Time Changes Us

Four years ago, I was quite uncertain where the future would lead me. I was tired about thinking of something better. I was satisfied but I knew then I was stuck in a place I love but I wanted to leave also at the same time. I was unwilling to take risk or even think outside my comfort zone. I was earning relatively sufficient for my needs but barely covering what my family needs. I was overworked with three jobs: in the university, in another smaller college with greater freedom and a private commercially-oriented academic institution that gives me opportunity to travel. Worse, I was not willing to accept the reality both what confronts me day-to-day basis, and even myself. That was me four years ago, tired and wearing my red shirt, sweating, thirsty and hungry, on my way home at 10 o'clock in the evening after a 12-hour work day.

Who am I know? Did I change for the better? What have changed in the span of four years? Perhaps, there was a big difference. Now I am in Norway sitting a couch, thinking of what day tomorrow in my full-time job in the nursing home, and how would my second-to-the-last week of my practice to get full-pledged Norwegian license. Economically, I earn way better, earning more even though I am working less than 31 hours per week. I have enough free time to write on my blog, travel almost every three months within Europe, and watch anything in Filipino, Cebuano, English and Norwegian. I can say there is still a way better future ahead of me. I know things will be way better soon. I have many plans, and I am working for them to be fulfilled in their respective time.

But what have really changed? A lot and this is the focus of this blogpost.

I miss being called "Sir Paul", but not really much.

I was almost on the peak of my career in the Philippines. I saw the opportunities were streaming towards me. I had a great control over my work conditions and even has the authority to decide on things and for others. Thus, in my mind the "Sir Paul Syndrome." Being admired, center of attention, working for others anytime and anywhere, and has administrative roles in various institutions. Those sound very comfortable. Here in Norway, I am starting anew. It is not as bad as it was in the first six months, but it is a deviation from Sir Paul Syndrome. I am a regular employee, just like the others. Nothing so special, except my noticeably Asian brown skin and my Norwegian with a strong foreign accent. I am satisfied nevertheless and I can say I have a better quality of life in Norway. That is the main reason why I do not miss that much being called Sir.

I like me being less spoiled brat, with lesser to almost no tantrums.

Terrible temperament- that is something that described me, especially at home. When something does not go as planned, I am irritated. I blame things and even people of my lack of foresight. It is easy to talk and behave badly than sort out what I really need. I was an ill-tempered individual, more likely a boy than a man. I quarrel with my mother, my sister and even my 7-year-old niece then. I did not realize my tantrums are worthless, such that it will not do anything to change the situation. I was just lucky to have a supportive family, but because I am away from them that advantage is simply not useful. I just stopped being a boy and became a more responsible person for myself, my family and for the society in general.

It is great that I know much better when to go for something and when not to.

Restraint is something I lack even today. I just want everything to happen at once. However, I learned to accept that there are things possible and not. One just have to accept the truth that the available options may not be the best ones. A person may just even figure out what is important and needed. By deciding on what I need, I initiate measures to achieve what I need and want. Furthermore, currently I am not afraid to back out, reject something, say sorry or accept mistakes. Perhaps, I just learned that I can not force a pillow to fit inside a shoe box. The things which are impossible I learned that do not necessarily equate failure. It is a just a question of picking up the pieces of failure, and take responsibility to achieve the things I need and want.

It is advantageous that I am not afraid to fail or take further risks.

The situations I have experienced in the first three years in Norway is an emotional whirlwind. It was a storm I wanted to forget, but I can't. Nevertheless, I took risks and learned from it. There were mistakes that gave negative effects on myself, my family and even to some of the people I knew. During also those times, I experienced appying for job, getting selected and pursuing it. There were a lot of uncertainties, that left me sleepless in some nights. The anxiety I felt was very disturbing, but it did not doscourage me to even try. I did take risks. Those were not easy. Almost no one could help me, except myself. I became more independent and more courageous in handling tough situations. Because of those situations at least, I have become a better person.

Oh! When and where is the next travel?

In 2012 also was the year of my first travel outside the Philippines. It took almost three years before I dared to travel again, and thereafter I traveled to several places alone and with my significant others. Although stressful in itself, I simply can not resist the desire to travel. I am so curious about the world, everything interesting on it. However, traveling provides the opportunity to more independent. I feel blessed to travel to places. That was just a dream few years ago, but now it has come to reality. I am not yet 10% finished with my desired travel list. I still have enough time, even though time goes very fast.

The Philippines has been my home for almost over 26 years. That is almost ninety percent of the years I lived so far. I still maintain my Filipino roots, speak my mother tongue and read some of my lecture notes before. My values are still somewhat Filipino, but enhanced with the value of respect, freedom and equality. That mixture is odd, but that is something I vow to continue as a manifestation of perceived better version of me. Although I became less religious and more direct, I can still say I am becoming better, and mature. Perhaps, I saw a world outside the Philippines. There are things lacking in the Philippines that I hope other Filipinos got to find in their lifetime. I did find them in Norway. It took just time. Yes, it was four years before I made the decision to move forward, and forget the past. Thus, time really change us.

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