Lessons from
the Trenches:
Living the Dream
In the Slums

Recently, I wrote a guest post about what living in the slums taught me about entrepreneurship and Bjorn, who hosted my guest post article, mentioned that I’m living the dream in the slums. I never thought about it that way, but I guess it’s true.

I’m living the dream, and I happen to live in the slums. I’m living the dream in the slums. How is that possible? I used to be so ashamed of living here. It was the most degrading, humbling thing in my life. I would curl up in a ball and start crying my eyes out, wondering how I got myself here… Always waiting for the day when it would change, but not really taking the action towards it. Feeling “stuck”.

Now I roll with the punches.

Brightened my attitude.

It makes a difference.

My life is like a reality TV show.

That was an epic fail.

Amazing Race: Philippines, you don’t know what you’re missing by not casting this extraordinarily remarkable Asian sensation. I’m not in show biz, I’m not conventionally pretty, but I got one hell of an underdog story and your typical, formulaic casting is just subpar to the intelligence that I obviously emanate. I don’t even know what the hell I just typed outta my ass (not to say that I’m dull) but I’m rolling with it.

I auditioned for Amazing Race before I realized that this shit was canned and they only pick people who are already famous and already gorgeous (not dogging on my looks here, or fishing for compliments either, just not primed for primetime and I know it). But whatevs. I’m living my dream. And if that means I make my own reality TV show using myself as the subject and embarrass myself all in good fun (what’s with the nose flare?) then so be it. You can’t take this shit so seriously. Loosen up a little. Laugh at yourself. Have fun.

I’m not in show biz, I’m in blog biz, and that’s even better!

Oh, right, but I’m living the dream! I’m going for it.

I went to a meditation retreat recently and practiced the art of walking meditation.
Rise, forward, fall. Step. Rise, forward, fall. Step.
As I was moving in repetitive steps a thought popped into my head.

You’re doing it.


I’m going for gold.

I’ve been so focused and anxious on becoming successful that I never stopped to realize that I already am successful.

Define Your Success

Success isn’t necessarily the circumstances that you’re under. It’s something that you’ve got to define for yourself.

How am I successful?

I’ve broken free from a day job, an office job, a shudder to think 9 to 5.

I quit my job, sold my stuff, and flew on a one way ticket to India and the Philippines and never looked back.

I’ve broken free from credit card debt, owning a car, owning a TV, and owning furniture for that matter.

I started from complete scratch in a foreign city, supporting two people (my boyfriend) on $3,000 a year and lived to tell the tail.

I report to no one but myself (and my clients from time to time).

I shook things up. I lived life outside my comfort zones.

I live life purposefully. Intentionally. Consciously.

I am doing it.

I’m exactly where I wanted to be, living my dream. Making it happen. Creating it. Going for gold.

Sometimes, you have to sift through all the dirt and grime before you reach the gold. It ain’t a glamorous job. But it ain’t for the sissies either. The weak-willed.

Sometimes, you just gotta take a deep breathe and realize what you’ve accomplished is so much greater than the dirt on your hands.

Realize your current circumstances don’t determine who you are. Realize it can wash away, and everything will change.

Change is the only constant.

Don’t worry. It gets better.


Your Turn

How do you define success? What steps are you taking to living your best life; living the dream?

Each of us is doing it whether you realize it or not just by waking up day to day and existing. How are you DOING IT and what does your life journey tell about you?

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

More Posts



Powered by Facebook Comments

  • http://twitter.com/JanetBrent/status/255077742268256256/ Janet Brent (@JanetBrent)

    Lessons from the Trenches: Living the Dream In the Slums http://t.co/jGwiPz8n

  • http://twitter.com/JanetBrent/status/255122961571397632/ Janet Brent (@JanetBrent)

    “I’m not in show biz, I’m in blog biz, and that’s even better!” http://t.co/nba8nOEn

  • http://twitter.com/VishnusVirtues/status/255141193149710340/ Vishnus Virtues (@VishnusVirtues)

    I’m living the dream, and I happen to live in the slums. I’m living the dream in the slums. via @JanetBrent http://t.co/xJ6CvaXt

  • http://amanofnonation.com/ Kevin Post

    I too lived in one of comunas of Medellín for over a year on about $400 a month to support me and my wife. Now that I look back it was a time in my life when I learned the most. We lived in a 22m2 apartment and it forced us to get out of the house as much as possible before going to sleep in our roach infested box. I feel that a part of my heart still yearns to go back to the comuna.

    Now we are living in my mom’s lovely four bedroom house in Maitland Florida with a big backyard. I wouldn’t say my thirst is quenched but when I ponder about it I am so happy that I am able to give my wife a better bed to sleep in and a safer neighborhood.

    I have a feeling that good times are ahead for you my friend.

    • http://www.byjanet.net Janet

      thanks for following along, Kevin!

      I’m fascinated to know and realize that my experiences may be similar to others.. My place is about 25-30sqm so its not too bad.. and cockroach and mice infested.. it’s minimal! Though our cat has caught 1 of each so far.

      And as for living with parents, it’s totally cool. I call it smart and practical, especially these days! But also culturally, it’s really accepted and the norm here. So I don’t care about breaking social norms and doing the same thing in the states.. since social norms are changing anyway.

      I appreciate the kind words. Good time ahead indeed.

  • http://www.vishnusvirtues.com Vishnu

    Look at you go Purple Panda! I’m enjoying watching the journey too – the slums to the corporate commune is such an American dream story but not in America 🙂 Wait – are we still calling it corporate commune or was that just me? The Amazing Race missed out – are you going to do your own reality tv show now?

    • http://byjanet.net/purple Janet

      hahaha i think it was just you 😉 corporate commune makes me kind of cringe. besides, i may have jumped the gun too soon and it might not happen now. hmm. time to be my own hero..

  • http://culturemutt.com/ Bjorn Karlman

    AWESOME! I got a mention:). I am so inspired by you Janet. Way to blaze your own path…

  • http://culturemutt.com/ Bjorn Karlman

    BTW… I used to bucket shower when I lived in Western Pangasinan.. The water came on for like an hour once a day. Good times… When the running water was off I would go pump water from a well by s pig pen…

    • http://byjanet.net/purple Janet

      yes! you get a mention! haha thanks..

      bucket shower is quite the experience! One hour a day sounds about right.. lol. I never know when I actually have water. It’s so unpredictable. I also experienced showering outside with a well before. That was kind of neat actually.. It was behind this bush in the rural area so COMPLETELY private but still cool to be in the elements.

  • http://www.thegypsygals.com Prime

    Good luck Janet. I’m wishing you more abundance – in money, love, life

    • http://byjanet.net/purple Janet

      thanks Prime! 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/RekayaGibson/status/258424134403497985/ @RekayaGibson

    Lessons from the Trenches: Living the Dream In the Slums | Purple Panda http://t.co/wXY5G5bU