There is no doubt that we as a species are evolving. We are constantly improving in almost all aspects of life, such as technology, knowledge, and even athletics. As mentioned by Charles Darwin in his study of human evolution, we humans needed to adapt to our environment to survive. But those days are long gone; we, as a species, improve, not to survive, but to thrive.
The invention of the internet, smartphones; the growth of billion-dollar companies; and booming businesses are popping out everywhere. It's safe to say that humankind is successful.
Success means happiness and fulfillment, right? But is that all there is to life?
I remember buying Bitcoin around July of 2017, just three months before the Bitcoin bubble. It was adorable to be able to spend on things that we want, dine in every day, enjoy steak and wine every night and book an air BnB for 20,000pesos a night for just the two of us. I felt happy and prosperous. But I was never used to this life.
I grew up with my grandparents on a farm where we enjoyed the food we harvested and grandfather's fresh catch of the day. It was the good old days. When I moved back to live with my family on the main island, it was about three hours by boat from my grandparents; I wasn't as happy as I lived with my grandparents.
There were times that we have a lot of food on the table whenever my father would send money from abroad, or he would send balikbayan boxes. Still, there would also be a time when my sisters, @gerel, and @genevieve, would scavenge food like root vegetables behind our house, and our neighbors would happily cook it in a tin can. My mom doesn't even know this because so many times, she would get stuck on the other island because of the bad weather since she works there as a public teacher.
Then I moved to the city to study and work for corporations, just like most normal people do. It was good money for me but I wasn't happy with my job.
When my partner and I started dating, I wrote down every expense we did and made sure not to go over our budget every day. We started saving money from his early retirement as an American veteran. He's only 39 now, and some people would think he is fortunate to retire early. Still, the story behind his life experience is beyond what you could imagine. I am very proud of him!
We were trading in the Philippine stock market. After three years of dating, our lives changed drastically. When we ventured on a new journey, we became crypto investors or crypto "speculators" instead because, for me, everything is speculation in this market.
We started traveling more; we went to Thailand for three weeks and stayed at one luxurious Airbnb. Some people would think that it's a good life, yes for those moments, but why did I felt that something was missing and I still got depressed sometimes.
If we were so successful, then why are people getting depressed daily? According to the World Health Organization, data from 2005-2015 signified a growth of 18.4%, equating to 322 million people suffering from depression globally. With 800,000 of these people dying from suicide which are mostly 15-29-year-olds. And with the current pandemic, those numbers are even more significant.
We think that success equals happiness, so we try to find ways to fill that "success." The word success is different for everyone; for others, it's running a big business; for some, it's becoming a celebrity; and some want to have a family. But all of these things meet at an intersection; this is our happiness. But if success means happiness, why are people still getting depressed?
How come that even Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and is one of the richest men on the planet, said that his happiest days were for him as a poor teacher, where he earned 91 RMB a month. This interview signifies that life isn't just about happiness; it's about finding the meaning of life.
With the pandemic ravaging the world, and all the time in my hands, I stumbled on a video by Emily Esfahani Smith in her TedTalk last 2017. She states that there is more to life than just happiness, and this resonated with me. The author also touched upon four pillars to a meaningful life. Belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling.
The first pillar I found was when I lived with my Grandparents. I felt more comfortable, more at ease, and felt more accepted as a person while living with them. I found my purpose in life when I went out from the comfort of the province life and worked at giant corporations, and eventually became an investor with my partner; this was my purpose.
Transcendence, I found, was when our baby came into our lives. My baby made my life more meaningful. I never knew real love until he came into our lives. After he came into our lives, I've felt more optimistic in life and felt positive even during the most challenging times. I feel like I can handle everything because I need the reason to live because of him.
The final pillar is something that I am constantly working on, telling my story. My story does not end here; my story is only just beginning. I have more stories to share with you and events in my life worth sharing to inspire and motivate others who need it.
I hope this article inspired you in some way and enable you to find your four pillars in life and make you live your life more meaningfully.
Which part of this article resonated with you? Let me know in the comments below!