too. But first she’ll spend the first two months to clear her living space, and her head.

I also want to go back to school. In fact I was already signing up for a second degree when the pandemic hit. I also want to take up creative writing. Heck, I’ve meaning to write a book for a long time already. I also want time to clear my head, and take back my time. I desperately want to have a break, from work but also from daily responsibilities. I want to escape to the island and spend the whole day watching the ocean.

But I chose to stay. Being the longest employee and the only one left, I cannot let my employer down. I’ve also recently taken out a big loan to help a loved one. So I need the steady income, to support my parents, to pay the mortgage, to stay in hotels rather than campings with shared sanitary facilities. I chose to stay and stick with my decision of running my magazine. I have commitments I cannot ran away from. And I cannot leave my husband and my daughter, not even for the promise of peace of watching the ocean for a whole month. I chose the practical path, to work to earn, and write to sustain my sanity.

Maybe I am just a coward. Yes I am afraid. I am afraid because I have adult responsibilities. It comes with being Asian, with being raised a Filipino, being the first born who had the opportunity to have a good life. You need to give back. And as much as I want to live the romantic life of a writer, of a creative ready to go hungry for the craft, I cannot. Maybe my pride is too high. I do not want to be financially dependent on my husband, or the state, or on patrons. And maybe I am selfish, I’m not ready to give up my “career” to only care for my daughter and the household.

I cried a bit when my colleague closed the door behind her, not so much because she is leaving but more for the dreams that I decided not to pursue. My time will come, I know, my time to write that book, to take a break from my job, to watch the ocean all day. When the loan has been paid, when the new staff has settled, when the magazine has enough funds, and when my daughter does not need me anymore to be able to fall asleep. And if it doesn’t come, than maybe it’s not meant to.

For now, I chose to stay, here where I am needed.

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