I was watching a UK TV show recently that was about changing peoples houses and lifestyles. One guy, who was 42 years old which is my age, said he shocked himself that he was able to change his house design so much “you know, given the stage of life I am at“. It stopped me in my tracks, what does he mean ‘at his stage of life‘?
Is life really all mapped out at 42 years old?
I then started to think about all my peers back in the UK and even searched a few on Facebook for research purposes. How were they living their lives and was ’42’ deemed an age where your life is now mapped out for good? Sadly, in 95% of cases it looked just so. Everyone content with their lot in life and now seemingly lost of any real ambition. Happy to go to work Monday to Friday, enjoy a beer at the weekend and put the kids through schooling. That kind of thing.
I was also back in the UK last year and I stayed with my younger brother at his house in Whitstable. I asked him about his plans for the future. He is 38 years old. He said he had no plans and was happy with his home and job, and would look forward to a couple of holidays each year. Again, I was shocked. There is so much magic and opportunity to experience different things in this world that to stay in a relative bubble like this confuses me. Why not strive to live multiple chapters rather than one fairly predictable one that I see time and time again by my peers back home?
Maybe I am wrong, but I could only draw conclusion that being so institutionalized by societies cultural expectations in the UK – or for that matter any other Western worlds – sucks the ambition out of individuals as they get older. They get so burdened with paying off the mortgage, maybe clearing a credit card debt, buying a new car and then putting their children through schooling that they lose sight of the bigger picture available to them.
On reflection, I feel relieved I escaped my domestic country now
I breathe a big sigh of relief that I escaped this at a relatively early age – 29 years old – as I could have conceded defeat on a really great life and missed out on doing so much.
Going back to this 42 year old on TV saying ‘at his stage of life‘ he was surprised he could decorate his home so differently, here I am in Thailand still dreaming and striving for new experiences and wealth. I have still not given up on owning a football club one day either!
I am still passionate about trying and investing in new business ventures. It is fun, stimulating and comes with a big prize if I get it right. As a fellow entrepreneur quoted “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you only have to get it right once”. I get up inspired and motivated each day. My day to day job is varied, progressive, deeply rewarding and interesting – and as a result life is never dull.
I live in a large condo in a tropical country, yet am about to relocate to another area of Thailand into a luxury pool villa – such is my vigour for change. Life can offer and be so rewarding because I never let life stand still or take control of me. I think being an expat helps galvanize and encourage this free spirit.
So, why for my peers back in the UK does their life become so predictable and – in my eyes at least – dull?
I am grateful for escaping my domestic country because as an expat you can act more freely and act an individual. There is no cultural expectation being an expat, you are allowed to develop and be your own person.
Maybe I have got it wrong, but what other feasible rationale can there be? Being an expat helps keep you younger in spirit and ambitious – and keeps you away from the clasps of Western societies shackles.