June 14, 2016. I was in a hurry to get to Fort Bonifacio for an appointment. Taking advantage of the latest ‘technological advances,’ I opened the Uber app in my phone and was delighted to find that there was no “surge.” That meant that fare prices were at their lowest. I quickly booked a ride and in less than 3 minutes, I found myself sitting inside an elegant Toyota Camry. A man in his early 60s, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and with a friendly smile was my driver. I sensed something different about him. He looked like an office executive based on his manner of speaking and appearance.
I learned that he was a semi-retired financial consultant, with driving as his sideline job *insert impressed emoji here*. My question led to an unforgettable exchange of thoughts and ideas that lasted for more than 40 minutes. We talked about politics, and about how the new administration could possibly bring about change (either positive or negative) in the country. It was too early to tell, but we both agreed, “change should start with each and every Filipino.” We both hoped that the economy would continue to see growth and, that growth itself, would be more inclusive. Along that hope was a dream that the wearisome transportation problems will be solved. (I think this was when we were stuck on a particular street . . . for a long time!)
The heavy traffic would normally be annoying, but none of it mattered because the driver was eager to share his ideas regarding politics, financial markets, life, and “love life.” He even gave me some specific life advice such as: (a) maximize your time by being productive because time is a precious commodity; (b) surround yourself with friends; expand your network; (c) happiness is relative; he told me that I can choose to be happy; (d) make your health a priority; (e) it is okay to spend for yourself; however, it is better when you time it after completing a task, like a reward; (f) it is important to maintain a relationship with God; (g) choose to forgive; you cannot move on completely in your life unless you’ve forgiven people; also, before asking for forgiveness, learn to forgive yourself.
A few minutes away from our destination, I had my notebook out and was jotting down some 60 years worth of wisdom. He also mentioned that if he could write a book, he would make a “not to-do list” (contrary to the popular to-do lists that we see in bookstores). I asked him to summarize his top 3 and this was what he shared:
Don’t just write a short-, mid-, or long-term goal. If you want to achieve something, start working on it in as soon as possible. Make time for it. Live life as how you would want to be remembered in the end.
Don’t be financially unprepared. You have to prepare for the rainy days and as well as for retirement. Save and invest. When you give your tithes, you have to separate it right away, upon receiving your salary.
Don’t let your life be controlled fully by your heart or your mind alone. You have to have balance in everything.
My reason for sharing this is that I was experiencing some form of “quarter-life” crisis. I felt ‘lost’ and in need of direction in many areas. Who would have thought that an Uber ride would give me a fresh, new perspective? Whenever I’m confused and don’t know what to do, I tend to go to Google and search for answers. However, life has a way of reminding us that sometimes, the answers can be found in unexpected places . . . sometimes, from unexpected people. Thank you Sir Jun, and always drive safely!
Mar Andriel Umali is an Assistant Professor from the Financial Management Department, Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He is on a quest to find the best hot chocolate in the world and is not, in any way, affiliated with the company Uber. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.