I’ve just completed and come back from a two-week backpacking road trip that included key stops like Chiang Khan, Chiang Mai, Pai, Mae Hong Son, and Mae Sot of Thailand. These are some of the towns in the Northern and Northeastern regions of the country which I had wanted to visit but never got a chance to until this time around.
I was supposed to be travelling with my better half, but at the last minute she was called back to work, so this trip eventually became the usual solo kind which I’m fairy good at.
Though having to travel alone, it seemed as though this trip was one full of her presence. Not because I had been missing her like that. Not because we had to talk over the phone every other hour. Also not because there was a controlling partner in this relationship.
It was simply because between sightseeings, I had been thinking a lot. I had been thinking about what the future would hold for us. What would happen next. What my next step should be.
There were just lots of questions in my mind and lots of uncertainties ahead.
Well, she’s Thai. And me, Malaysian. We love each other very much. Some of my friends probably think we’re just in the early stages of falling in love. But we’re not.
In reality, we don’t see each other as often. We don’t even stick around each other that much, as both of us have our own things to be busy with sometimes. We just don’t feel especially crazy about this relationship, or about being in this relationship for that matter, unlike when I was younger.
Yet we feel comfortable being like this. Yet we appreciate the presence of each other in our lives. The pace feels just right.
And what is important is that we can be our true selves when hanging out together. She would burp in front of me, and I would poke her waist or make fun of her sometimes. I like it when there is no pretence, when everyone feels comfortable around each other.
I have reflected upon this relationship and my past ones. Ultimately what is different between this and my past relationships is that in this one, I’m learning how to give and take. Naturally, there is bound to be things she does that I’m not too comfortable with. And I’m sure she has her dislikes about me as well.
But that’s okay. We’re just learning to accommodate and accept the differences. Relationships are about learning after all.
And now I’ve come to a stage in my life where the thought of getting married and settling down has hit me. Yes, it found me and not the other way round, when I’m least ready for it. It’s just so strange for me judging my usual carefree and unconventional attitude towards life.
Like mentioned in this post, I had never seen this relationship coming. Having remained single for the past ten years with no plan to get married, never had I imagined myself falling in love or being in a relationship again. I mean, I’m someone who loves freedom. I’m a carefree individual who couldn’t be bothered about having a family. I just know how to live my life.
But, like I said, nature always has a way to prove us wrong. We sometimes find ourselves working too hard towards a plan, until it shows us the B plan.
So I’ve been thinking a lot not only about my future, but our future. I know what I’m doing right now isn’t forever. Someday, my stint as a teacher in Thailand will have to come to an end. I’m not sure when, and I still love what I’m doing very much, but I know I can’t be doing this for good. In the long run I will have to pursue my PhD and a more “serious” career, save enough money, then marry her.
Unless and until there is an opportunity for me to do all these in Thailand, I may have to go back to where I come from. And that’s when the complications would arise.
She understands my worries. She too sees the complications ahead of us. But the other day, she said something very supportive, which touches my heart deeply.
She told me that while the future lies in our own hand and that we must think about it, there are also things we can’t foresee or control. She said I have to be less serious about everything, stay happy, and take life as it comes.
What she said immediately reminded me of my ten-day silent vipassana meditation retreat in Koh Phangan, where my teacher Anthony Markwell taught us the importance of being in the here and now, as well as living in the present moment.
Sometimes our mind gets easily swayed, and we tend to spend too much time reminiscing about the past and worrying about the future, so much so that we fail to live meaningfully in the moment. And I’m one of those people.
What my better half said to me serves as a gentle reminder, that what I should be doing right now is simply to live every moment, to do what I’m supposed to do, and do my part well. I shall not let my worries jeopardise whatever actions I need to pursue now, which will in turn affect my future. Or our future.