10 Tips on How to be a Happy Matandang Dalaga

It's 1:45 am, Saturday.

The only noise I hear is the humming of my old laptop. It's 4 years old. I bought if for Php25,000 after I resigned from my advertising agency job. It has earned me hundreds of thousands. I don't want it to conk out just yet but I also won't take it against it if it does. After all, I think I've pretty much gotten my money back... and then some.

It has been with me in the most important turning points in my life - when I quit my high paying advertising job to pursue writing full time and when I decided to leave the Philippines and move here in the U.S.

This laptop knows my thoughts, the struggles I went through before I finally made this life altering decisions.

No, this is not a post about my laptop. I'm just amazed at how such a seemingly insignificant thing can become so much a part of us.

One of the things that I wrote about often is happiness. I think it really is the point of all these. At the end of the day, we do the things we do because we think it will make us happy. Even if it makes us miserable but makes our loved ones happy, that will still make us happy in the end.

I'm still working on mine. Not that I am miserable or unhappy but I can't say I am "there". I do know one thing, I need to work on getting there or I'll get stuck here forever. There are things I want in the future and I know I will eventually get them but I also know that I have now and I need to work on being happy now.

Read the 5 Things in Life that are Worse than a Heartbreak

#1 Explore Often Ignored Places

Museum. Parks. Libraries. Exhibits. Historical places. Galleries.

They don't seem an exciting place to be when you are young. After all, what kind fun would you expect to have when all you can do is walk slowly while you look up at "important" paintings, objects and what-nots which you can't even touch. What's there to books? Why waste your time going to a cinema that show old movies or movies with a language you can't even understand? What's in a park but grass and trees?

Ah... the foolishness of the youth. There is so much there. There is so much to appreciate and so much to learn. There is so much to understand and not understand. Museums, parks, exhibits, galleries, historical places... go to all those. Learn what important historical event took place in that place or the subject of the painting. Ask people around you for details, read about it.

I guarantee there is so much to learn that will help you grow, whether it's a paining with an interesting story which you can use for your next blog entry or a military strategy that you can use to become a better salesman.

You can afford to do it if you are single.

Right now, I have made it a point to spend my nights writing and Saturdays out. I either go hiking, go to museums and parks, watch a movie or spend time with my friends. Most of my friends are married but if no one is available, I just do things by myself. It is fortunate that California is full of museums, parks and galleries I can check out but there is no shortage of places to explore in other countries either. You just need to look hard enough.

Follow me on Twitter: @fjustf to check out some of my photos and some short musings. You may also follow me on instagram: @fjustf

#2 Learn New Things

Enroll in a guitar class or acting class or coding class. Learn something new. It may be something connected or totally removed from your current career. It doesn't matter. Just learn something new.

This may allow you to:

  • have an alternative career
  • personally grow
  • add to your skills which you could use to get promotions
  • think a business venture
  • widen your network
  • meet new people
  • have fun
  • keep you occupied

#3 Have a Plan For a Future [Where You are Single]

There is always a chance you will end up being single forever. Yeah, it's scary but it is what it is.

The only thing you can do is make sure that IF it does happen, it will become a life you will like. Envision what kind of life would that be and work hard into achieving it. Yes, it's important to live for the moment but happiness and contentment is something you should seek and work hard for.

I know I still want a kid and I want to have one when I get to 40, biological or adopted. It doesn't matter to me. I don't know if I will be married by then but regardless, I want to make sure that when I do have one, I will make sure money will be less of a problem. I want to save enough to ensure the future of my future kid.

I want to buy my own place here, a fully paid house and get my sister to study here too. I want to be able to get my parents to have a vacation here at least twice a year.

I have no idea how I will do it but that's a future I will be happy in whether or not I am married.

#4 Invest or Save

A necessary but irritating truth is that we all need to work for our own keeps. We all need find a way on how to make money. Many end up being employees, that includes me. I work for eight hours, one hour to prepare, and two to three for traveling and preparations. Then I need to sleep for at least six hours.

That leaves me three hours to do what I want to do.

I don't want to be like this forever. I quit my advertising job in the Philippines because I didn't want that anymore. Now, I am starting over again. But I don't want to take another 10 years before I can afford to quit.

Investing now or creating something that will give me a steady stream of income so I don't have to worry much about paying my bills is the way to go.

My books (thanks for the great review, by the way), blogs and other investments will hopefully earn me enough to secure a comfortable future where I won't have to work 8 hours just to "get by".

#5 Volunteer

There are a lot of non profit organizations that do a lot of work for different causes. Find one that you like and volunteer.

There is habitat for humanity that always needs volunteer in building houses. There are animal rescue groups. There are organizations that tutor children. There is soup kitchen.

Just find one and volunteer because:

  • it is simply humane to help just because
  • widen your network
  • you will find joy in helping without anything in return
  • at some point in your life, someone who didn't need to helped you... pay it forward

#6 Enjoy Your Money

You are single. Your money is your own. Go ahead and shop. Go ahead and buy what you want. The whole advantage of being single is that you get to worry about nothing else but you.

If you want that pair of shoes, buy it. If you want to go on a solo trip to Boracay, do it. Enjoy your income. That's one of the benefits of being single. Take it.

#7 Don't Be Guilty 

Just because you are single and the one with no responsibility doesn't mean you have to be the go-to person when a friend or relative needs money. You don't need to sacrifice your own desires just to be able to help your friends or relatives with their "more important problems". It is okay to say no. It is okay to say no to a friend borrowing money because you need to money to go on a trip. It's your money.

Don't be guilty for the life you are living. They are not for theirs. Don't be guilty for buying that expensive bags even if means your sister can't pay her child's tuition fee. She wasn't guilty when she got married and leaving you single.

It's your money.

#8 Focus on Your Career or Passion 

If money is not an object, what would you really be doing. For some people, it's traveling. Others, it's to get married and have lots of babies.

I want to write. After 34 years, I finally figure it out. Writing is what I want to do. I want to write books, movies and TV shows.

That's what I am doing. You need to find your passion and start doing it. You can quit your job and do it full time or you can do it while you are doing your 8-5. Just start doing it.

#9 Forget Courage, Be Stupid 

Do something you are scared of or thought you will never do.

Do you think you can never travel in another country alone? Do it.

Do you think you can never act, enroll in an acting class. Are you scared of skydiving? Are you scared of snakes? Are you too shy to join groups or organizations, join a bike group or travel group.

Conquer your fears. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something crazy.

#10 Give Back to Your Parents and/or Siblings

Then there is that obvious one. Give back to your parents. Take them on a trip to some beautiful beaches, give them shopping money, take them to another country. Your parents aren't getting any younger and, of all people, they are the ones who deserve your love.


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