• I Am Sam.

Five kinds of people to have in your support system

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a strong support system. I’m talking about in general. Not even about moving to a new place, or starting a new job. I mean in life, it’s important for us to have a support system - people we know we can count on when times are tough, no matter where you are. Someone once compared their support system to a board of directors for their life. Every time she went through a tough decision or situation, she had those people she could count on to give her the best advice, or to lend a helping hand if and when needed.

It might take awhile to meet the people that will act like the pillars in your life. I also believe that the people in your support system will continue to change as you get older. Of course, you’ll meet new people, old ones will fade away. Times change and so do people. So don’t be surprised if your board of directors today won’t be the same as ten years from now. I’m still in the process of building my support system, and through this process so far, I’ve found that there are certain types of people you should try and look for to add into your support system. I’ll talk about a few of them here.

1. Find someone like Sep

This would be one of the most important ones for me. Living abroad and away from family can be extremely lonely at first when you haven’t made those new friends, and you haven’t found your rhythm. I’m lucky to have someone like Sep who I can call pretty much any time I feel the need to ugly cry - and I mean hideous, video call, incoherent mumbling kind of ugly cry. By now she’s more than a friend, she’s like the older sister I never had. I met her back in 2008 in college. We took the same classes two semesters in a row, and for the whole of the first semester, we didn’t talk to each other because well… I thought she was a bitch. Then one random day during our second semester we had a short break inbetween classes and went to the cafeteria together and boom - we just clicked. People like Sep are the best people because usually they’re the ones that know you well enough to say the right things to cheer you up. Find yourselves a Sep. You won’t regret it.

2. Find someone like Alyssa

Some would argue that you don’t necessarily need someone like Alyssa in your life, but I have always felt like it’s good to have someone that is carefree to keep you young and adventurous. While the rest of the world is telling you to be responsible, Alyssa will tell you that you need to also do things that bring you joy and pleasure - even if it's a little crazier than what you'd usually do. She’ll tell you to live life to the fullest, to jump out of that plane, or to get that tattoo! While her advice may not always be the best, she will always be supportive. She’ll bring good vibes to your life. Alyssa is my little sister; my crazy half. I rarely do anything that’s a little insane, but when I do, I can always count on her to give me that little push forward. It’s probably why I go to her about things like that because I know she’ll always have my back.

3. Find someone like Mark

If you have someone like Alyssa, then on the opposite end, you need someone like Mark. I met Mark a couple of months before I left the Philippines He’s the kind of person that would tell me if I’m starting to fall off my track, or would challenge me to really analyse what I want to achieve. He’s encouraging, but in a different way. He makes me see what can really be done in the amount of time and effort that I can afford to put in. You need someone that is aware of current times, but also wise enough to give you good advice. Someone stable in a sense; someone that can help you find your way without telling you which way you should be going. Someone that would give you enough clarity without hindering you from going for what you want. Mark is someone that I can call and tell my problems, or goals to, and he’ll tell it to me straight if I’m missing a few screws in my head. I get mad at him sometimes for crushing my dreams, but I usually realise later on that there was some merit to what he said, and I’m glad he can be blunt with me about these things.

4. Find someone like Rod

I added this one in mainly because I have decided it’s about time for me to start really being an adult. I need to look into investing my money in a responsible and smart way, and the reality is I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. I was never really the type to follow news on stocks, or the new big thing on the market, or to look into investing in real estate, a car, the right bank, blah blah blah. I never really thought I had reached that age where I should be thinking about it, and now, damn. I wish I had started earlier. Find someone who can give you advice on this. Preferably someone older, someone with actual experience in investing their money, and preferably someone with a good track record. To be honest, it doesn’t even have to be about investing. It could be as simple as giving advice on how to budget your money. Now, I have Rod, my dad, in my life who is kind of like a financial/life mentor to me. I don’t necessarily go to him for any particular advice, but when there are times that I get confused on what path to go down, whether it be financial, career wise, etc., I shoot him an email and he always gives the best advice. Find someone like Rod. Learn what you can from them.

5. Find someone like David

David is my escape. He’s been a friend of mine for a couple of years now. I met him in the Philippines through Sep, and the three of us have even traveled together. He’s like an older brother. When times are rough, and I get stressed out, all I have to do is give him a call, and he’ll let me take over his PlayStation and shoot some people in Call of Duty. Then while I’m playing, he has this amazing ability of asking me questions and getting me to talk about whatever is stressing me out. It’s almost like a therapy session. I always end up going home feeling calm, and relaxed. I think it’s because he generally doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of things, and when I rant about something, he helps make me realise that I’m usually just overthinking or making a big deal out of nothing. Most of the time, we let our emotions react first before analysing the reality of situations. Find someone like chilled out David. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to go to someone and not have to worry about the rest of the world.

I’m sure there are other kinds of people that you should have in your support system. This is in no way a final thing; as I’ve said, I’m still in the process of trying to figure myself out, and I’m sure I’ll continue to meet and learn from more people as I go on my journey. Maybe you guys have a few suggestions of the kind of people that help you out through your lives. At the end of the day though, the main point I’d like to make is we are social beings. I don’t think we were made to go through life on our own, and I think it’s important for us to have that small circle of people that we can rely on. Don’t ever feel obligated to have certain people as part of that circle just because they’re your family and you feel like it’s meant to be that way. Rather, take a look at those that are actually helping you out, and appreciate them for what they do. Who are these people? How have they helped you? How can you continue to learn from them?