The Simple Life
Updated: Sep 11
When I accepted my first job as a graphic designer, I was earning minimum wage (P410/day). So I thought I should have another source of income. I and my colleagues shared ideas on how we could earn more. Business and investments became part of our daily topic.
Then we have this co-worker who always butted in our conversation. “Lean puro pera pera na lang yan. Hindi mo naman madadala ang kayamanan mo sa hukay. Ako gusto ko lang simpleng buhay.” (“Lean, all you talk about is money. That’s something that you won’t be able to take with you to the grave. As for me, all I want is to have a simple life.”) Her statement made me think and ask her “Ano ba ang simpleng buhay para sayo?” (“What does a simple life look like for you?”)
For her, a simple life means you have a job, you earn enough money to cover your expenses, eat three times a day, go out with friends on a Friday night, stay at home on weekends, or maybe go to the mall. A simple life also means that you could take a vacation once in a while, perhaps during a long weekend or while you’re taking a three- or five-day leave from work. What ever amount of money left will be saved.
That answer made me realize that this is how the middle class lives and the middle class is only 45% of the population, while 50% lives in poverty. All my co-workers share the same lifestyle. Go with the flow, keep your fingers crossed and hope one day everything will be better and brighter.
That realization made me more curious: “What is the 5% of the population doing?” “What kind of lifestyle do they have?” I found the answer when I met my mentor way back in 2012. He was 29 years old at that time, and was earning 7 figures.
Surprisingly, people like him also live a “simple life.” But entirely different from the 95%. For the 5%, a “simple life” means: They get to travel around the world only with their passport and visa. Go to a restaurant they want and order everything without worrying about the cost. They don’t wait for long weekends or holidays to take a vacation. If they choose to, they can take a vacation for one whole year without worrying about their finances.
That gave me a new definition of “simpleng buhay” or a simple life. It means you don’t need to complicate things (very simple right?). In the 21st century, a simple life doesn’t always equate to poverty. You can choose to live simply but comfortably because you have a lot of options.
Declare your own holiday whenever you want. You can choose to eat tuyo (dried fish) or lobster or whatever you feel like eating. For me, a “simple life” now means having the freedom to choose or do ANYTHING that you want.