I lived half of my life in the metro. I spent my childhood looking at how the city progress for a decade, only spending the holidays and summer in the province. I am accustomed to how fast the life here is. I’ve learned to adapt with the busy lives of the adults around me. It wasn’t a big deal because in the eyes of a child or a fourteen year old teenager, life in the city is perfect. It changed when I have to move to the province thirteen years ago to live with my grandmother and finish school. It wasn’t easy. Imagine growing up in a place where you can see people even at wee hours in the morning, sleeping late at night and waking up at noon and then suddenly transported in a town that sleeps at six in the evening and wakes up at dawn. I learned to cope and I got used to it but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss the city. I do. So I moved back.
I never thought I’d feel the need to move somewhere else, again.
For the past seven years, I’ve been living in the hustle and bustle of the metro, (almost) on my own, thinking of how to survive each day without the comfort of family. Seven years of pollution, crazy traffic, busy schedule and high cost of living. Life as an adult in the city isn’t the same as when you’re a teenage girl thinking only of your studies, friends and your daily allowance. As a grownup it entails responsibilities and unending commitment either from work, peers, and colleagues or to whatever endeavor you have right now. The first five years were fine. I get by. I still have the drive. I was living in a place that is demographically a part of a province but is only a few hours from Manila depending on traffic and a few minutes away from one of the metro’s business districts. I still get to spend my rest days in a town that is almost urban but still laid back which is probably why the urge of moving to a different place is easy to ignore—until six months ago.
I was living with relatives at first in Caloocan then moved to a rented room somewhere in Sampaloc near the University Belt. A few months after I moved to a condo in Cainta, stayed for a year and then transferred to an apartment in a different Barangay of the same town for almost 3 years. I moved back to the same condo in Cainta two years ago and then things happened last November, I decided to temporarily stay with my Mom’s friend in Caloocan for 2 months. I looked for an apartment in the same area, packed my things and started living on my own, alone this time, last February. I moved seven times in seven years. That’s a lot of packing and unpacking boxes, getting the feel of the place, adjusting to new travel time to work or when going out with friends in meet up places far from my place, and making an effort to make the house I’m living in a home, not to mention the money spent whenever I move. Those seven times of moving places is out of necessity. It’s not like I have an option. I moved because I need to not because I want to.
I’m tired of the city life.
Living alone for the past months means going home to an empty house. No pets. No housemates. No boyfriend. No neighbors. Technically, you have neighbors next door but you don’t see them, once in a while maybe. Apartments for those who just relocated to Manila to work aren’t like the ones you go home to where you grew up. It’s not a neighborhood; it’s a house where you sleep in. It’s literally a place where you leave your things and take a bath then go somewhere else to earn money. I should have gotten used to it, considering that I’d been here for years, going home to my hometown only if time permits it. Sometimes I don’t even go home because after the busy week you had in the office, you’d want just to lie in your bed and sleep the whole day. The difference this time is that I’m alone—in a chaotic, hot as hell (in terms of the weather), not really a remarkable city of Caloocan. Yes, I lived here before. I practically spent my growing up years in this area. I know how the life here is. I can tolerate it but no one said I should like it. Moving to different places made me see how better other cities are compared here. I know I can just move again, however, it’s just a 30-minute travel to the office, a big advantage from my usual 2-3 hours travel time coming from Rizal, and the apartments here are a lot cheaper. See? Necessity.
I want to pack my bags and move somewhere far from the frantic, non-stop life of the metro.
I went to Malolos, a city in the province of Bulacan, to see a friend last May. It made me realize how tired I was with the kind of lifestyle I have right now. Of how I am barely surviving. I’d been pushing this at the back of my mind for so long now. I started thinking of moving back to the north late 2013. I want it so bad in the beginning of this year but I knew that I am not emotionally and financially ready. It has to wait. And then when I saw the life my young friend is living, of the neighborhood they have, of the laid back lifestyle of the place, I suddenly missed my hometown. I missed the simple life of the province, of the people going through life at their own pace as if they have all the time in the world.
I missed home.
I have this ongoing argument with some friends who lived their entire lives in their respective cities in the province that their lifestyle is laidback compared when you are in the metro. “It’s a city,” they said. “Yes, it’s a city in THE province,” I pointed out. “It is not a city in the metro.” They would just roll their eyes and let me win the discussion. If you haven’t tried the way of living in the metropolis and if you are planning to move to the big city coming from a smaller town to experience the adult independent life, you have to be prepared. Leave your comfort zone and be brave. Don’t forget to be smart because if not, the big city will eat you alive.
Am I really giving up?
I’m asking myself if I am just running away from the memories of my life here. Partly, yes. I want to start over. Like a reset. I realized that nothing is really holding me to stay here aside from practical reasons. I need my job. I need the money. Even if I want to go now, I can’t. Not yet. If only Pangasinan is just an hour or two travel from Manila, I would go home every weekend to rest before going back to face the crazy life of the big city. I wouldn’t feel so tired or alone.
No, I am not giving up. I just want something else.
I didn’t expect that what I want seven years ago is not the same with I want seven years after. It’s also true that there are things you can’t have right now. I’m giving myself enough time to prepare and do what I want. I’m done pushing myself to something that is not going to happen yet no matter how much I want it. He has reasons why He isn’t giving me what I want now. Probably He has another plan for me or maybe He feels that it’s not the right time yet. I’ll leave it up to Him. I just have to remind myself to be patient and wait. I know I’ll get my answers—in His time.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11