How is life measured?
By Aoo Felipe
December 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we always compare our behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reels.”  —Steven Furtick

Have you done something relevant today?

Prove it. Post a photo, tweet it, blog about where you went and who you were with and what you bought.

How cool are you? How hip? How pretty? Post it and let the number of comments and “likes” dictate how valuable you are.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is the prevailing message I get every day as I clamber out of bed. It seems that in this selfie generation, we measure people by their highlight reels posted all over social media while we feel stupid and lazy and ugly, thinking: How is it they can travel, eat, or buy what I can only dream about while I endlessly toil in an 8 to 5 job, go home exhausted, only to feel more insecure as I see more of these “look what I did today” posts and repeat the endless cycle the next morning?

It begs the question: How is my life really measured?

Am I measured by the things people see? The currency we deal with now is status and material things. We are unconsciously always pining to show people we are better than they think we are by endlessly broadcasting anything in the line of self-promotion. If this is the case, how come I have never met a patient on his deathbed wishing he had been promoted more, or had more money, and bought more things?

It’s always relationships. People always wish they had more time for relationships. It’s all anyone says when faced with mortality.

I wish I invested more time in relationships. That I had laughed more and hugged more instead of being arrogant and competitive. To have listened more than speak. To have given importance to being kind rather than being right. That I had often looked into her eyes and been in the moment rather than sat through dinner typing away at a smartphone.

There are remarkable people in this world—shiny, glimmering in the spotlight, successful, confident, and brave. But I’ve noticed that there are also the quiet ones: They get up each day without any fanfare or parade. They live the day without the need to prove anything, and throughout life refuse to make ripples or gain recognition. They would rather have as their reward the gentle laughter through a family dinner, the sweetness of cuddling her husband, the stories they share when he drives his son to school. They measure life by love and hard work and sacrifice. They speak a simple truth, and can be counted on the most.

While we admire the first kind with all their positions and wealth and status, I find myself daily being drawn toward the second.

Aoo Felipe, MD, 28, is an internal medicine resident at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. He says his nanny passed away after struggling with Stage 4 breast cancer. “She lived the most unassuming, quiet life without any entitlement—neither marrying nor possessing anything—and it was a beautiful life. Because I knew her, I have been changed for good.”

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

View Comments