Reflection is something we need to do more often!

Lanta Animal Welfare participated in an Island Life Evening and I made sure I had Fun!

IMG_2918I’m on the Board of Lanta Animal Welfare, an animal rescue charity here on Koh Lanta.  I help them with the financials and coordinate their major events.  This week I participated in a small event at a very posh boutique resort.  I really enjoyed my time as I gave myself space for reflection.

Layana Resort and Spa is one of the best resorts on Koh Lanta.  It’s beyond 5-Star in every way and I just love going there.  It’s my little taste of elegance on my totally laid back island.  I get to mingle with tourists, which just isn’t my thing, but these are successful professionals, exactly what I am transitioning away from.  I actually feel comfortable there, with these people.

Living life as an expat, ‘way out there’ on the other side of the planet can make us forget where we’re from, what we are and what we’ve accomplished.  When I moved here to Koh Lanta, I wasn’t running or hiding from anything.  I just wanted to be somewhere completely different, to be able to live affordably in a tropical hot place, and to be somewhere that would stimulate my creativity.  Koh Lanta gives me all that and more.  However, it is nice to mingle with others who are like me, or were like me, before I moved here.

Gave Myself the Space and Time for Reflection

Interesting thoughts and ideas go through my head when I’m at Layana, or at any high end resort or hotel in Asia.  I let my mind explore and see where it takes me.  I always look forward to going to Bangkok and staying at the Conrad.  It’s my favourite hotel for so many reasons.  The rooms are wonderful, the bed is beyond comfortable and I love the big bathtubs with windows overlooking Lumpini Park, the Central complex and the skyscrapers of Bangkok.

Staying at the Conrad makes be reflect and assess.   I’m Dr. Friedman when I’m there, which is fun as I’m not Dr. Friedman here on Koh Lanta.  I’m anything but.  And through my reflection I find that I’m okay with this.  I don’t need a title, even though I spend seven long (my goodness they were long) years doing my Ph.D., it doesn’t define me.  And I realise that while I love being in a mega-metrpololis and enjoy the comforts of the Five Star Conrad, I’m perfectly happy living in my own home on a remote island, cut off from the hustle and bustle of a big city.  This periodic confirmation of a major decision in my life sure feels terrific.

The evening at Layana was nice and gentle.  I met about 8 different sets of people from all over Europe, and one group from the United States.  We spoke of the animal rescue centre, and I listened to the stories of their pets, and other animal rescue centres some had visited in northern Thailand and in Africa.  I heard about their day and their plans for the rest of their vacation.  None of them knew who I was or what I was about, and I was fine with that.

A few of the Layana guests asked where I was from.  I told them Ottawa, Canada, but I lived on Koh Lanta.  They looked at me like I’d I was joking.  They liked the Canada part, but chose to ignore where I lived, like I just couldn’t live in such aIMG_2920 remote place.  I find this so humorous, but I live a very different life, and I do get it that others find it curious.  Most of my business colleagues see me as a bit crazy to have chosen Koh Lanta.  What about health care?  And internet?  Aren’t you afraid of snakes?  I do get where they are coming from.  Reflection has helped me understand their concerns for me, and shown me that I have chosen the right path for my life.

The guests at Layana assumed I was like them.  I looked like them, dressed like them, and spoke like them.  I used to be like them.  It used to be me at these resorts, chatting with expats and envying their life.  But now I’m doing it.  I laugh when I think about how these past 3 years on Koh Lanta have taken me from a successful professional to someone living their life on their terms, where they want to be and how they want to live.  I have an even more successful life now than I’ve ever had before.  I’m physically, mentally and emotionally stronger and happier than ever.

My reflections that night and over the years, have confirmed that I don’t measure success in monetary value.  I’m spending my money now.  I worked hard the first part of my life making and saving it.  Now it’s time to use it to make sure I create the best life I can for myself.  I feel I’ve been pretty successful as I transition into my new life here on Koh Lanta.

Going to Layana is good for me and I felt really good being there.  A friend was there and I asked her to take some pictures and do a video of me.  It was super windy at the resort because we were near the beach so we started joking around and pretended that I only had 1 minute to show all of the Lanta Animal Welfare merchandise because the wind was going to blow it all away.   I’ll never make it in Hollywood as I’m too much of a ‘clown’ when I’m on camera, but we did have a good laugh making this short video.

Click to see my crazy and fun video  Fun at Layana – March 2016.

Reflection is good for us.  I do value the opportunity of going to Layana as even though I’m busy promoting Lanta Animal Welfare, I’m also giving myself the space for reflection.  I consciously think about my life:  where I’ve been, where I’m going and if I’m going where I want to go.  This analysis and the associated introspection feels really good.  That night I got the chance to confirm my life, figure out if I’m on track, if what I’m doing is right for me, as well as identify what I need to change.  And the result of my reflection is good.  I’m happy with where I am, what I’m doing and where I’m going.  Sure there are things I want to improve, and I’m now figuring them out.

Everyone needs to have space in their lives for reflection.  Not all the time, but periodically throughout the year we need to assess ourselves.  If you only do it annually, don’t do it on New Year’s Eve.  That night is just too stressful as is’t full of expectations and possible disappointments.  Do it when you are at a certain place, or when you eat a special food, or even when you are waiting in a long queue.

Reflecting on your life will make you feel good about yourself.  It will help you figure out if you’re happy and content with your life, or if you need to look for a new direction.  Remember, realising that you need to make changes in your life is a positive step.  It will lead you to figuring out what those changes should be, which is definitely pointing you in the right direction to a better life.

It’s all good!


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