Coming Home

Source: Flickr Author; Shubert Ciencia

There is a little known fact on this place called Candelaria. The place where I grew up, made friends, and had a happy childhood. The place where I had been withdrawn for so long.

Candelaria is one of the towns in the coastal province of Zambales. People live a simple life, go about their business with little effort and worry little of the unbeknownst. Almost everyone knows each other and overall there is a peaceful co-existence on the community. Unlike the big cities, it does not have shopping malls, towering buidings or big parks to go to. It does not have heavy traffic and  no air pollution. The town is almost quiet at early evening, having only few young revelers to meet if you walk down the streets. People are delighted to watch basketball game in the plaza if there is one or attend traditional pre-wedding dance outs where you will find people, young and old, mingling together to celebrate. Overall, life is so laid-back into my hometown.

I have been living in the metro for nearly a decade now.  For those years that I was so busy making a living, I seldom stayed long to take time out from the hustle and bustle of the city. I grew accustomed to the fast- paced world that I have been living for nearly ten years that at times, I neglect to appreciate the charm of this place that cradled me when I was a little girl. It seems that the good old memories of my childhood was long forgotten and was replaced by the worries of petty things. In the long run, I almost lost the sense of belonging to this tiny weeny town.

But the circumstances led me back to this place where I grew up and re-opened my consciousness to this beautiful placid place that molded me to what I am now. It beckons me to come home, stay for a while and drink to its simplicity and beauty, unparalleled to what other place can offer. It encourages me to stop for a while, re-think of my directions and focus to what is more important to me- my family, my friends and my life. Most importantly, it teaches me that life is too short not to enjoy.

Everytime I approach the bridge that connects Candelaria to the rest of the world, I feel my heart skip a bit. Knowing that I will be coming home to a place where everything falls perfectly into place makes me exhilarated with joy. Seeing familiar faces of people whom I knew from the old days makes me feel the reconnection that I have lost. Exploring the once -favorite places once again- strolling into its quiet streets, watching the young ones play in the plaza, buying your childhood favorite food, watching the sun sets into its beautiful beaches- and simply letting myself immersed into its laid back beauty restores my sanity. Most of all, coming home to the little child who taught me to take a step back and live a life, who loves me unconditionally and with such innocence, rekindles my ties to my little hometown.

And Candelaria will live on to nurture more children into good people that by time it will relinquish them to the world its fervent hope is that the town will never be forgotten.

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The Search for Work- Life Balance

Work- life balance is a phenomenon that is yet hard to achieve. There are many written how-to’s all over the internet and self-help books, but for many professionals, this seems to be as elusive as finding a pirate’s treasures. Everyone who works their asses off would know how toxic is the working environment nowadays and the demand to keep up with competition produces a lot of stress. It is a comic irony that I am writing about it since I myself has difficulties in converging work and personal life into a yin- yang of co-existence.

The advent of globalization is one of the reasons of the rise into the demands to increase productivity of all industries. To keep up with the global competition and to stay into the business, companies opt to ramp up the KPIs of their employees, setting up high targets and devicing new strategies in achieving them. One of these strategies is to maximize the current employees capacity in delivering maximized outputs. Oftentimes, this entails long hours of work, sometimes eating up part of employees rest days and holidays.

Another contributor is the modern technologies that supposedly keep our lives easier. Communication devices such as mobile phones and emails which aim to keep us connected to the people important to us are sometimes overused to the point that it is choking you up. The fact that you can open your mails everywhere, or you can receive calls whenever and wherever you are, makes it easier for you to fall victim to work overload. These things that  supposed to make us more productive can cause life imbalance in the long run making it even harder to achieve the elusive work-life utopia.

Although most companies have included to there human resource programs of providing perks to address issues of having a well-balanced life of the employees , many still fall to the pit of work exhaustion because of the economic necessity. In these days where unemployment is high, the security of tenure is low and inflation is growing, the pressure of maintaining one’s work drive many of the employees into workaholic individuals, sacrificing personal living in exchange of economic gain. The aggressive competition within the workforce, the allure of promotions or higher pay contribute to the pressure and a threatens to take a toll to one’s well- being.

In the end, having a  balanced life is as exhausting as working into achieving one’s KPI. Understanding one’s capacity as against one’s needs is important into finding ways to a more holistic approach of living life to the fullest. Setting up realistic goals is also necessary to lessen the stress and take off unnecessary burdens of the workplace. We work to make a living and not living just to work. Having a happy personal life, connected to the people who matters to you is just as important into keeping one’s paycheck.