Why did I decide to leave?
It is very important to know your real Why of leaving. In our book Abroad Me: 22 Success Strategies for Young Overseas Filipinos, we encouraged prospective OFWs to assess their reasons carefully. Having and knowing your reason for becoming an OFW serve as your anchor when you begin to face challenges abroad. Don’t lose sight of your real Why. Continue to ask yourself this to remind yourself of the right answer to this question.
Why am I still here?
During your first years, your answers to Question # 1 and Question # 2 will be the same and that’s good. As you go further in your journey as an overseas Filipino, you may learn that why you left and why you’re staying longer than what you originally planned may change. It’s actually not a problem if your reasons change. The problem begins if you’re not being true to yourself and continue to believe that your reasons did not change at all.
Are you staying now because of the noble cause of earning money for your family in the Philippines? Or has it been tainted with another reason that you no longer know how your life will be with them? While your fears may be valid, you have to face the reality and not let your overseas life be another form of escape.
Who are the people I value and need to spend time with despite living apart?
With today’s technology, we no longer have an excuse for not reaching out and opening the communication lines to our loved ones. Whether it’s a quick chat or a lengthy email, we must always make time for them. What we need to ask ourselves is who are these people that we value.
Often, we neglect family and friends because we are so sure in our gut that they’ll understand. We think that when we forget their birthdays or other important events, we can make up and remember next time. When you keep on doing this, you are giving them reasons to move on, fall out of love, or grow apart from you. This brings us to the next question.
Am I becoming a stranger to my family and friends?
The longer you stay overseas, the more disconnected you would feel when you talk to your loved ones. That is, if you don’t consciously and actively take part in their everyday lives.
Even if we say the bond we have with them will stand the test of time, relationships require us to listen as well as to share our thoughts and feelings. We must avoid reaching the point where we become strangers to our own family and friends. It might be one of the most difficult truths to face when such happens.
Am I closer to reaching my goals?
Think of the time before you were an OFW, and then think about your life now abroad. Are you in a better position today in terms of what you want to achieve in life than you were before? Or are you buried in more debt or spending too much on stuff you don’t need?
If asking yourself this question doesn’t make you proud or fulfilled, then you might need to revisit your goals. See how you could get back on track. Understand that the opportunities abroad may not be something that we can have for the rest of our lives. You need to work on your goals while you’re still young and able.
When do I plan to come home?
Give it a date. Don’t just say “Malapit na.” It doesn’t have to be cast in stone but having a date on when you will end your overseas journey may do wonders. Depending on how you look at things in your life, knowing when you’ll be coming home can motivate you and give you the perspective that everything is not permanent.
What kind of life do I want for myself after my overseas journey?
Coming back home as a balikbayan is like having a fresh start in life. It can be quite challenging but if you know the type of life you want this time around, the stress from readjustment becomes manageable.
Take note that this isn’t about things like owning a car or a house. Asking this question should challenge you to think about how want to live your life. Will it be a simple one? An entrepreneurial one? A life full of love and laughter? Go ahead. Take a shot at it.
Am I happy?
Right now, right where you are, are you happy? If your answer is a no, don’t make drastic decisions yet but focus on your goals. Always remember that happiness is a choice. Your overseas life should grow you as a person. If it doesn’t, then you should know that working overseas is not the only option we have as Filipinos.
How about you? What are the questions you ask yourself as a Filipino living and working overseas? How does that help you cope and stay on track? We’d love to hear them! Share it in the comments below!