My wife, along with many other Filipino’s seem to think that life is better in the U.S. than here so I thought I would take a moment to enlighten you as to what life in the U.S. is really like. I will skip childhood life, as childhood in the U.S. is the only time in an American’s life where the false-image of a the world being a good place can exist, and only for children raised by parents who truly shelter their children. To sum up childhood, the happiness of life as a child is frequently interrupted by reality but nothing can truly prepare a child for what life as an American has in store for them.
The first thing we learn as Americans is that most of our friends who we love and trust are going to dissipate the minute your friendship stands between them and their personal desires. The world looks down on Americans thinking this behavior is one of greed, when in reality it is part of an Americans fight for survival. When life turns to the worst, that is when an American finds out who their true friends are. It is heartbreaking to watch those you have grown to love and trust turn their backs on you. As a real life example, my biological mother had a choice between keeping my biological father in her life, who has been beating on her severely, or keeping her own child, me. She chose to keep the man who was beating her, and in a short amount of time child protection services removed me from the situation. This safety-net of government protection I assume is why people believe life in the U.S. is better, but when you dig through the layers of protection you will quickly find that these protections only exist as political tools to advance the careers of politicians. The minute these protections are no longer helping further the careers of politicians they serve, their funding gets cut and millions of people relying on these types of services are left behind to fend for themselves.
The next thing an American is taught is that money is the key to survival. This is a lie which is perpetuated by the government, politicians, and corporations as a way of controlling people and maintaining their personal wealth. The financial system in the U.S. is specifically designed to keep the wealthy in their accustomed lifestyle at the cost of the quality of the life of everyone else. These wealthy people know that money is not the key to survival and they unintentionally systematically ensure that the people they are controlling with their financial status never learn the truth by constantly making attempts to gather more money.
The truth is that relationships are the key to survival. The wealthy stay wealthy because of the relationships they have established with other wealthy people. Some people in seeking the American dream discover this and are able to forge the same relationships that the wealthy have and in doing so are able to become wealthy themselves. The average American not only enters the world with the false idea that money is the key to survival, they are also surrounded by people with this same false idea.
Escaping childhood an American has a few options for entering the real world. The privileged enter the world with a respectable college degree which costs a great deal of money. If the child is not lucky enough to have wealthy parents they enter the world with a huge debt owed to banks or the government in the form of student loans. Typically the amount is equal to between 1 and 5 years of full time income. The American still needs to survive so they are only able to pay small amounts on these loans and the accumulated interest is constantly eating away at their finances. Many are pressured into having to maintain two or more jobs simply to survive which leaves them with little to no spare time to build the relationships they would need to be truly successful. The second way of entering the world as an American is by serving the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S. government provides an education and many other benefits for joining the Armed Forces and recruiters are constantly making great efforts to convince people to join the various branches of the U.S. Military. By joining the U.S. Military you become property of the U.S. Government and are treated as such. In exchange for risking your life, and sacrificing some of your freedom so that other Americans may enjoy their freedom, you are guaranteed a great deal of benefits from the U.S. government. The government sees you as an asset, and it is in the governments best interest to keep you in a decent lifestyle. The third way of entering the world as an American is bypassing a college education and going directly to the Job market. Without a college degree an American is going to be faced with many closed doors because many career and advancement opportunities require a certain level of college degree. Because of this they are forced to take low-paying jobs and often end up needing government funding. This poverty stricken group of Americans is what truly makes America such a powerful country. They become the low-cost workforce driving many of the most successful companies in the U.S. such as Walmart, and McDonalds.
Employment in the U.S. does not happen overnight, and many Americans are stuck taking Jobs which do not utilize their full potential. It can take months to find a decent job, and most Americans do not have enough savings to wait for a good job. This leaves most Americans unhappy, and struggling to attain the lifestyle they know they deserve. Most Americans are left without enough free time to build the relationships would need to be successful.
So what is day to day life really like? For most Americans their work week starts with a great struggle. It takes a great deal of self-motivation to wake up and prepare for returning to work when you know that you are about to waste another week of your life which is going to bring you no closer to attaining your personal goals. You may watch the news to see the reports of unemployment and poverty, you tell yourself how lucky you are to have a Job and against your better judgment you return to work.
You enter your workplace and prepare for your day, often dreading the first confrontation with your employer. Most weeks you are confronted by your boss with the message that your performance must be improved or you are at risk of losing your job. What time does this American have to work on improving their life when they have to spend most of their time fighting to maintain the life they already have? In most cases the employee is not actually in any danger of losing their job due to their performance, they are in danger of a layoff because the company itself is facing financial difficulties and decides to place the burden on their employees. If you are an employee who is extremely profitable to the company you are working for you can say goodbye to all of your free time because the company will start issuing mandatory overtime. What this means is that you have a choice to either work the extra hours or days, including holidays or else you will face termination of your employment placing you back into extreme poverty. America claims to be a free country, but how much freedom do you really have when the rich are using money to control you.
