Life is a drug and New York City was my fix. NYC pushed me and drove me to get ahead in life, but it wasn’t until I moved across the globe to Bangkok that I finally started growing up in life. Three years ago, I left behind all my material possessions and external barometers of success that I had let define my sense of self and I and flew back to Bangkok.
I want to share the poignant life lessons I have learned from living the face-paced, competitive, extravagant life of a New Yorker to a more centered, balanced, Thai life in Bangkok. Here are some highlights of my New York Brat, Bangkok Buddhist transformation.
IT’S OKAY TO START OVER.
Living in a new country, a new culture with a new job and in a new relationship, Bangkok has given me a clean slate. It is a chance for rebirth, renewal, and reinvention of who I am, what I believe in, and who I want to become. The transition has not been easy, but I have never given up when tough times knocked on my door. I’ve learned that relentless resilience brings a thousand new beginnings and a lifetime of second chances. I’m fortunate that my mistakes and misfortunes have yielded positive personal growth. I am only wiser today because I was foolish before.
“HOME” IS NOT A PLACE, IT’S A FEELING.
For 15 years, I called NYC my home, my heart, my everything. New York was amazing. New York taught me to be strong, street smart, and sophisticated. I felt cool and cultured. Fast-paced, cosmopolitan, passionate, and alive, this city was my city and I was in love with Manhattan. But then it got ugly. The city that I gave my heart and soul to was too much. Work turned into workaholism. Socializing turned into crazy partying. I was pushed to the extreme.
So I made the extreme decision to choose a different lifestyle, a different city. I would return to Bangkok, my roots where my family is originally from but a place that I had never lived in before. Bangkok welcomed me with arms wide opened and smiling eyes. I loved the newness of my new residence and felt surprisingly comfortable outside my comfort zone. Perhaps that was in large measure due to my family surrounding me with love and my eventually falling in love.
Today, I feel at home. I feel safe, healed, at peace with myself, unconditionally loved, and happy.
MY WORK DOES NOT DEFINE ME.
I continue to work in advertising in Bangkok just as I did when I was living in New York. I take great pride in my work and leading my team. The hours are long, but my job does not take over my life and my identity. When I was working in New York, I let my fancy job title and sizable paycheck inflate my sense of self-worth. I measured my happiness by external material possessions rather than the happiness I felt inside.
Now that I live in a Buddhist country, I have a more balanced and centered mindset. I’ve re-prioritized my priorities. I have a better perspective on what’s important to me and what I value. Interestingly, the things that are important to me now aren’t actually “things” at all. Family. Friends. Love. Health. Happiness. These are my priorities now.
GRATITUDE IS POWERFUL AND SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED.
Gratitude removes the need for always wanting more and feeling like I don’t have enough or that I am not enough. I embrace gratitude every day and often keep a gratitude journal. What’s even better is that expressing gratitude to others begets, even more, joy. It’s a positively beautiful cycle.
So that’s a little introduction to me and what I’ve learned recently. I look forward to sharing more of my Bangkok stories as told with a New York attitude with you again soon. Thank you for visiting.
Show me some love and leave me a comment, if you have experienced a similar situation or can relate to any of these life lessons.