Stickman Readers' Submissions May 12th, 2004

You Can Have Anything But You Can’t Have Everything

By Amazing P

He Clinic Bangkok

Reading through the reader's submissions this week, I couldn't really work out what point the author of 'Why Do I Keep Coming Back To Thailand' was trying to make. Within a couple of paragraphs he answers his own question – he likes young, beautiful girls and these are available to him in Thailand but not in the US. Fine. Please let him know he isn't unique.

I found his submission incredibly naive, especially for a 49 year-old man, or maybe it's a result of living in the States where people are encouraged to believe they can have everything. They can do anything they like, be anything they wish and everything is attainable with just a little effort. Fat people can be slim, stupid people can be clever, poor people can be rich – it's the American way. I have worked and vacationed in the US a fair amount, enough anyway to understand the mentality there.

Unfortunately life isn't like that and I thought he might have realised this by now at his age. Life is about compromise. The little mantra I have used for a long time is, "You can have anything, but you can't have everything." We have to work out what is important to us and what we can do without in life because we can't have everything. I am not just talking about money either. Certain lifestyle choices are just not compatible so we have to choose between one or the other.

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I take it that in his ideal world he would like to live in his "beautiful home on the beach in San Diego," running his home business but having lots of young, beautiful Thai girls wandering around waiting for him to make his move. Well, that's not going to happen.

He says that he knows Stickman loves Bangkok. I have been following the site for a while and I know that Stickman is no different to the majority of foreigners who have chosen to live in Thailand, like myself. Thailand is far from perfect and we don't love it all the time. However, we have weighed up the good and bad points about our own countries versus Thailand and decided that overall Thailand suits us better. This is a personal choice for each individual and living in Thailand wouldn't suit everyone.

I can relate to the guy in San Diego as I was in a similar position in the West – a long term employee of a major international computer company, big salary, lots of benefits, my own house, Porsche, etc. etc. etc. However, I was bored with my life, I was on my own and the women available to me were (let's try to be kind) not exactly what I had in mind. I was getting older and although I was getting wealthier I wasn't getting happier. Good health and happiness are all that really matter in life.

After repeated holidays in Thailand I made the jump, giving up everything I had at home and renting out my house, the income from which enables me to live a comfortable, though not extravagant, life in Thailand. Now, however, I travel in tuktuks and other public transport rather than in a Porsche. I live in a small room in an apartment block rather than in my own house and I have to keep an eye on my spending instead of money being no object.

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Overall though I am happier than I can remember being for a long time. I expect there are a lot of people out there who love being in Thailand on holiday but are too attached to what they have back home. So many people in the West spend far too much time and money accumulating material possessions and then get tied to these possessions which then start to control their lives. You can't have it both ways – something has to go. Life is about compromise.

There is another question I would ask a lot of people who feel happy when they are in Thailand but not at home and who say they have a great lifestyle. OK, they have a good job, house, car, home cinema, gadgets galore, etc. etc., but do these things really make them happy?

In the developed world there is a perceived notion of success and happiness. How often do we hear it said of someone else, "He/She is doing very well," meaning they have a job where they are earning a lot of money. These people may (and probably do) spend their whole life working, only taking breaks to eat and sleep. But because they earn good money and have nice material possessions this is seen as someone who has been successful in life and is happy.

What is it our friend wants? His 'beautiful home on the beach in San Diego' and his home run business where he is lonely OR chasing the 'young, beautiful girls of Thailand'. He can't have both – not permanently anyway. He doesn't like the noise and pollution of BKK (if he lived in Thailand for any length of time there would be other things he wouldn't like too). So, something has to go. This is a choice that only he can make as an individual because other people don't understand what is more important to him.

I have been searching for answers to my own life for quite a while and what I wrote is really valid. If people accept that they can't have it all and understand that to have certain things they have to give up others it makes life easier. Unfortunately there are a number of sources in today's world telling people exactly the opposite. 'Lifestyle' magazines, especially those aimed at girls, tell people they can have it all. It's in their interest so they sell more copies.

Part of my reason for leaving the UK was being disillusioned with the unreasonable expectations of females there. American society perpetuates the 'you can have it all' myth too but the motive is always to sell something. "Buy this exerciser and you can have a fabulous body" or "buy this self-help book and it will transform your life". "Yes it can, really, you can have everything". It's a myth.

Whinging about how bad Thailand is compared to home and then whinging that young attractive girls at home aren't interested in you doesn't do any good. Look fella, it's one or the other, what'll it be? I thought at first his best bet would be to find a girl in Thailand and take her home. However, his very brazen remark about not being faithful to his girlfriend and the "LOL" snigger added to that comment makes me believe he is 'Chao Choo' and he just likes chasing lots of girls. That's something else that may work for the tourist who is here for a couple of weeks but causes major problems when living here.

What's more, he's not a young 20-something kid. He's almost 50 and should know better by now.

There are as many different ways to live our lives as there are people on the planet. It is up to all of us (an important duty, in fact) to work out what in life is important to us personally – what it is that makes us happy. Life is short. The older you get the more you realise this and it won't come as any surprise to a 49 year-old man. To make the decisions you need to make though it helps if you are realistic about life. Remember, "You can have anything, but you can't have everything."

Stickman's thoughts:

I just LOVE this quote: "Good health and happiness are all that really matter in life." Agreed.

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