An Interesting Conversation ...

Not everyone reads comments and this one far surpasses the norm, to become more of a conversation.  Hope you don’t mind me reproducing it in the form of a post, but I would hate for anyone to miss it.  It is an excellent example of the conversation of life, filled with observations and questions and a soul searching introspection.

Reader:
So, for introductions, I've just read through your posts from start to finish over the last two days. Something about you, your style of writing, your life lived, caught my eye I guess. So I started at the end, and jumped back to the beginning, then worked by way back to here.

You have an enviable life. And from what I've read, you deserve it. You are a very interesting person. A rare soul. Could be said. I'm still trying to figure you out a bit. You write like who I want to be. Yet you come from where I am. I'm still trying to piece the two together. But still finding it more than difficult to reconcile the two, and to find my way to where you are, from where I am.

You have the dream, with the eloquence to match. Yet it's hard to find out how to make it to where you are, your piece of happiness and contentment, from this reality of messy life. I have the feeling that you were once where I am now, that you dove right in, and past blogs gives me the hint you were.

Life has a funny way about it. You can see where you want to be. Then go the opposite direction. Then find others who found the right path, and give you a bit of a nudge in the right way to go. Your steadfastness is astounding. But inspirational. I do have my doubts you were always this way. But the fact that I do kinda think you were once a little "weak" like the rest of us, but have found a solid base inside to make your life how you imagined, to be inspirational. Yeah. ok, that's a big word. But we're all just scouring the net looking for a little inspiration. Just how it is.

I don't usually have much to say, since blogging and chatting is usually a lot of talking for the sake of nothing. But I read your 1.5 years or so posts in 1.5 days. Funny how your years worth of work can be digested in such a short amount of time. But still, it's worth it, it's out there and it gave me a great deal of enjoyment and inspiration. Most of us are needing some inspiration nowadays, and it's not often we find it so clearly laid out as here.

Village Farang:

Surely there can be no greater reward for a writer, than to have his words read and appreciated. To have someone give up their valuable time to read your work, in its entirety, is an amazing gift. For that gift, I humbly thank you.

It is a safe bet, to assume that I have not always been this person. The strongest steel must truly be forged from fire. My journey is not yet finished I might add and one hopes for the wisdom and understanding to continue moving forward, to becoming a better person.

There can be no static state of being until we cease to be, so there will always be moments of weakness and doubt. I possess no special powers and have surely made my share of mistakes. By not reaching for certainty or conformity, I may have left the door ajar for this life to come and find me, however.

The only inspirational words I can find at the moment are that, as little power as we have over what happens around us or to us, we do possess the ultimate power of how we choose to respond.

Reader:
I don't, by any means, mean to hold you up to a measuring post and say that you have arrived, and have nowhere more to go. I realize you are just at a moment in your life, and still have a lot of learning and growing yet to do. However, from my perspective, I see where you are, and am judging myself against your progress. What would life be if we strived to arrive at a certain point, and lived "happily ever after". Obviously, we never arrive, we just are, and continue to struggle.

My only observation is that you tend to struggle a little less than the rest of us. A little less than myself, at least. You know nothing of me, and yet I know so much of you. Or at least what you put down on these pages, and what you have chosen to reveal.

I once, and still do, dream of the quiet simple life that you left the door open for and find yourself living now. And yet being the perpetual dreamer I found my little foray into thailand life somewhat destructive, both on my personal beliefs and my finances. An all to common theme, of that I am more than well aware.

I am striving for the peace of mind that will allow me to extract what is good and what I find I need from that place, but also the strength of character to forego what is not, and ultimately destructive of everything I seek to attain. I've always prided myself of having the clarity to see what I want, and the moral certainty to go after it and make it so. Recently I've found out I'm mortal, and too easily at home in the sewers so to speak. Turns out it's a little harder to clean yourself off after rolling around in the mud, than I once imagined.

I think what struck me about your writing, is that you don't come across as preaching. But rather, talking from someplace where you are quite familiar, and yet have risen above. I think it's much easier to look at the wind blowing across a rice field in the evening sun and find contentment, when you know there is nothing better, or higher, or more satisfying out there. Just over the horizon. Most people always are thinking, what if? What more? What am I missing? You have contentment which is above what most people seem to have. I can only guess, but I would say that it is because you have seen the other side of the coin, and now know the true meaning of happiness. A house. In a field. In a valley. With your trappings of happiness.

I know no one can ever truly be happy. And there is always the what ifs? I more than anyone know about freedom. I've lived out of my suitcase for the past seven years, lived in hotel rooms in 34 countries in seven years at last count, value my freedom above all else. But yet found myself one days craving a base. Somewhere to come back to every now and then. Which ultimately led to a rather unadvised condo purchase down south from you. Needless to say my attempts at putting down roots haven't gone according to plan, and hence my retreat back to the road to replenish the coffers and reprioritize the future plans.

"The only inspirational words I can find at the moment are that, as little power as we have over what happens around us or to us, we do possess the ultimate power of how we choose to respond."

Funny how you quote the only thing which really makes any difference or sense in life. Your future is what you make of it. Period. Plain and simple. That's it. You are the sum of your actions.

I have always strived to bring my actions in line with my true intentions. But I think I have always hidden behind the one truth that everything I do, everything I've done, has never been done in ill will to anyone. If anyone, only to myself. I've always treated everyone around me as I would want to be treated, despite repeatedly finding that I rarely ever get the same in return.

From what I read from your posts, you say that you always were rather guarded to those around you, that you always kept a safe distance and complete control, and only started to open up with your wife. To soften so to speak. Myself, I've always been a bit of a softie, but only for the girls. and that has gotten me into more trouble than I care to speak about here in a public forum. Not as in a thailand newbie sense, as I've been here long enough to speak the language reasonably well and know the score. But more in general to all girls, thai or not. My dad was a softie, hence so am i. I've always said I shouldn't change, and yet now I find myself debating that.

Anyways, the point is that you seem to have validated for me, intentionally or not, that you can still be a caring human being with respect for your partner and people in general, with an open and introspective mind. And yet still have the iron mask on that allows you to survive in a tough world full of guys that try to drag you down to their level. If you could last most of your adult life in Bangkok and yet still emerge a caring and sensitive soul that you seem to be, then there is hope for the rest of us. Or at least for me.

Village Farang:
Reading your comment, I feel as if I might be glimpsing a previous version of me in the mirror.  Certainly doors once opened can never be fully closed.  Life leaves its mark (or mud) whether we know it or not, as you have found.  I assure you my control and apparent suit of armor were donned only after surviving my share of pain, as self protection to guard what semblance of humanity, that remained untainted.  For some, the pursuit of women, is born of contempt and conquest and primordial urges.  For me it was a romantic and idealized pursuit of perfection.  It took me longer to work through that than most, and arrive where I am today.  Somewhere along the way I came to the realization that happiness cannot be acquired or bought but must be found within.  If you cannot find happiness with what you have, you will never find it with what you acquire, purchase or pursue.  I don’t necessarily agree that there is nothing better out there.  I have not found perfection but I have perhaps perfected my view of what I have.

While it is true that Bangkok has brought many a man to his knees with its well documented temptations, there is no better place to explore the often dark and unseen corners of our being.  Hidden amongst the dangers is the potential for great discovery and self knowledge.  Somehow I do not find myself overly concerned about your path.  Your intellect, instinct and introspection will surely guide you to where you need to be.