If you had everything you needed, would you know it?
I remember being asked, “…when is enough, enough?” I thought it strange at the time, but see the wisdom in such a question. The answer is really not the important end of the transaction. For me, asking the question is its own answer. When I take time to reflect, to question, to explore what is important in my life…in some strange way, it begins to conform to that perfection I seek so fervently.
I have lived most of my life by a formula. A formula I chose as an adult, but one that was inculcated within me from childhood. That formula was touted as “success.” Work hard in school, go to college, get a professional degree, work to get a good job: so you can make enough money to be happy. Once you have the good job, buy your first house, and pay for your first car, you can fill your life with things that make you happy. As you get older, you seek a long-term relationship, which often brings about other dependents: each of which comes with a contract of needs and wants. Once positioned, a larger house in a better neighborhood becomes necessary, more storage, a BBQ grill ;-), and another automobile: which means you also need a two car storage space! You work longer hours, take on extra assignments or part time jobs, all to provide for you and yours. Soon, the stress of your job means you need a golf membership at the local golf course, and then better clubs to work with. Factor in a golf pro, golfing vacations, and a subscription to the golf channel and magazine…well, you see the pattern. You need to get away, relax, or just simply rest and it costs a lot of money for these “sanity-savers.” With each step along this path, your means do not quite keep up with your “needs,” and a vicious cycle squeezes the very life from your bones.
In effect, success becomes the formula for our own demise. Constantly needing replacement, the consumer lifestyle is, by definition an unfulfilling one. We spend time chasing a shadow of happiness so diligently that we fail to see the joy that is available all around us for free.
No longer. No longer will I ignore the beautiful times that swirl all around me. I want to sip from the cup of laughter, swim in the pool of friendship, and bask under the warmth of a vigilant sun that energizes the world I live in. I want to do good work in areas of personal strength, while I use my resources wisely. I want to learn about the larger world. The world that has been just beyond the grasp of my experience. In so doing, I come to grips with my own reality in a way that was never before possible.
As a young boy, I would pine over the great novels and epic poems from British and American authors. As I ingested great works like “Paradise Lost,” “Walden,” “Moby Dick”and “A Farewell to Arms”, my mind was filled with ideas and a desire for adventure that can only be described as deliberate. It is the realization that I have much in common with Ernest Hemingway, John Milton, Henry David Thoreau, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and so many other dreamers that I draw inspiration to fuel my current travels, and encourages me to share them with others. As I journey, I see more clearly that I have long been infatuated with living a life that is above ordinary.
It is with the aforementioned authors’ blessing I find myself on the cusp of a new beginning. My time in Thailand is drawing to a close. It has been a perfect holiday. Many days I have not even left my hotel. Content in the experience to rest, heal, and love those who walk into my life on this beautiful front porch. I have come to a deeper understanding about a people and the land that connects them. I have enjoyed local food, drink, and even the occasional Guinness! I will say, the Thai people have much to learn about beer! 😉 Their approach to food, however, is absolutely beautiful. Fresh, vibrant, colorful and flavorful the Thai people take great pride in their national cuisine. It has been beautiful to share this time with such a happy people.
When we are young, we do not know about our socio-economic standing. We might be rich, poor or somewhere in between, but are not aware of the ramifications of such stations. That is learned, and as such, comes upon us later in life. As I look around, I see a people who are lovely as they are, all the while trying to “buy” as much western culture as possible. I hope they can find peace and prosperity within their own means, while continuing to celebrate the beauty that is the Thai people. I see the bounty they possess, and want to learn as much as I can from such an ancient and soulful civilization!