Forgetting We’re in Thailand
We spend unhealthy hours in the hotel room. Days and weeks are sliding by while we work silently in our parallel worlds. David sits programming while I am writing, or researching, reading, etc. At times we forget that we are in Thailand. Like those moments in the check-out line when you realize you’ve gotten everything except precisely what you made the trip for, “the milk! Hurry up, someone run and get the milk!”
One of us will suddenly experience as an abrupt revelation and remind the other, “Thailand, we are in Thailand, we should doooo something!” This results in an awkward moment of staring at each other. One of us with hopeful anticipation that this will spark a new adventure, the other feeling a distant wave of recognition arrive slowly from a far-away shore, “Yeah...Thailand…” which comes out sounding a bit like, “What’s Thailand again?”
The return to the present moment is almost tangible. With a shared reality once again intact we accompany each other to the balcony to gaze out. Yup, Thailand. It is still there, it’s not too late. A few guilty sighs and shrugs before we promptly plunge again deep into our respective projects.
As the evening light begins its shadow journey across the room and another day has come and gone we vow promises: tomorrow- tomorrow we will rent bikes! We will explore the jungle! We will play with the gibbon and ride the elephant!
Working through another night, we plow along like responsible college students during exam week. And true to form, wake groggy approaching sometime late afternoonish and decide it foolish to pay a full daily rental for bikes when half of the day is over. Heck, it is lunchtime already and we’re hungry.
So begins again our cycle. Someone said they knew people who lost years of their life in Thailand. I wondered what that meant. Wherever you are, there is your life. How can you lose it? (Accept for the obvious- which wasn’t the topic of this discussion.)
In Michigan I was working 10-14 hours a day. Leaving the house in the dark of pre-dawn only to return in the dark of post-dusk. My thoughts were consumed with what was happening at work. Was that living or losing?
It wasn’t any more or less important than what I am doing now in Thailand. But one thing is for certain, life was out of balance then too. We all know, anything out of balance is at a cost to the other pieces. Those are the pieces of life that are lost: lost experiences, relationships, opportunities for personal growth, happiness.
You can spend whole days which become weeks and then years working head down in a stack of office papers. Likewise, you could bum on the beach, ski slope, basement, etc. for just as long.
Time ticks for us all at the same rate regardless the activities we chose or locations in which we do them. I am reminded that living a full and happy life requires monitoring and discipline to keep it in balance. There is no paradise where this happens for you automatically. It is a job we must each do for ourselves.