My friend lives in Corinthian Gardens, one of the most expensive addresses in Manila. And owns a heated pool.
His household expenses go above Php 100,000 (or USD 2,000) per month, which for me is a bit preposterous given that the collective salary of my husband and I do not even reach that amount.
Yes, being a businessman in an SME does not generate you that much income.
My cousin plans to send their son to International School, whose tuition reaches at least a million pesos per year.
Hubby and I plan to send our daughter to the local Christian school, my alma mater, where tuition is probably 5% to 10% of the total tuition paid by my cousin for her kid per year.
So yes, I can pay for 10 years of schooling for daughter in just 1 year of my cousin’s son tuition.
My parents’ friends are billionaires and grace Fortune magazine covers. Their children, the second generation, who are the same age as I am, manage thousands of employees and earn millions of pesos per day.
I struggle to pay overhead and the bills. Every 14th, during payday, I admittedly get depressed because that means, our company bank account suffers a hit.
Yes, we are comfortable but in no way are we gazillionaires.
We live in my husband’s parents condominium (which does have an unheated swimming pool), own second hand cars (bought at heavily discounted prices), and our baby’s clothes are from Divisoria and 168, where Filipinos buy the cheapest items.
Well, we can still afford a babysitter for our baby, and pay all of our utility bills. We can afford to have hot water and an aircon turned on for the entire evening. We can eat out in most restaurants we pick around the area, and if we need a loan, my husband’s parents can give us access to cash at 10% maximum interest.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have married someone richer.
A billionaire (I kid you not!) asked me out once or twice before, and I could only gape in awe as he talks about his billion-peso projects, and his ability to still play golf early in the morning. Marrying him would mean a life of hedonistic pleasure, and the ability of me buying whatever I want, whenever I want.
And as I manage our cah and struggle to pay our bills, I wonder — should I have married up?
Then I look at my adorable daughter, who looks very much like my husband and shares many of his mannerisms. I don’t think I would have her if I married Mr. Billionaire. Nor will I be as hands on as a mother as I am now.
Then I look at my husband, who doesn’t mind that I don’t do any housework, and dutifully prepares his own instant noodle midnight snack when he’s hungry, without pestering me too much.
Then I look at our fledgling business, which has grown two-fold over the last two years. Sure, we can’t afford to pay our people salaries similar to that of multinational companies, but at least these are good people, and loyal people, and it’s a pleasure for me to see them grow and build their lives around us.
Then I look at myself, who, despite our tight budget and relatively heavier workload, is forced to work hard and build “our own empire” with hubby. Maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated it more if everything was readily handed over to me. It would be better for me to actually work hard and deserve the wealth we slowly but surely make.
Yes, the grass is definitely greener in the other side.
But the grass is also greener on my side of the fence.
And I guess, despite not having a heated pool, I don’t really mind having it in this way. Our way.