When a year starts with you having a motorbike accident and ends with a friend committing suicide, on reflection you might think wow, that was a biggie! Throw in the world being turned upside down by a global pandemic, your Dad being involved in an accident where someone dies, becoming the sole breadwinner for your family, there being no money to defend your father in court and your girlfriend of six years leaving you, and the whole thing just starts to sound a bit insane. I kid you not, this was 2020 for me.
So where were we? Oh yes, the motorbike accident. In January 2020 I was travelling home on a bike late at night after seeing friends off at the airport. A dog ran out in front of me from nowhere and I was sent flying after hitting it at speed. It could have been a whole lot worse - I sustained only minor injuries and wasn’t off work for too long - but I’m still traumatized every time I see a dog on the street.
We all know where the world went in March 2020!
So fast forward six months to September 2020. My Dad is (or at least was) a taxi driver. Long story short, a young man crashed into his taxi and incredibly sadly died. Despite CCTV footage from a nearby gas station proving it wasn’t my Dad’s fault, my father was detained for three days in jail and stripped of his taxi driver’s licence. Filipino law detains everyone involved in an accident, guilty or not. Until the case is reviewed in court he won’t be able to work again - and we haven’t had the money to engage a lawyer and get the legal assistance he needs to resume his life. As if this is not enough, the family of the deceased wants to claim compensation, despite there being no fault on my Dad’s side. I’m an only child and live at home with my parents. By the grace of God, I am employed full-time as an Accountant for an Australian-based business. I work remotely and online in the Philippines through their offshore outsourcing partner. With my Dad no longer able to work, not only was our family suddenly completely reliant on my income to survive, but we had to dip into our savings and borrow from family members to pay Dad’s fine and meet our day to day expenses. Lawyers are not cheap - I think anyone, anywhere, would agree that access to legal representation comes at a pretty steep price.
I think I mentioned earlier that my girlfriend of six years left me - a week after my Dad’s accident. The two weren’t related. Just pretty bad timing. Emotional rollercoasters aren’t much fun to be on. I shut most people out - including my friends. Blocking out the surreal pain and not feeling anything at all became my go-to coping mechanism for a while. My parents have been battling to come to terms with it all as well - wondering and doubting how we were ever going to get through this. I felt responsible for them - emotionally as well as financially. With no siblings to help shoulder the load, I don’t think they fully understood what a burden everything felt like. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings, doing our best in a world that can be pretty hard-going at times. My faith - I’m a devout Catholic - has helped. Through my darkest hours, a small voice in the back of my mind told me to hold on - that something was going to come up - that the only thing that I can control is my attitude when life throws these kinds of curveballs. Whenever my negative thoughts threatened to drown me, I would shut myself in my room and talk to God. He gave me assurance that everything was going to be ok - and I believed him.
The end of the year bought some light. I had somehow managed to continue putting on my A-game when turning up (at my laptop in my room of course) for work. Noone had any idea what I was going through, but the culture was incredibly supportive and caring - we were all made to feel valued - and like we mattered - every single day. The outsourcing partner I am employed through recognised my positivity, good team player abilities and helpfulness in the work environment with two separate awards. One was a project where I felt drawn to share the power of positive energy, no matter the external circumstances. It highlighted how your thoughts literally create your reality - and how important it is to always focus on (and be grateful for) what you have, rather than what you don’t. ‘Living in the moment’ had become a mantra of mine. Letting go of worrying about what might happen to me - and thoughts that didn’t benefit me - became the only way to stay sane when everything seemed to be toppling down on me at once. I always had my work environment to escape into - it had become a place of comfort and solace. It allowed me some respite from being alone - and made it easier to take control of my emotions. I was learning that if you can hold on to seeing the bigger picture and believe that everything will somehow work out, solutions will come. It was almost Christmas but 2020 hadn’t quite finished with me yet...
If my story is hooking you in and you’d like to hear more (super succinct!) first hand tales from some of my teammates, click here for more #unleashinghumanpotential stories.
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