Thursday, August 27, 2009

Having the Time of My Life

Today marks the 4th year anniversary of my arrival in the Philippines as an expat retiree. Aside from dealing with the petty annoyances that everybody faces on a day to day basis, this period has been personally less stressful than any other that I can recall.

As a result I've had more opportunity for creativity in terms of writing and overall self-expression than ever before. I can think more clearly because I no longer have to concern myself with making a living as I did in California by working at a job that I hated but had to put up with in order to survive. Now that my wife Lydia and I have retired and are collecting social security, that frustration is no longer a problem, for which I am thankful every day.

To be sure, our income has been sharply reduced from the days when I had a salary. However, the cost of living in the Philippines is much less than in America, and by living within our means, our life style is modest but comfortable. And speaking of comfort, Lydia , bless her heart, has gone out of her way to see to my peace of mind to the point of spoiling me rotten. She has decorated our condo very artistically without busting our budget. There' s no way that we could live like this in the States without going into serious debt. And don't even get me started on the wonderful meals that she prepares.

I think that another factor that has made a difference is that I had no great disillusionment about life here vs. how I imagined it would be before I left the U.S. That minimized the culture shock in adjusting to the chaos of Philippine society. The trick is to roll with it while still hanging on to one's principles and ideals. Yet the challenge in attempting to achieve this balance has not diminished my enjoyment of life here.

In short we have become so embedded in our way of living in the Philippines that repatriating would be extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive. I can only hope that as time passes we will continue to be content with our decision to retire here as we are today.


CebuAngloBoy said...

I think that is wonderful! Sometimes peace of mind is more important than anything else in our daily lives.
I only hope I & my wife can achieve the same happiness when
we retire over there.
Hope you have a very long retirement and that all remains grand.

Secular Guy said...

Thanks for your kind wishes, CebuAngloboy. Likewise, I hope that you achieve your goal of retireing here. Just keep the dream before you and plan accordingly. That may sound corny and trite, but it works.

Bruce said...

This December will be my second anniversary living in Davao. I still have days when I am content and days I want to scream. I keep saying to mayself, "This is the Philippines, so accept it and live with it"
There are always things that make living here a pleasure to make up for the bad.

Secular Guy said...

Right, Bruce. I always try to look at the big picture. For example, now that I'm retired, if I'm sick or have personal matters to attend to, I don't have to worry about losing my job due to absenteeism.