“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln
This is it. To be honest, I’ve been dreading writing this. Not for any sentimental reasons or because it’s “the end,” but mainly because I don’t know what to say. But I’ve been proud of this blog and thought it needed an ending.
How do you summarize almost three years of something? …“It was great!” …“Such an amazing experience.” …“I learned so much.” Yeah yeah. I don’t want to rattle off clichés and you don’t want to hear them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re true and living in Thailand has been one of the most formative periods of my life, I just don’t know what to say about it.
I officially got back to the states last week. It’s been great being home with family and the food is amazing. However, in regards to being back otherwise, someone summed it up best with one instagram comment. “Welcome back! …you haven’t missed much.”
Recently, I read Paulo Coelho’s book, Aleph, and there was a particular quote that stood out:
“Our life is a constant journey, from birth to death. The landscape changes, the people change, our needs change, but the train keeps moving. Life is the train, not the station.”
Life may be the train, but there are things to be learned at each stop. You just have to allow yourself to absorb those lessons. Let your mentality change.
Since I’ve been away, I’ve met many different people on adventures similar to mine. Of all of them though, the ones who got the most out of it, by far, were the ones who truly embraced the madness. Consciously leaving your comfort zone lets you learn new perspectives and see new ways of doing things.
Six months in, if somebody had asked me what it was like living in Thailand, I probably would’ve said that it was fun, frustrating, exciting, and humbling. And it would’ve been true. But isn’t that how we’d describe any significant period of our lives?
Change happens slowly.
There are a few things though that I feel I’ve gained from this experience that I hope to carry with me going forward.
For one, patience is a beautiful thing. We live in an instant-gratification, time-is-money kind of society. And when something gets in the way of that, we get frustrated. And nobody enjoys being frustrated.
There are inevitably going to be times where things are out of our control. But instead of stressing and getting upset over why things are the way they are, sometimes it can be easier to just recognize your circumstances and focus your energy on figuring out how to deal with them.
Number two. “Make a conscious decision to be happy.” This phrase really represents the Thai way and is part of the reason why they’re called the land of 1000 smiles. It can definitely be easier said than done, but it really makes all the difference. The mindset with which we approach things in life is one thing we can always control.
The last one actually came to me the other day as I watched Chris Rock on Seinfeld’s coffee and cars show. Rock essentially said that everything we do in life is dictated by the company we keep. If you eat an exquisite meal with an asshole, it’s gonna be a terrible meal. But if you eat a hotdog on the street with an interesting person? Now that’s an excellent meal. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and who bring out the best in you. Great experiences usually follow.
I may write an epilogue at some point, but for now, this is the end. In the past 32 months, Thailand became my second home. I have incredible memories, lifelong friends, and lots of selfies to remember it by. I don’t know what’s next, but whatever it is, I plan on enjoying. It’ll be different, but that’s okay. Life is life regardless of where you are.