Saturday, January 19, 2013


I was lucky that I got to have in-depth chats with a lot of people while in India, both the locals and European travellers. Coming back to cold cold Scandinavia, chats with colleagues are kept at a superficial level; making new friends is again difficult. I am grateful to have a roommate to socialize with, but at the exact same time, I wish I were living alone so I could get more quiet alone time with more personal freedom (my roommate doesn't quite get the concept that sharing accommodation with another person doesn't mean that we have to entertain/socialize with each other all the time).

I am still quite lost in terms of what to do about my future. I no longer have ambitious plans for achieving a great career. I just want a job that pays the bills and will let me living relatively comfortably. Compared to my Indian friends in South India, I am definitely fortunate in that I can travel the way I do, and my standard of living is very high. On the other hand, I am kind of jealous of their tight connections with their families and friends, then I remember that these are guys I had been interacting with. The women in India are tied to their housework and children and do not have nearly as much freedom as men. But still, I wish I had a tighter network of friends/community support. I guess that's why I went back - the servers on the beach were always happy to have a chat with the customer who's also a lone traveler.

On this trip I learned that I enjoy being over-dramatic about nothing; I act like a spoiled brat sometimes. I like excitements in life, but I act like the most boring person you'll ever meet at a party. I crave a lot of attention but I don't like to work to get it. I have a tendency to want to please other people at the expense of displeasing myself, and then I complain about being forced to do something I don't want to do. One of my Indian friends got really sick of this and told me, "If you want to do it, go do it. If you don't want to do it, don't go." It's so simple that this advice appears to tell nothing. Yet this sounded like a major wake up call for me. I realized that I cannot distinguish the times when life circumstances do not allow me to make this kind of call, versus situations where I do indeed have the freedom to follow my own desires. I have long chosen to give up my rights in choosing what I want in so many life situations in order to try to please other people, but end up failing regardless. In other words, I am often unhappy because I make myself unhappy. I let other people bully me and I get angry about it. It was a tough lesson for me to learn, but a lesson that made the expensive plane ticket worth its cost.

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