Hi! I’m John Pucay (pronounced Jaan Poo-kuhy).
I’m an indigenous person (Kankanaey-Ibaloi) from the Philippines. And I mostly write about relationships, dating, polyamory, and running. But since PSILY is closing (and 80% of my relationships articles are published there), I may focus more on other topics I’m interested in, like: career, work, and mindfulness. And continue the running and polyamory stuff.
I quit my corporate job in 2019 to pursue writing full-time. I moved back in with my parents in early 2020 to “stabilize” my writing career and finances. Then the pandemic happened. So far:
You can’t “learn” to stop chasing money. It’s easy to say someone should get a career rather than a job, but it’s not that simple if you’ve only ever lived in piddling poverty.
It’s a mindset I know well: I was born and raised poor in a developing country. I’ve been chasing money all my life.
Have I heard about how to chase dreams and build a career? Sure! Have I seen books and podcasts on financial literacy, investing, and wealth-building? Definitely. Have I been exposed to all those sunset images with inspirational quotes about doing what you love? …
I watched Sofia Coppola’s On The Rocks last night. The film is about a wife who suspects her husband is cheating. We see the wife struggling to trust her husband and rejecting her playboy father’s advice, like investigating her husband’s hotel stays and private messages.
It’s a nice movie, but I can’t help see their marriage problems — the central plot of the movie — and think that those won’t even be problems at all had they been non-monogamous.
Even if they’re monogamous, the movie could’ve ended in 15 minutes if the characters knew to be self-aware and communicate openly…
I have a friend who I’ve been close to since high school. When I broke up with my long-term girlfriend, this friend became the closest person to me. But we don’t speak now.
It’s not like we had a fight or anything. We simply don’t go out anymore.
5 years ago, when I still believed in “fighting” to keep the people I cared about, I would’ve brought pizza and ice cream to her place and badgered her to open up.
But now, there’s a part in me that says, “Hollywood-like gestures might bring the relationship back. …
She asked for a last date. I agreed. She had three requests.
“Can we have our last date for an entire day?” She asked.
I said we could. We’ll spend the day together, present in the moment.
“Can we act like we’re still together?” It was her second request. I agreed. I said I’d treat her the way I did back in college. Back when we were in-love beyond humanly possible and we believed we’ll make it through a lifetime, together.
“What’s the last request?”
She hesitated. “I’ll tell you during our date.”
It was a quiet July…
A publication paid $150 for my first personal essay. That’s a purely personal piece. Not some clickbait content that’s so popular in blogging nowadays.
It’s a story about freeing myself from a soul-sucking job despite being stuck in 3rd-world poverty. I like to think it’s a more nuanced account of how things really are for the “working poor.” I wrote it to show the process that changed my mindset on money, time, and career.
I’ve just started publishing at the time. Yet I was welcomed with modest success. Sure, other people were even more successful with viral articles and so…
Running a 10K race is no big deal to most people. Even a kid could do it. But I was unhealthy, weak, and going nowhere in life. That run tested my mediocre limits. It revealed self-limiting habits that messed up my goals and life decisions. This sobering self-awareness showed me exactly what I needed to change to live better.
During the race, my run went this way: I would run or jog until I couldn’t run anymore, stop, then switch to a comfortable, walking pace. I’d catch my breath and recover enough strength to run again — but I didn’t…
“Tell me about The Tunnel,” Kayla asks. She probes at details other people often missed.
And The Tunnel is a detail I’d rather hide.
I shrug and take a swig of beer. “I might’ve dreamt it up and I can’t prove anything. It’s not a scientifically reliable story.”
“And it’s not a very short story either,” I added.
Kayla reaches over my bottle and gulps twice. “Has anyone ever told you that you make too many disclaimers?”
I smile. We’re in a retro diner at two past midnight. A jukebox is playing ballads from the 50s. I look around; three…
In his song, “Old AF,” Alex Aiono says it’s difficult to feel young when you’re burdened by responsibilities.
“Being young is pretty easy to forget, when you’re 16; paying mom and dad’s rent.”
I remember when I was 9 or 10 years old, a charity volunteer who visited my village in Baguio City was amazed when she learned that I hand-washed my clothes and did the all-around chores at home.
She said I was so grown up and independent. She said she wished her kids could be as responsible as I was. I didn’t tell her that I occasionally earned…
At 13 years old, Naila realized that happiness is like an alien disease to her. She’s so used to hardship that her body didn’t know how to handle anything else.
Every day after class, Naila helped her mother sell meat at the public market. On the weekends, while her classmates went on trips, picnics, or family restaurants, she did chores at home. Then she’d help her mother do other people’s chores in other people’s homes.
When the chores are done and the meat is sold, Naila studied hard. She attended an exclusive private school she could never afford. So one…