Learning From the Worst Month of My Life

A few months back, I went through a series of life crises. I didn’t tell anyone about my problems before making sure that everything fell in its proper place. I just decided to write everything down. You wouldn’t think those days that I was in distress, because on the shell, I was seen as happy and positive person. Everybody thought I was living the life.


It all started in April. Back then, I was planning to move out of my flat, as I was starting to dislike it. I got plans but obviously, those were dumb. 


Then my laptop, which I had been using for more than 3 years, malfunctioned. I cried. I cried not because it got broken, but because I couldn’t afford the cost of the repair.  Contrary to what most people think. Just because I own an Apple product doesn’t mean I have lots of money. You see? That’s funny. I know. But I needed to have it repaired anyway so I was left with no choice. Good thing, one of my closest Japanese friends sent me a hundred dollars and another one sent some via PayPal, so I could have it repaired. That would cost me an arm and a leg, and it would take more than a month to get fixed. I almost died. Seriously. 


As a result, I couldn’t work. My best friend Greg saved me by letting me use his laptop until I got mine back. I was moved. And then my dear friend, Lara, was also willing to lend me hers. I couldn’t contain my joy because finally, I could get back to my online work and, hopefully, save up for my future plans.


But my struggle didn’t end there. One day, the owner of my flat made a surprise visit. It was a bombshell. It was the day I was praying would never come, as I had not paid the utility bills which piled up. And I was behind my monthly rental. ( Overlooked it for some stupid reasons) I was ashamed,  apologized and begged the owner to give me time to raise enough budget. I told him I would just leave and pay my balance when I had enough cash. Evidently, it was a stupid idea. He disagreed. 


I didn’t know what to do. I was helpless and broke. Broke AF. When the owner left, I broke down in tears. I cried myself out. I started to look back on yesterday and asked myself what went wrong, how I got in that situation. I was broke and soon to be homeless. Like wtf?!


What the owner wanted me to do was leave and pay all my dues in a short period. Nobody knew about it. But I asked Lara if I could stay at her flat for a while. She didn’t hesitate to say yes. And then I ran to my sister and told her the whole story. All the bloody details. Without a word, she provided me with what I needed. I could now breathe. 


I was halfway paying the whole amount.


But it didn’t end there. One night, when my sister was about to go back to our flat, the security personnel at the lobby didn’t want to give her the key. We used to leave the key at reception, as there was only one for both of us. Apparently, the owner confiscated it. That time, I was on a bus from my hometown. I was shocked and sensed that something is not right. She told me that the owner wanted to see me. I then told her to inform them that I was on my way. 


Things were real. I couldn’t run away from the result of my actions. I was petrified on the bus. Upset, anxious. I could feel the situation devouring me. 


When I finally arrived, the owner and I had a serious discussion which somehow led to a positive result. 


Amid the chaos, I learned some lessons that I wanted to share with you. 


Savings is very, very important AF

Too many times I questioned myself over and over: Why didn’t I save up? I had been earning more than enough, but where did it all my money go?  I spent it all on my travels. I think I overdid it. I used to think that #YOLO is my motto. Sure, that sounds exciting, sounds like adrenaline rush because we’re young and free, but if you live until tomorrow, then you get sick but have no money, what would you do? Especially when you have no one to run to. Your savings will be your only savior no matter what. Save as much as you can. You’ll never know what you might be facing, so it’s better to be prepared than to be sorry.


Never forget the people who were willing to help you

I was afraid and ashamed to let anyone know about my situation. I only slide hints to my sister and to my best friend, but never disclosed the gory details, because I was afraid they would judge me. But the people whom I thought would just let me stand on my own and saved me. From my sister who lent me money to my best friend Greg, close friends Lara and Asha who let me use their laptops. Sometimes, we tend to neglect them when in fact, they’re willing to help us without judging.


Don’t forget those who let you down either

During those thorny times, I got in touch with my ex-boyfriend, ( because that time, we’re almost like a couple and planning to meet in June, finally )  and as far as I can remember, he’s one of the people I got the courage to put first in the picture. I never expected him to help me especially with financial matters, because he was never helpful anyway. But I tried. He told me though that perhaps my family, or my friends could help me. Then I asked myself, if my friends could help me, why couldn’t he? What’s the matter? Then, one friend offered me help, but in the end, I didn’t receive any. I guess she’s good only at words. I resent them. I just realized I should never ever rely on them. We can’t always expect people to support us but don’t hold grudge against them either.


Money is a big issue 

When it comes to money, you can never trust anyone. No one will shower you with the bucks you need unless of course, he or she is a generous millionaire. Never open up a topic about money to someone whom you’ve just known for a short while, unless you fully trust them. Sometimes, the blame would still be on you. If you’re not comfortable talking about finances, don’t. 


You can’t be independent all the time; you need other people’s hand

My friend and my ex-boyfriend told me that I should be more responsible in all aspects. It’s my life. I am not their responsibility. I swallowed to the nerve. I guess they were right. If I were responsible enough, I wouldn’t end up in a pitiful situation. But hey, nobody can be independent all the time. Can we? We can’t consistently stand on our own. We sometimes need other people to support us and to give us a hand. In life, we can’t always have good times. And relationships will be tested during the hardest times. 


Crying is okay, let your tears drown you (for a little while), then get up

A few weeks after Lara lent me her laptop, the laptop went off and was dysfunctional. I called her via Messenger early in the morning to tell her that the laptop wouldn’t work. I had to cancel my lessons for the day. I was crying. I thought I was an unlucky person. I was still broke and I couldn’t afford the cost of the repair of another MacBook. So I cried and cried and screamed inside my room. She told me it would be okay and I shouldn’t worry. 

The tears would help you feel better. It’s okay. And start thinking of the possible ways to bounce back. Crying would make you feel better.