Finally, the work week is over and you have some time for yourself. The American really believes they are working to enjoy their free time. Arriving home, you realize that the house is a mess and your laundry is piling up. Being exhausted from the work-week you turn on the TV and decide you will deal with it tomorrow. You wake to your first day off with a great deal of house-work to do. You get it all done just in time for lunch, you open up your refrigerator and realize that there is no food in the house. Frustrated you grab your car keys and go to a fast-food restaurant, you may even drag your family along since this may be the only opportunity you will have to actually spend time with them. After eating you rush to the grocery store and spend a few hours buying all of the food you will need for the following week. Looking at your budget you realize that you are short on money because expenses are piling up so instead of buying the food you really want, you buy some in-expensive alternatives in bulk… A sack of potatoes, a family pack of beef, a case of macaroni-and-cheese, etc. You return home, and by the time you are done unpacking the groceries it is time for dinner. Seeing all the food you just bought you decide to have dinner at home with your family. Sitting down to dinner you finally have some time to communicate with your spouse and this is where the arguments start. You and your spouse have not had any quality time together, your both tired and stressed out from your work weeks, and even the smallest issue is treated like a huge problem. If you are lucky enough to be in a loving marriage this communication goes well, after a few hours of talking and arguing about why you put up with the abuse from your bosses you finally know what is going on in each-others lives and are reminded how lucky you are to have one person in your life who truly cares about you. You finally have some time to relax and since it is already night-time you use the rest of the day to spend quality time with your family.
Waking up the next morning you realize this is your last day off before needing to return to work. You are excited and start planning out your day when the phone rings. One of your friends are in crisis and need your immediate help. You think back to the times when they have helped you in the past and decide that you owe it to them so you sacrifice your plans and go to meet up with your friend. The problem turns out to be bigger than you expected so you end up having lunch at their house. When everything is finally resolved you realize that your days off are nearing their end and that your work week is quickly approaching. You return home and in a panic decide you are going to sit down with your spouse and make some solid plans on how to improve your future. Neither of you are happy with your lives because there is never any free time to work towards any of your dreams. You now spend a few hours together sharing your dreams. While making these plans you don’t know what troubles you are going to face in the future, and in reality you are likely to never have the free time to put the plans into action but you quickly realize this was the most enjoyable experience of your week. You had some chances to laugh about your past, and smile about the future you want to have. After dinner you start preparing for work the next day, and may watch some T.V. to relax as much as possible since your days off didn’t give you any time to relax.
This story is of course only an example of a cycle an American can get trapped in. The point is that most Americans end up trapped in a cyclical lifestyle which leaves no room for self improvement. After 40 plus years of living this way you finally reach the age of retirement and decide that you are tired of your lifestyle and you are ready to retire. You contact your employer and start making plans for retirement. The global financial market has changed since you started putting away money for retirement and you realize that you have a great deal less money available than you expected. Instead of being able to live out your dreams you decide to live out your remaining days enjoying the freedom you have been working so hard for. Looking back on your life you are left with many regrets and unfulfilled dreams, and are now facing a new problem… boredom. With nothing to do with your time you decide you will start doing some volunteer work to help your community. While doing this you meet many new people and this is where you finally learn the truth, relationships were more important than that money you spend your life trying to attain. You meet some politicians who reveal to you that you were qualified for large government loans and could have used them to start your own business and attain your dreams. If you are luck enough to have enough money put away you may take this opportunity to finally attain your dreams using these government loans, otherwise you live out your days as best you can in hopes that when your life is over you will be going to a better place.
I must ask you, the reader… is this type of life better than you have now? I suspect you will discover this is not much different than the life you are currently living. The key to finding your happiness is not in throwing away your problems to take on new problems somewhere else, the key is finding happiness in building relationships. While I was in the U.S. I was lucky to find a good job at a fortune 500 company where I was very successful, but I was left feeling empty. I couldn’t trust my friends, my family had become a very small part of my life, and my boss was constantly trying to sabotage my work in an effort to place his friend into my position in the company. My skills were sufficient to prevent this from happening but it certainly was not a very fulfilling lifestyle.
I spent my free time in the U.S. surfing the internet and was lucky enough to meet Dia online. Originally I had no intention of leaving my job, or my life in New York. I worked with Dia to try to find a way that she could marry me and come to the U.S. but she was a freelancer and without confirm-able employment she was not qualified for a Visa. I finally decided the strain of the long-distance relationship was too much and that my only chance of finding happiness was to give up everything to be with her here in the Philippines. Within a few months I realized that life here is truly better because the people here are much nicer. Yes, there is corruption everywhere and some of the people here are self-serving, but the majority of the people here know that family and friends are more important than money. What upsets me is that the people here see the poverty around them and have an incurable belief that life in the U.S. is better. What they don’t realize is that the riches they see in the U.S. are not enjoyed by most Americans and are instead the result of cannibalizing the lives of the underprivileged. They don’t see that prices in the U.S. are much higher and therefore their quality of life in the U.S. is not likely to be much higher than it is here, the only thing which is likely to really increase is their financial debt.
The Philippines is a free country, and any citizen here can start a business which has the same amount of opportunity as a company in the U.S. and the benefit of community support. People here need jobs and are willing to work hard to help a business become successful so that they, and their community, can share in the success of the company. Communication of available products and services here is somewhat limited and it can sometimes be difficult to locate the products and services you need, such as plumbers and carpenters. My wife is helping the problem with her local web site where she has offered some assistance to one of her friends who is launching a new business. I do my part by working hard and keeping a steady flow of income which goes towards feeding ourselves, and supporting local businesses by buying locally instead of from the nearest city whenever possible. My wife and I have also tried to locate Filipino programmers in an effort to provide them with freelance jobs but we have had no response to our offers. I intend to spend the rest of my life here building up a business, supporting my wife and step-son, and helping to open up doors of opportunity for the local community. With the support of positive people all around us there is no need to spend our lives as slaves. Instead I work towards a better future where one day American companies may look at the success of Filipino companies that treat their employees humanely and learn that it is more profitable for a company to keep their employees happy than their current methods which involve sucking the life out of the employees they rely on.