Recently updated on: September 17, 2023
What is the rat race?
This is what it feels like to be trapped in the vicious rat race cycle of salaries and expenses - a struggle to change your life. This was my life seven years ago.
A Day in a Life in the Rat Race
Alarm sounds. You pressed the snooze button several times before finally deciding to wake up at 5 am, 30 mins after your initial alarm.
You then drink your first of many cups of coffee for the day.
You entered the shower room and stood under the cold, flowing water above your head, wondering about different life scenarios and missed opportunities.
You then asked yourself, what could have been if I chose differently? What could have been - such a sad phrase.
You dressed up for work and wore uncomfortable long sleeves, pants that barely fit, black shoes desperately waiting to be replaced, and a backpack carrying your office laptop.
You rode the jeepney. The next is the bus, followed by the van. Three rides just to the office, and you ask yourself how much time you waste in traffic.
You arrived at the office 10 mins late and drenched in sweat. You sit in your personalized cubicle while staring at your screen while your computer starts and begin counting the hours before you can go home.
You went to the pantry and got that free cup of coffee—the second of many.
You sit at your desk, doing the usual routine of looking busy when people are around you. Opening another site in your browser and quickly pressing the alt+tab button just as your supervisor passes you.
Then there is the lunchtime - the time to talk with your colleagues. You asked how they spent their weekends, only to find out that you were all doing the same - watching movies, surfing the internet, washing clothes, and getting some extra sleep. Nothing productive or truly worthwhile.
One hour after lunch, you grab another cup of coffee to give you the aroma and warmth - the feeling of a hug to keep you awake for the rest of the day.
You then looked at your watch and saw just another four hours - if lucky. Additional working hours, if not.
Finally, you stood out of your chair for the last time during the day and bid farewell to your officemate, who is still busy with the workload he received for taking two days off.
As you step out of the door, you realize you’ll walk a kilometer to the jeepney stand while waiting in line for the jeepney, followed by a van, then a bus or train. Everywhere you go, you have to stand and wait in line.
You arrived near your house at 8 in the evening to eat dinner in your favorite fast food restaurant before finally going home and retiring to bed.
You then watched a few episodes on Netflix and scrolled down on your favorite social media before finally falling asleep at midnight.
What an exhausting day, you told yourself - only to repeat it over again for the next four days before resting on the weekend.
The only motivation to work is the salary given once or twice a month. Packaged with fifteen paid time offs during the year, HMO, bonuses, and promises of a promotion or raise.
You then spend your next salary today, confident you will always have another after a few days.
Welcome to the rat race - a competition wherein most players eventually lose - a never-ending pursuit.
The question now is, "What can you do?"
The rat race is perennial if you let it take control of your life.
You need to find that passion everyone is talking about and realize that the world can be as small or as large as you let it be. Trust in God's plan that everything will be alright and eventually fall into place.
What Can We Do?
You can do several things, and trying new things will open up more opportunities and experiences for you.
- Start a hobby. Pick up that guitar you always played when you were younger. Or start writing a blog.
- Travel. Go to places you've always wanted to go and learn about the people and their culture.
- Interact with people. Join the club you've always been curious about, or maybe contact your high school friends to see what they are up to.
- Get your finances together. Start by having a budget, build your emergency fund, get insured, then invest.
- Read a book. Realize that Harry Potter is much, much better in writing. Or, know that C.S Lewis is one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.
- Volunteer. See the world from an entirely new perspective. And realize that you have more than you thought.
- Run. Feel the breath of fresh air in a city full of negativity.
There are many things that you can do in this world. Something that, at the end of the day, you can stand and stare at the finished product and have the confidence to declare that "this is truly worthwhile."
To escape the rat race, you must decide the most important things. Know your why, and realize that you need to establish your options. But more importantly, you need to start working on yourself.