When you feel something is off, find a way to get out

Upon struggling to get myself back on track and occasionally sleeping at Lara’s place, I figured that I badly needed to move out of my flat as soon as I could. I didn’t feel good upon coming back to my old flat. I was sad. She told me that her place is open for me. And that’s exactly what I did.  I didn’t want to think that staying longer in my flat would make me unhappier, but I wasn’t comfortable either. I should move out and move on. 

Learn to know your priorities 

You don’t live to just pay your bills. Sayings of people are full of adventures. ( and of course, YOLO) But paying your bills is part of your life, electricity, internet, rental fee and all of those are on the top list. They’re not wants and even though you don’t want them, you can’t get rid of them. Pay them on time for fuck’s sake! 

In the end, you can never expect people to meet your expectations. You and only you can get yourself back on track if you have the will. Help yourself and let the pain suck you in for a while. Be more responsible next time. Money is hard to earn and easy to spend, definitely. But if we’re wiser to think of a better tomorrow, you wouldn’t end up in a situation wherein people’s pity is overflowing. That’s not very nice at all. 


As of the moment, I haven’t been out of the country and started to live my nomad life.  Too many things have changed since then. Good, bad, and unexpected ones.  Besides working hard and saving up, I am now working on a new chapter of my life. But that’s for another writing.

On a personal note, I couldn’t be more thankful to my dear friend Lara for saving my ass from that disastrous event of my life. From letting me stay at her flat, letting me take advantage of her stuff and for the unconditional care and company she’s been giving me. She’s truly an amazing woman. And to all the amazing women in my life, my sisters, Amber, my mom, my techie friend Jec, my super girlfriend Asha and my super bff Greg. Kudos and I love you all! 

Born, raised, and forever loyal to the Philippines. Catherine is a teacher and a BA in Mass Communication graduate who loves anything child-friendly. She loves writing in her diary every day and is in love with beaches, books, Safari, and Tokyo. Her ultimate dream destinations are Madagascar, Mongolia, and Hawaii. Check out her van camping adventures in Europe at


  • Ms Val

    You summed it all Cathy! I was in your situation, money less and almost no one to run for. But hey, close friends didn’t fail me. They know me when I have money and spend like there will be no tomorrow ?. Anyway, beside of my friends, is my supporting boyfriend. He helped me when I was out of financial.

    You’re right as well. We can’t be consistently independent without some help from the others sometimes.

    Cheer up Cathy! We need to save for the future. Broke AF is terrible!

    Thumbs up for this story of yours!

  • Marge

    I can definitely understand why you felt bad when your ex boyfriend didn’t help you. I mean wtf, what a way to be supportive. The reason we go in a relationship in the first place is so that we have someone to share our life with and with that comes supporting each other. Having said that, I think you made the right decision to end it. I am also happy that you were able to go through the hurdles and that you have learned so many important lessons from it. The biggest thing of course is to save! Save Save Save!

  • Katherine

    Ugh I can relate to this. When you’re broke you’ll finally realize how important savings are and – sadly – who are the people you can rely on. I had an emergency about 2 years ago. I didn’t have savings either. I asked a well-off close friend for a small amount of money. She didn’t help because she believes that money borrowing ruins friendships (it did for us, just not how she thought it would). I told my dilemma to another friend who gave me the amount the next day… and you know, this person just had her house destroyed by fire a few months back and during this time she was still struggling emotionally, mentally and financially, so it made the gesture more touching. I was moved to tears. I believe that you have to be there for people important to you… and yes that involves giving financial help at times (given reasonable circumstances, of course).

  • Claire Summers

    Oh, Cathy, I feel your pain! I have been there too. It’s true that you realize who your friends are in that situation. I also work online and have a Mac. It’s second hand and when it broke I almost had a breakdown too! Yes, its expensive but I don not have a lot of money and without a computer, I can’t work. So I understand how big a deal it was and how amazing your friends were to help you out. I’m so glad things are looking up for you and I’m sending you lots of positive vibes x


    Your line “Crying is okay, let your tears drown you (for a little while), then get up” really caught my attention. It is really okay to cry, it is not a sign of weakness whatsoever but rather a sign that you are broken and waiting to be fixed. After your crying, stand up, move on, and live your life. That’s just how life works.

  • Anita

    God, yeah that happens usually in the worst moment… sorry for your experience but it is always a lesson right 🙂

  • neha

    You are a brave girl. I remember going through a similar phase in my life when things were all going wrong, stuck and frustrating. I was so worn out..but then slowly things improved and life seemed to be falling back in place bit by bit. I guess happens with many of us

  • Swati

    Great post Cathy and thanks for sharing it. I think the biggest mistake people do is not save. I think it is very important and also to know who your friends in need are ! I wish you are never in such a bad situation again !

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    Bad times come and go, but they teach us lessons and we can learn a lot. Good to see that you have taken adversity head on and taken a positive note out of it. That is the way to take on life, head on. Appreciate your grit and determination.

  • bye: myself

    That’s what travelling – and the journey of life is all about: a permanent up and down – tables turning. It’s encouraging that you share this very personal story and your feelings. All the best!

  • Veritru ST

    Thanks for being honest and sharing your crappy experience. I think your life lessons are definitely something to be taken seriously, but congrats for sticking with it and acknowledging the people along the way that held you up.

  • megan_claire

    This is inspiring, because life always throws us curveballs and obstacles, but the important thing is to be able to take lessons from even our most trying times. I too have learnt that savings is very important, and the importance of being able to open up to people close to me about my problems, and that it’s ok to cry sometimes, and to ask others for help. It takes a lot of courage to share such personal insights in a public space like you’ve done – thankyou, you would be surprised how many people this has helped, and how many people can relate!

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