This is not a unique story. I’m sure there are a lot of couples who share the same. But this is my own. And I want to share it with you especially for those who might be experiencing the same dilemma I had prior the decision.
“It’s better if you stay together because you are already married.”
“Things are different now. It’s not like before when you can just decide for yourself.”
These are the advice I got when I asked some people on whether I should accept the scholarship offer for a PhD in another continent. I won’t think twice if I was single, for sure. But it’s true things are different now. I have recently committed to someone for the rest of my life and decisions are no longer made by me, alone, for consequences will affect not only myself but that of two souls.
But despite all those discouragements, I will still take the flight to cross oceans and time zones so I could do my PhD. We both made the decision to fulfill what I want.
I know what I want
This is what I want. I know that it is difficult for many to find what they really want to do in life in terms of career. It takes years, perhaps a lifetime. Many of us are stuck in jobs we drag ourselves to every morning and some of us may not even be aware that we are in such situations. But for sure, each one of us has something we are really passionate about. At the same time, we have to ground such passion onto reality.
I have tried as many possibilities as I can in order to find my niche, what I am good at and what I love doing. (Usually, if you love what you do it automatically makes you good at it). I have tried various sports with the thought that I can be an athlete in the future. I even tried to be a cheerleader, a stage actress and, believe it or not, a model. I failed in those but I don’t have regrets and I didn’t waste my time because trying them made me realize that those are not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I love to write and I read like crazy. I watch too much documentaries and I am eager to listen to others. These are the things that I am sure I will be doing until my eyesight fails me, my hands become too fragile to write and my ears deafen by years. These are my foundations; these are where I will start. After such realizations, I tried to find a career where I can do all these things I love, a career that will not only feed my passion but also my stomach.
Then it hit me! I can be a good student, a teacher, a researcher. I will read and write and study to fulfill my passion and to earn. (As I said, I cannot afford to be an idealistic given the harsh realities of life.) I found what I truly want and I committed myself to it.
Marriage is not the end
I am grateful that my husband is very supportive of my passion the same way I am to his. Our relationship has conquered distance, time, cultural boundaries and discouragements from others. He knows me more than anyone and he knew that when I received my offer, I was in a dilemma. So he helped me reach a decision.
“Go for it! You will not regret something you are happy doing. And don’t worry about me, I will find ways.”
My husband is blessed with a stable job and a PhD offer as well, but in another continent. (As my friend say, I have to get used to this transcontinental life).
Perhaps to make myself feel good about our decision, I concluded that marriage is not the end of my dreams. You marry someone so that both of you can enrich each other. Marriage should not kill your dreams; in fact, it should help you reach for them. Then I felt good because these thoughts hold true for us.
True, life is different now that I am married but it doesn’t mean that I have to scrap what I have done and achieved in the past. True that married couples should be together but who said that pursuing my dreams means separation? True that I have to consider our future and I am, in fact, doing this because of our future so I can show my future kids how to dream, how to choose the right person and how to continue to soar despite tying the knot. I want us to be their examples.
It will be tough
Of course, it will be tough. Of course, it will be a gamble. But life, in general, is tough and everyday we have to gamble with our decisions. And to those who discouraged us, thank you, for you actually encouraged us to be stronger and to prove that we can do it and to show that those conservative advice do not apply to the minds that are far from conservative. We both respect traditions but we don’t want traditions to lock our dreams and stash them behind the institution of marriage. Our vows are not our limitations; our vows are our inspirations.
To our family and friends who supported this decision, thank you for understanding and believing in us.
I will leave in a few days. And in a few months, I will be with him again, stronger, more matured and armed with knowledge and experiences that will surely contribute in making our marriage last forever.