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The trappings of one's mind

CAMBODIA | Monday, 20 October 2008 | Views [809]

Can be a frightening thing. I’m referring to one’s socio-economic and cultural background. Warning: reflective post ahead.

In the past 2 weeks I’ve been here, I’ve met and spoken to several foreigners who have made S’ville their (temporary) home. Temporary because although they’ve been here for months or even years, they never know if (some do in fact know) they will move to another country when the time comes. That’s the thing - they are their own persons, and they have the freedom to follow their heart and listen to what it’s telling them, be it volunteer in India for 3 months or live in a strange new place for a year. That is true freedom – a social, cultural and financial freedom to do what we want in life.

Most of these people gave up well-paying jobs and cushy lifestyles in their developed countries to come live in S’ville. A few came to volunteer, others to set up an NGO or business, and most to just live and then find a job to get by (as a diving instructor or waitress, anything). To them, enough was enough and life is more than just making money and climbing the corporate ladder. Life could be so much simpler if we all just took a step back and just…realize that we don’t have to be confined to and defined by what we were brought up to believe in. Yes, the fact is that not all of us have the financial freedom or the guts to leave our all-so-familiar lives behind us. I know I still have the trappings of my own mind that is stopping me from staying on for a longer period of time so that I could do something substantial for the project and the kids. There is really no immediate urgency for me to go home and look for a job, especially not in this shit economic times, but yet I have to return to “reality” – go home to my family and find a (well-paying) job. This “reality” is in itself so painfully ironic; it is the reality I grew up with, the one I’ve grown accustomed to. I know that there’s so much more to life than that job or that relationship or that piece of accessory or clothing, but somehow I’m still unable to break free from it all.

I guess at least now I’m fortunate to be able to see where I stand today, and hope that one day I can forsake it all and have the guts to just follow what my heart tells me to - only then am I truly free from the trappings of my own mind.   

Tags: thoughts

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