RT Cunningham


Living the Good Life in the Philippines

Driftwood Beach Pier - the good life Some people are never satisfied. The good life could be staring right at them and they’d still choose to ignore it. I’m not ignoring it even though it sometimes seems I’m doing exactly that.

I’m living the good life in the Philippines. I have no worries at all.

Living the Good Life Takes Time

The attitude I see with the younger generations is that they want the good life now, right now. I’m living the good life but it wasn’t always this way. I had to put in the time it took to get here.

It really doesn’t matter which country I’m talking about. The younger generations don’t seem to be willing to wait for the day when they won’t have to give a damn about anything at all. I see Americans with that attitude and I see Filipinos with that attitude.

I chose to retire from everything work-related when I was 45. I could have waited, but only if my stress-levels tapered off. I did the math, sold my house and moved to the Philippines before I could change my mind.

Work, work, work, work, work

Yeah, I know, it’s a Rihanna thing. But it’s what I did all the time, starting at the tender age of 11. Despite what my siblings always said, I came from a poor family. I had four brothers and four sisters (now it’s only three). If I wanted a new pair of shoes, I had to work for them. And work I did.

The first job I was ever hired for was selling newspapers and it was only once a week. The small town I grew up in couldn’t support more than that.

My family (my parents’ family, of course) moved to Hawaii when I was 13. After a year and half, I applied for a job as a part-time janitor for the school I attended. I was hired. I made a whole $2.40 an hour when the national average for the minimum wage was $1.30. Yes, it was a long time ago.

I joined the military when I was 17 (I turned 18 in boot camp). I retired from the military when I was 37, after 20 years. I started drawing a pension equal to half my base pay at retirement. That was more than 18 years ago. My pension isn’t even close to half now and I can thank government shenanigans for that.

I had various jobs after the military, the longest being with America’s largest trucking company. I think I spent about four and a half years working as an accident claims processor for them. I would have quit that job even if I hadn’t made the decision to retire. The daily stress was eating me alive.

My Good Life

I married my wife, Josie, more than 31 years ago. I’ve learned enough of her native language to communicate comfortably where I live in the Philippines. I’ve lived here, in Olongapo, since April of 2006. Yes, it’s been more than 10 years.

The hardest decision I have to make is what I’m going to eat for breakfast every day. Really.

I remember one of my former coworkers complaining that I was living off the government’s teat. I spent 20 years doing what I didn’t want to do and going places I didn’t want to go. I put my life on the line for the people who refused to do the same. The government rewarded me with a pension.

I’m living the good life, everyday. I may complain about some things, but that’s just me.

Share: Facebook | Twitter

By RT Cunningham
July 14, 2016