Been there, Done That

As long as it’s not raining when I go to sleep, I usually get out of bed at around 5:15 am. First, I’ll check the weather on my weather app and then in realtime through the balcony overlooking the South China Sea. If it’s dry outside and doesn’t look like it’s going to pour down any time soon, I’ll get dressed, pack my stuff and head on down to My Khe Beach, which is just a few hundred meters from our highrise pad in here Da Nang. A bit south of our nearest crosswalk, I’ll meet up with instructor Garry for an hour of energizing Tai Chi and Qigong exercises. Above is what it looked like today at exactly 6:00 a.m. There’s always a small gathering of locals on the beach or, in the adjacent park. Some are making use of the crude public gym equipment, others are doing various free-from exercises, including Qigong, Tai Chi and, possibly even Falun Gong. All three are related, so it’s hard for me to discern which is which.

The other day, I had an inspiring thought that I felt compelled to jot down here. Elle, Charlotte and I were at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican taqueria not far from the apartment, enjoying a late but tasty Saturday night dinner. During the meal, I couldn’t help noticing the affable interaction going on between the sweet woman serving us and her two colleagues working in the place’s small kitchen.

As I’ve spent several years working at various positions in the restaurant industry, including a few stints as a cook, I both recognized and appreciated the rapport they enjoyed as a team. It also helped me realize how much stuff in life that I’ve worked with and how those archived experiences, when juxtaposed over situations I see and live through today, many, many years later, keep me both humble and empathetic to folks that work with more physically demanding occupations. And since my professional life has been exceptionally varied; I’ve subbed multiple semesters as a teacher, worked in kitchens, as a bartender, a waiter, a writer, lecturer, deejay, house painter, web designer, creative coach, journalist, filmmaker, photographer, and artist, I can relate to a lot of occupations and work situations and understand some of what goes on behind the scenes.

Sidenote: if everything goes according to a plan I’ve devised since just after arriving here in Asia, about two months ago, in the new year, I’ll be once again reinventing myself, embarking on a brand new, yet to be announced, career path and journey. And this one could perhaps be the most important and possibly/hopefully the most fulfilling I’ve had to date. We’ll see.

Career-wise, it’s been an incredibly interesting ride so far and I certainly don’t have any regrets. What would the point of that be? It’s a given that there’s been struggles, challenges and failures. And not all the choices I’ve made have been super smart or, even provided me with useful life lessons. And I am well aware that at times, especially in my younger years, some of my more irrational decisions were made way too spontaneously. But that’s only to be expected since I’ve been making most of my life up as I go along – at least as far back as my memory serves me. I’ve rarely had any master plan, future-proofing forethought or felt that securing full-time employment was a goal worth pursuing.

Consequently, I have a relentless ability to improvise, reinvent myself and make the best of every situation I either purposely or inadvertently land in. Part genetic luck and part the result of my improvisational lifestyle, I’m the kind of guy who’ll open up a fridge door and instead of identifying all the missing ingredients, use what’s there to make something reasonably edible, if not healthy. I actually wake up each and every morning and damn near always find something positive to hang on to, get excited about and look forward to solving that very same day.

Arguably, I’m more a jack of all trades than a master of anyone in particular. But the undeniable fact that I’ve had so many different types of professions as well as traveled far and wide, allows me to connect relatively easy with folks from all walks of life. Regardless of where in the world our paths cross. I think this ability applies to all kinds of stuff I’ve done so far in my life. Including learning some basic Tai Chi in the early morning hours on a beautiful beach in Vietnam.