What is the best thing your partner can say to you when you’re down and feeling defeated? Deborah Tan thinks she may have discovered it on Sunday.
It was a horrible day. I woke up on Sunday with a nagging feeling that I should check my CPF account. I have known for a while that it would be a matter of time before I have to start servicing my mortgage with cash. Being self-employed meant that I haven’t been contributing to my CPF account for a while. With only money outgoing over the last few months for the mortgage, I knew my account is about to be drawn dry.
But I was still unprepared for the harsh reality of seeing the number on the screen. From an extremely healthy number of above $100,000, I now only have $4,000 left in my account. This means that in about 3 months’ time, I would be left with nothing. All that talk about having a Minimum Sum in your CPF account at 55 wasn’t helping either. I felt hopeless, I felt defeated, and most importantly, for the first time in my life, I felt unsure about my future.
At 35, I have only 20 years to build up a healthy retirement account with CPF. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so invincible anymore. The onset of the rainy weather did nothing to lighten up my mood. And it was with an extremely heavy heart that I went to see “A Singaporean In Paris” with Vanessa. I could definitely relate to the theme of leaving home, leaving it all behind, to start anew in another country, somewhere where, perhaps, the pressure wouldn’t be so suffocating.
Back home that evening, I sat on my couch – my super-comfy couch that every single one of my friends have decided is a fantastic couch – and wallowed in a super depressive mood. I was on the verge of an epic breakdown, the only reason I didn’t start bawling my eyes out was because I didn’t want the boyfriend to know what was wrong.
But he noticed and then he asked, “You’ve been in a miserable mood all day long. What’s wrong?”
“In about 3 months, we’d have to start paying the mortgage in cash,” I choked. “I only have $4,000 left in my CPF account.”
“Okay,” he responded. “How much is the monthly payment?”
“Do you have enough?”
“I do …” I replied, “I just don’t like the idea of an empty CPF. It’s a sad sight seeing how little I’ve got!” At this point my eyes had already began to prickle with tears.
He tried to keep the conversation and the mood upbeat. He went out to buy groceries and made dinner. And although he passed a comment about how maybe I shouldn’t have quit my job, the fact that he wasn’t all doom and gloom kept my semi-suicidal thoughts well at bay. He, along with my army of friends who responded to my Facebook status update about feeling depressed, really kept me afloat.
Of course my mood did not pick up immediately. Thoughts of how I’m basically screwed for retirement kept entering my mind. It’s not the possibility of losing my beloved apartment that scared me, it was the idea that my future seemed so uncertain that sent shivers down my spine. As much as entrepreneurship is an empowering journey, it can still send you a nasty surprise every now and then. On Sunday night, I wavered between staying true to my passion and caving in to my fears.
Just before bed-time a friend messaged me and I stayed up to chat on Whatsapp for a while. The boyfriend went off to bed on his own. When I finally got into bed, he rolled over and pulled me into a embrace. He planted a kiss on my forehead and said, “No matter what, I’ll be here.”
I couldn’t reply. I could only nod my head because if I said anything, I knew I would probably start crying.
Those 6 words, “No matter what, I’ll be here”, hold in them the promise of unconditional love and unwavering support. They spoke of how no matter how much I think I’ve lost, I will always have someone I can call my own. Those 6 words reminded me why I have chosen to marry this man – that come what may, I’m enough and he’s enough.
The only 6 words that truly matter: “No matter what, I’ll be here.”
Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of living together with a partner. Stay tuned for more!
About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. Her retirement plan now involves writing a series of books that’ll, hopefully, make her Singapore’s JK Rowling. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.
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