Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lawson Chopsticks and a Quarter Life Crisis

Alright, it's time to finally get real. Time for things to get a little personal. Here is what is happening to me now.

Not long ago,  I unexpectedly received a hand-written letter in the mail. Not knowing who it may be from, I opened it and began reading.

"It is Friday, August 5th, 2011. Yesterday I decided to write myself a letter describing my present circumstances, and this letter will be mailed to me exactly two years later."

Ah-ha! A letter to myself. In the span of two years I had totally forgotten about it. At that time I was taking a class in which one assignment was to write a letter to ourselves, and the instructor was to mail it to us two years later, like a small time-capsule.

The letter then went on to describe a very mundane moment that changed the direction of my life. I remember it clearly to this day. In 2011, I was perfectly content living in Portland, working my "9-5 job", and "traveling the world during two vacation weeks a year" as I mention in my bio. But all that changed after a friend's visit to Japan. Something in my brain snapped, and I woke up from my dreamy Portland life and decided it was time to challenge myself. Observe:

"Had I written this letter two months ago I would have told you that all I wanted to do was buy a house, marry the love of my life, settle down, and work at my job forever. But all that changed a few weeks ago, when a friend of mine returned from a visit to Japan, bringing with her the only gift I had requested: a copy of Fudge magazine. She handed it to me in a grocery bag, and when I opened it, a pair of chopsticks from the Lawson convenience store fell out. At that very moment, when I saw that pair of chopsticks, I was reminded of Japan,  as though I had completely forgotten it. Suddenly only one thought was very clear to me:
I must be in Asia. At any cost, at any expense. I must be in Asia."


The chopsticks Stupid, huh? 
Stupid, huh?
A pair of chopsticks triggering a quarter-life crisis.
But it's true.
Sometimes things are triggered by the most unexpected events.
I consider it a sign.

Anyway, in that letter I went on to record the mess of things that were triggered by this epiphany. I had become obsessed with acquiring new knowledge, watching documentaries, reading academic journals, with such ferocity one would think I was studying for the Foreign Service exam.  I even alluded to the quarter life crisis in my discussion of North Korea.

Since that time I have been trying to work out how I can make my dream a reality. Where should I live? I have always loved Japan, but with a partner from Taiwan, and a renewed interest in Southeast Asia, the world is full of possibilities

Point 1:
I know I don't just want to work in the U.S. and travel to Asia two weeks out of the year. That  will never be enough for me.

Point 2:
I also know that I do not want to be a professional tourist.
I wanted a deeper experience.
I wanted to affect my surroundings and be affected by them.

I wanted travel to be the means of achieving something greater, not the goal in and of itself.

So to do this I need to acquire new skill sets (i.e. language, intercultural communication, leadership, etc).

And let's be realistic,  I need to find a way to pay for this. I have been saving money ever since I began working full-time in 2007, but I can't live off my savings forever, and I don't have the desire to go without working for an extended period of time. I ultimately need to find a job in Asia, or a job in the U.S. that would allow me to work remotely.

So begins the quarter life crisis, the soul-searching, the job-hunt, and all else that comes when you challenge yourself and change the life you've always known.

Now, I am about to embark on a new chapter of my life. More on that next time....


1 comment:

  1. It's sounds funny yet very encouraging indeed. I would surely love to write an email for myself, that will be my guided reminder for my future plans, that way I can evaluate myself if I already accomplish those. Surely owning a property from Homes For Sale in NW Calgary would be my priority to have.

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