It kills me when people say I’m “lucky” to finally be living the dream of being a professional writer living abroad. I understand the good intentions, but come on. This shit took a lot of painful work and sacrifice. How could it not?
I was 23 when starting on this path. Both incredibly good and incredibly bad life experiences played a role in the baby steps it took me (and takes many) to get here. At 38 years old, I’m finally on day five of living in Thailand. Want to know the secret? You can’t ever give up. Not ever, ever, ever. Well – at least not for too long. Actually, that’s probably really the secret.
You’ll get taken away. Accept that. You just have to be ready and willing to fight your way back. And it sure as hell is a fight. A bloody and brutal one.
I knew it would be a different kind of transition once finally landing from the rough stuff it took to get here, but I didn’t necessarily think it would happen so fast. On day one of finally living this particular dream, the mischievous little lady who works as a chef where I’m staying spilled coffee on my laptop. She got it repaired, but most of the verbiage is now in Thai. That’s been…interesting.
As far as she goes, I’m pretty sure she’ll be one of my very best friends in Phuket before long. We’re headed to Songkran, the Thai New Year, and next full moon party within the next week together.
I also managed to get a mosquito bite on day one that is now grotesquely infected and a touch of Traveler’s Thai Tummy.
Know what else I’ve already got?
An amazing new home with a family made of people from Holland, Africa, America, France, England and of course, here in Thailand. I think I’ve already fallen in love half a dozen times, had long nights of bonding and skinny-dipping and have started to find a happiness I hadn’t really realized I had lost.
I recently saw a quote by Sarah Addison Allen that said “she understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.”
The first thing I thought of was the people I was so close to not so long ago and have lost over the last year. They’re still there, but our connection isn’t.
I finished my degree, lost my dog, started going to festivals that were incredibly important to me, became a professional writer, ended up in the hospital with seizures and started living the bohemian life of wanderlust that had always been in my heart.
As I listen to the only other two Americans at the enchanted tropical retreat I now call home giggle in their room for hours, even more pieces of my already lonely heart shatter at the reminder of friends loved and lost who I once thought I could never grow apart from.
Whether growing in different directions or one person is changing while the other is in a place of staying still, life often doesn’t let you stay close, and the more you fight it, the more it fractures.
As much as it hurts, there’s people out there, even some you already know, who will be close to where you’re at in life and save your broken heart.
This is the salvation from those dark days of despair. Also knowing, if you can see through the pain, that you and that person you loved so much may make it back to the same place some day. Maybe.
I have been lucky enough to fall in love more times than I can count in my life. Not romantic love, but best friend and family love. The loss of this love, especially in exceleration from the last year, makes me wonder about this dream I have fought my whole life for.
A therapist once told me that life is a house of doors, and we can’t walk through all of them at once. I suppose I have tried to do that more than I’ve cared to admit in the past. Maybe now that I’m finally doing the last thing I didn’t think I could live without accomplishing…maybe now I can finally fully appreciate and enjoy what I do have without mourning what I don’t.
And maybe now my life will finally be open and ready for romantic love. Funny how that damn irony of life always comes into play like that.
I am proud of myself because I always make my dreams come true but it bothers me that my process of finally making it happen after multiple attempts exhausts those around me.