My husband left me for a younger woman. It seems to be a norm these days with middle-aged men. All of the women in the PTA are divorced, and all our husbands have some honey who has a 26-inch waistline. My therapist even told me that we had to work extra days so that I can cope, but no. A twist of fate led me to a successful life, not just financial. It was a total recovery of self.
But let me tell you my story.
At forty, with a 10-year-old in tow, and nowhere to go, I left our 5-bedroom home, because he wanted to take her to the house where our child grew up to, and we were evicted. I got my share of his money, and since I was a homemaker, I didn’t have that much. Half of the house after it was sold for a meager price, a super old car, some home equipment, and half his bank account, I had to start over. At forty years old, I was clueless and blank.
I originally came from the Philippines, and so, I planned to take a year off after the divorce – just a vacation. My son is home-schooled, and he is doing pretty great actually. His education was not going to be a problem since there were home-schooling curriculums in the country, plus he is a dual citizen. But what I didn’t know that I was going to build my life again in this heavenly country. The last time I was home was about 25 years ago, and I never came back. I didn’t know that I was going to go back, but situations change, and life changed. It was meant to be this way.
My half-sister took us in and helped me a lot with the recovery. She is a guidance counselor, thank God, and so my sister to sister bonding time with her became my therapy sessions. I was depressed, who wouldn’t be? My hair was a mess. I was a mess. My life was a mess, but I had to be strong for my son. And so, with my half-sister supporting me, I had to organize my life. I decided to stay in the country permanently.
First stop was to find my son and me a home. Good thing that in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, Davao City, the properties are way too cheap; well, comparing it to homes in LA. I didn’t want anything significant. A 3-bedroom home was enough for us, with a small kitchen, a living room, two toilet and baths, and a garden with a 1-car garage. I wanted a simple life, and I had to budget my money. I remember Bahareh Talei, Psy.D. statement when she said, “How you view your finances and speak about them can change the way you feel about them. In turn, how you feel about your money will strongly influence how you manage it and deal with challenges.”
Funny that a 3-bedroom house in LA would cost anyone roughly a million or two dollars. In the Philippines, it was three million pesos, which are equivalent to $60,000. I am not kidding! What a steal, right? I had the whole place landscaped, bought new appliances and stuff, and for a month, the move kept me busy. The broker, who sold me that house, which was also my half-sister’s best friend, also became my friend. And at times, I would go with her on trips as she brought clients to the places or areas she sold lots, commercial properties, buildings, and houses.
“So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” Lillian Harris LCPC-C said. After three months, I still didn’t have any work. If I wanted to become a teacher, (I was an educator back in LA before I got married) I had to take the board exam here. It will be another year. I was okay with it, and money wasn’t tight yet. But God steered me differently and made me an entrepreneur.
An idea came to mind when Lina, the broker, “tripped” an American couple at some beach properties in Samal, which is near Davao City. She would earn P100,000 a month, at least, which was considered above average making in the city. So I asked her how she did what she did. She said that she has a boss who is a developer and he buys lands that are cheap but up and coming resorts in the country. At the pre-selling price, it was a steal for people who wants to have rest houses at the long beach stretches in Samal. And then, there are other resort-type beach lots as well. She would pre-sell them and get a big commission.
I followed her footsteps. My “business” of selling properties started with family members, friends in the country, and even friends in the US. I was so shocked when after offering properties to my American friends, they welcomed the idea of having a resort business in the Philippines. Of course, the work I did was not all peaches and cream. Not everyone I offered properties to wanted to buy them, but for those who did, it made up for the “no’s.”
“Putting things in perspective and treating yourself with love and compassion can be such a gift.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT often says. My life is great now. I lost weight, my hair is healthier, and I look fabulous for a 43-year-old. As for my real estate business, it is thriving, and soon, my dreams of becoming a developer are making its way. My son is in a private school and has transitioned well. He has lots of friends, good boys, and girls from God-fearing families. I heard that my ex-husband and his young wife eventually separated and you know what, he is PM’ing me. Hahaha. Seen mode.
One thing I learned is that when life pulls you down, you must believe that you can climb back up. Surround yourself with people who are hardworking, positive, and achievers because they will help you succeed in all aspects of life. But then again, you also have to motivate yourself to grow. I’m not saying that money will make you a better person or will make you feel better. What I’m getting at is that when you know your purpose for each day, you will become a contented and satisfied individual. You will be contented if you love what you are doing. If you love what you are doing, then your life is just great. God bless! Life after a divorce can be fulfilling.