Personal Independence in the Philippines

When you want to move out and live on your own, it’s usually a big no-no. This is especially true when you are living in a country like the Philippines, where people have deep ties and connection with their families. In America, people are expected to be on their own once they reach the age of 18. They are expected to live separately from their families (especially for men), and they are expected to work and fend for themselves. In the Philippines, this is not the case. When an 18 year old guy decides to move out, this causes a big stir among family members. Parents think of what could have caused this ‘irrational’ behavior. They think of being branded as bad parents. Family members would likewise brand the boy as being a rebel.


*Image from: http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/i/independence.asp

The reality though is that a lot of young people nowadays, want to experience life on their own. I guess times have changed and technology and new concepts have made it easier for people to become more independent. I don’t think that there was the concept of “outsourcing” washing your laundry ever before. Also, the influx of low cost ‘bed spaces’, flats and apartments for rent has made it easier for the youth to choose a place that they can call their own. I also think that jobs are now readily available to the new generation and these are actually jobs that pay well and can help you survive (pay for your basic necessities) during these times. All of these scenarios have made it easier for the youth to practice personal independence.

Bottom line is, a lot of them have the goal of enjoying personal independence. The method of how they achieve that can be either diplomatic or rebellious. I learned to ‘enjoy’ (if you can actually call that ‘enjoying’) my own independence the hard way. Just like any young professional at the prime of my life, I didn’t know if what I really wanted was independence. I just knew that I was fighting for the ‘love of my life’ (at that time). After living away from my parents (yes, I know that this may come as a shock to you), I realized that I missed them. It wasn’t the convenience of having someone to do the laundry. It wasn’t the convenience of having household help cook your food, nor was it the TV shows that I’d enjoy at night while lazily lying on my own soft bed with matching comforters. It was actually the presence of my family that I missed.

Fine, I had the freedom to make my own decisions. People were impressed that I could make it on my own (I could hear them giving me a ‘slow clap’). I could do whatever I wanted. I was clearly capable of making my own decisions, and I knew that I was also capable of making the right ones (and was fully aware that some were bad choices). But… a big BUT was I really missed the emotional connection and the love, care and concern that was showered on me by a family — by MY family.

I let go of this want or need or clamor, whatever you call it, for personal independence and returned home. I know that during that time, I wasn’t ready or it wasn’t the right time. I learned from my experience and I learned it the hard way. I love my family and I know that striving for personal independence is a symbol that I could actually conquer the world, but my suggestion is, if given the choice to enjoy exchanges of unconditional love with your parents and siblings, I would make the most out of it and stay home.

Time will come when you will have to leave, when you are more mature or when you need to build your own family. This will be the time when you realize that you could have just enjoyed the stay. So, make the most out of living ‘dependently’ with your family and shower them with love. This is the time that you can use to plan and start building for your future.

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