My wife and her sister are sitting at the dining table chatting while I’m chillin’.
Your logical question should be, “So? Why am I reading this?”
Thanks for asking! Had to get the conversation started somehow!
I’m not sitting in bucolic Belmont, Mass., where I normally hang out. Rather, I’m settled cozily into the apartment in the bustling suburban Taipei district of Jonghe that we’ve been coming to for close to 15 years
This year…2014…actually marks the 40th anniversary of our decamping to Taipei for rest, relaxation, recuperation, and rejuvenation. The city has become by default our “second home,” and we never tire of it.
So your next logical question should be, “So, if you’ve been vacationing there for nearly 40 years, where’s the change?”
Ahhh. Thanks again for asking!
The “change” lies in the fact that, although there are a number of things that we do every single year, we also do a boatload of different things…exploring Taiwan itself from north to south and from east to west, checking out the bazillion different historical sites in and around Taipei, and sampling the cuisines of a dozen or more new restaurants that have sprung up since our last visit.
New sights. New sites. New culinary experiences. New things to see and to learn.
And, at the end of the six-plus weeks that we spend here, I find myself both physically and spiritually renewed, filled with optimism, and eager to get back to my “regular” life of teaching undergraduate public relations courses in the Communication Department at Curry College.
The point, Young Grasshopper, is that you have to get yourself out of the mind-numbing rut into which you have comfortably settled. You have to shake up your smug self-satisfaction by experiencing new ways of living life.
This doesn’t have to include travel to a foreign country, although I am a devout believer in the value of immersing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of other cultures. You can do this by simply exploring neighborhoods in your own city that you’ve never ventured into.
I periodically bounce out of the subway in Boston at a station I’ve never been to before. While not every experience is totally positive, when I emerge into the daylight wherever I might have selected, I see neighborhoods…and people…that I often have never experienced before.
And I gain a little better understanding of the sprawling metropolis known as “Boston”…its rich ethnic diversity and its blending (sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much) of cultures.
I was waiting for a bus to take me into downtown Saigon to meet my fiancée (now my wife) for a date. He was…standing there.
He asked me where I was going, and I replied that I was going downtown.
- His response: “I’ve never been to Saigon. I’m afraid to go there.”
- Me: “How long have you been stationed here?”
- Him: “Two years.”
“Two years” of missing out on the amazing variety of entertainment and culture that could be found in this vibrant (even though the country was “at war”) city of seven million people.
- Restaurants offering every imaginable type of cuisine (yep, there was even a “Big Boy Hamburgers” on Tu Do Street, and I had my first-ever baked, stuffed lobster at a French restaurant on Nguyen Hue Street).
- Nightclubs offering top-line entertainment (I was noticeably not one of the “cool kids” dressed in my Air Force uniform while everyone else was in suits or evening gowns.)
- Museums…art galleries…bookstores…the list goes on and on.
I experienced it all, unlike this fellow, and that experience whetted my desire to learn more…to get out of the comfortable rut into which I was being tempted thanks to my own small-town upbringing.
So the moral of this story, my friend, is this…
Immerse yourself in the career of your choice…the profession for which you have an unshakeable passion. Do, learn, and become everything you are capable of doing, learning, and becoming.
But allow time for “change.” Do different things. Experience different things. You will fill in the gaps in your “book-learning” and personal upbringing. And you’ll be a better person for having done so.
Change truly is…or can be…good for you!