How to Live Independently: A Story of Survival

Living independently is definitely not easy it is a vital skill for a certain person who wants to take more control of their lives. Let me share you my very own story of  survival on how was I able to live a life independently at an early an age.

I started to live independently at the age of 19. Was it a choice? No, because I considered it as the only option I have that time. Maybe the next question in your mind right now is why and how was I able to do it? Was it hard? Yes, it was hard at the beginning but as time goes by you’ll get used to it. Believing in yourself that you can make it is an essential thing that you must learn to master when you’re totally decided to start living on your own because if you don’t believe in yourself that you can make it then forget to start living independently. If you don’t have faith in yourself you will have doubts in your ability to make decisions on your own and will eventually turn to others for help every time you have to make a decision. Well that’s not bad but one of the challenges that you must learn when you want to start to live independently is making decisions of your own.

I lost my parents when I was nine years old. My mom died when I was 4 years old due to cancer while my father died when I was 9 (turning 10) due to cardiac arrest. It was very hard to accept at first but it is was what destined to happened in my life.

I can still remember that time as a 9 years old little girl I did my best to convinced my self by thinking “maybe God has better plans for me and my brother”. I need to be strong that time, strong enought to faced the reality that totally crushed my childhood into pieces. When I young it was a good thing that my father taught me to always have faith to God because during those dark moments of my life God is the only source of my strength and hope. At an early age I learned a lot of things on my own like washing my clothes, cooking, fixing things, taking care of my self and a lot more. I need to be fearless and strong. Even though deep inside I feel so hopeless.

I can still remember when I was an elementary student every time someone tried to bully me I just don’t sit around the corner and cry. I don’t care if your a girl or a boy I always fought back and the funny thing is most of the time it turns out that I always ended up being the villain and being scolded by my teacher or the bully will complain and will bring his parents at school to talked with our teacher about what I did. I decided not to tell my relatives neither my brother my issues at school. I just simple handle it on my own.

When I entered highschool bullies are like an epidemic virus in different forms. They are like everywhere! Threats are everywhere. “Abangan kita sa labas mamaya paguwi! May frat ako di mo ba alam. Nagkamali ka ng babangain mo!” I remember my response was “Okay see you there”. Fortunately in the end nothing happened. Ignoring them is the key or sometimes you can try to make friends with some of them just to have the “inside connections” so you’re protected or simply because you want to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 😉

It was during high school when I started earning my own money. I remember praying to grow up fast and be 18 years old already so that I can start working to some well known fast food chains and start earning. Well for starters I did try selling flowers and palm leaves (“palaspas”) once or twiceMy growing up motto is No Guts, No Glory! Bawal mahiyain genern! We always have a choice. We just don’t always have the guts to do it. Sabi nga nila life is how we make it, the outcomes or the results in our life depends on our decisions and actions.

I was not  be able to pursue college right after I graduated in high school and I was so devastated and heartbroken that time. I decided to saved money so that I can enroll to college the next school year. My first job was as a service crew inside a well-known mall here in the Philippines. I sell brownies, pastries and ice cream. I was really happy that time since I was able to earn and saved money for my self and at the same time helped my brother paying our bills.

I learn the importance of managing my finances and saving some portions of my income for emergency purposes. I never lost faith and hope of pursuing a college degree. I was so determined that I can make it happen. Fortunately, one my relative helped me pursue my college dream and helped me finance my studies. The following school year I was able to enroll in college. 😊

While studying in college I was not fully dependent on the support my aunt was providing me and when I turned 19 I decided to live separately with my brother (who has his own family that time). I become a working student. I used to work as a customer service representative on a pizza delivery and ticketing hotline. After my contract ended on that company I decided that I need to find a work that provides a salary enough to pay all my bills specially my tuition fee so I started working on different call center companies on night shift schedules.

It was during college where I first learn the art of negotiating and the first recipient to what I considered today as one of my major skill was our school cashier. I negotiate based on the available amount of money I can pay whenever I use promissory note to be able to take my exams. In the end, I became friends with the school cashier.

My aunt does not always send money to me regularly and I understand that. So I always need to come up with a strategy to survive. So aside from working as a call center agent I became a direct seller/distributor of beauty products and different merchandises like Avon, Boardwalk etc. There was also a time I joined a networking company and become a seller/distributor of their herbal coffee, slimming teas, chocolates etc. I draft promotional spiel during my free time to entice more buyers. I tried selling these stuffs to my professors para sure buyer. It was like hitting two birds in one stone earning while eventually becoming a teacher’s pet Hahahaha! But my usual buyers are  my co-workers, classmates, schoolmates, and colleagues in my school organization. Yes! I still manage to have an extra curricular activity. For the love of performing on-stage I was a member of our school theatre. Of course you still have to do what you always love to do and socialize with others.

If you think I’ve exhausted all the possible resources to earn additional income – it doesn’t end there yet. There was also a time when I become a talent for movies and local TV series. How I was discovered? (Nakz!). While waiting for a jeepney a talent scout spotted and approached me and handed his business card and asked me If I want to be his an artista/his talent. I become an extra. Voila! a new part-time job was formed. 😎

As a working student I always caught myself falling asleep during class (except when my teacher is pogi! Hahaha) and also while taking calls at work. There are times when my scheduled shift at work is at 12 AM to 9 AM and my class schedule starts at 1:30 PM until 5:30 PM. Aaaaah! It was really hard and I was almost on the verge of giving up but I always, always, always remind myself the reason why I’m doing it, “Don’t give up Jen you can do this!”. It’s a good thing that most of the time I have readily available stock knowledge during exams whenever I need them or sometimes my so-called psychic power of guessing the answer also works except only when there are mathematical computation involve – I’m dead .

Some tips and guidelines on what to do when you decided to live independently.

  1. Don’t buy things you don’t really need just to fit in. Be true to your self.
  2. Learn to manage your money  and most specially your  TIME.
  3. Always outsource! outsource! outsource! for the cheapest finds that is worth the money. Believe me there is!
  4. Have faith in your self that you can make it.
  5. Always pray and ask for God’s guidance and help.
  6. Be bold and strong. Whatever your goal in life it is important to work for it even if you are afraid or if other people are skeptical about what you want to achieve. Being strong and independent means being ready to always fly solo.
  7. Learn to always bounce back and stand up each time you fall. We all face setbacks and struggles in life but what sets a strong independent woman apart is how they bounce back to handle and overcome their problems.
  8. Don’t forget to look after your body, your health and inner and outer beauty. Being a strong and independent woman means taking care of yourself and making sure your own needs are met.
  9. Stop comparing you life with other people. The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare the life that we have with someone else’s. You are different. You are independent.
  10. Be open to changes. Always be ready to be flexible and versatile.
  11. You need to be very strategic and have full blast of determination. Always keep in mind; No Guts, No Glory.
  12. Sometimes it’s okay to enjoy the peace and serenity of being alone. This is in order to reflect and meditate on our inner wisdom and receive answers. Being an independent woman you are not afraid of being alone.

I’m sharing this glimpse of my life to inspire other people and also to help others how to handle and cope up with their life as an independent woman. This is my story, what’s your story? =)


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