So Far, So Good
There’s a short quip said frequently in Thailand by locals and bar girls that I will always remember. It has stayed as fresh in my mind as it did the first time I heard it nine years ago. Everyone has heard it at least once in the LOS, although it’s become a bit tired and boringly clichéd for some, I find it timeless, it can be spoken in anger or in joy, or to a near empty bottle of whiskey.
I’ve also heard many times over, from various people in all walks of life quoting another line, more in tune to the Westerner…‘the good old days.’ It’s often dragged out while reminiscing the past, over a beer or two and complaining about the present. I like the present. I can understand their point but am not too convinced why it’s so relevant to life at this very moment, when you really think about it, we have a very short time on Mother Earth and you don’t get a second chance… as far as I know. We are all personally responsible for our good times to continue, what else is there when we have been lucky enough so far, to get to a reasonably healthy, old age. I’m speaking for myself.
I am still in touch with a few old friends from my early years that had the attitude of ‘enjoy it now, who cares about getting to sixty/seventy, what can you do at that age anyway, party on hard and live life to the fullest while you’re young’. They were the life of the party and seemingly indestructible, fun without thought. This is from personal experience and sadly now, three are incurable alcoholics at under sixty years of age and will probably live another ten years if they nurse their liver, but sure, they remember the good old days, they have too, getting old has become a misery to them. I could go on and continue with what the seemingly great party drugs eventually did to a few of my other friends, who are now stuck in a world of regret at sixty and can’t even remember the good old days. Am I an angel and patting myself on the back? Far from it and I never find comfort in others misfortunes, life is full of misfortune, even to the wary. In those early years I slowly alienated myself from the ‘in crowd’, mainly due to the nature of my work, so be it, my good old lonely days.
My point, at my age in Asia, the good old days are the now, the present. The young people I see partying in Bangkok/Patty most times act like there’ll be no tomorrow and party hard, to be fair, not all of them, but how many will get to sixty with all faculties in tacked and say ‘remember the good old days,’ probably most of them, and after that the next lot getting to sixty will look at other young people and say exactly the same thing. It’s a cycle that just keeps going, time stands still for no one, so to a large degree why reflect so much on the past and not more thought on the present. In Bangkok I see more late fifty year olds and early sixty year olds at the gym working out and exercising than I see in my home country. Why? My reasoning is they want to experience more of ‘the now’ and staying fit helps, amongst other hobbies, to put a distance between the fantasy and delusion, or drowning in the past… which is cheaply available in Thailand.
How good life gets is determined by character and that will determine fate. If I continue to have a good time now and avoid the obvious pitfalls, then the future will always be something to look forward too. There are also many variables to the future which are uncontrollable; too many to list so I’ll keep away from politics, war etc. I’m a simple person, sometimes better that way.
It’s all there in front of us now. The cool moist air of mountain villages in Chiang Mai, sunsets over the Andaman Sea, old fishing boats idling down the Mekong past the old capital of Luang Prabang, sunrise over the Angkor Wat temples in Siem Reap, Vietnamese coffee on the deck of a teak boat in Halong Bay, having a beer at Big Dogs watching sixty year olds being twenty, me included, the list goes on, and on, and on. And last but definitely not least, the stunning, gorgeous women. At my age, yes, the good times are now and I want another twenty years without running out of puff or crashing. Call me greedy.
Never enough is said though about the pitfalls of the obvious female allure. I’m sure most are aware, through reading this site, the incredulous personal stories of ‘crash and burn’. We all have two ears and I take advice from my peers seriously, how valuable is it from someone who has weathered the storm for twenty years in Asia and still has his head above water, very valuable. That’s twenty years I’ve gained. Enough said from me, I’m still learning.
I’ll go to my favorite quip, it’s ‘Up to you.’