Some people say, "Life is short, so you have to enjoy it." My whole life, and even now, my mama always says, "You know, Saria, life is long, so you have to get a good job." Makes me laugh to myself. How brutally blunt my mother is, her tough outlook on life, and her constant energy of trying to be the best and achieve more for herself. My mom grew up in the Philippines, we moved to the United States when I was two years old. She moved herself, her three kids, and my father over to the United States through her getting a job in Chicago as a nurse in an emergency room. I mentioned that she lived in Paris as a young woman (my grandmother moved there and throughout the years sponsored all her children to move to Europe), hoping to find work there. She did find work, but only as a maid or nanny. As a recent graduate from nursing school, she didn't want to settle for a job where she didn't use her education, so she went back to the Philippines, married my father, started a family, then later moved to the United States.
I talk a lot about the pressure of being the child of someone who dedicated their life to make mine better. I had expectations of being a doctor or lawyer from my parents, much like many other Asian children. Somewhere along the line, I had to put a foot down and make choices for myself, despite my parent's wishes. Now here I am, trying to make something out of this floral business.
This story has maybe already been told somewhere in my online diary. But, I really feel like my mom's story is such a prominent component to mine. Whether we like to believe it or not, in some way or form we are merely just an extension of our parents. Our parents being our prequels.
I overbook myself. I work myself to the bone. In high school I went to school in the weekdays, worked weekday nights, had debate tournaments weekend mornings, and worked weekend nights. In college I went to school full time and worked full time. Out of college I worked up to five jobs, every day being booked, and now I work up to three. I wonder, why do I do this to myself? Then I remember back to being little and my mom working four different jobs and even working on holidays. And my mom's voice, her thick Filipino accent, scratchy Abubo (the surname of my mother's side) woman sound, and serious demeanor ring through my head, "You know, Saria, life is short, so you have to get a good job." (Again, I giggle to myself.) She would also tell me things like, "In the Philippines, you need a college degree to work even at McDonalds," or "You know, in the Philippines, if you steal something, they'll cut off your hands." (LOL)
I'm not blaming her for any of this, and I'm also not complaining, because I am well aware that the extent of my work is all my fault and decision. It's just... interesting, I guess. Self awareness, actualization, and evaluation is just interesting.
My mom called me the other day, asking for names for a home healthcare corporation she just started and is building. She said, "Should I name is RUE ANAFEL?" Haha! I said, "No, that's my business's name!" I'm not exactly sure what she does anymore. What I do know is that she has made something of herself, and is the boss lady. I may not have a "good job" yet, maybe not on the terms of what she believes what that means, but I'm trying. Best of all, I enjoy what I do. What is success, anyway?