“Back to Reality”
That’s what my mother said on the way back from the airport. I realized then what an oxymoronic phrase that is. The word reality in that phrase implies that where ever I was essentially wasn’t reality – or that where I was broke from my reality. Back, in that phrase, implies I must return to a state where I had been before. The phrase all together implies an inexorable movement to what was before and must be once again. And, that simply is wrong.
I’ve grown from my experience. I am a different person than I was before. Because of the growth I’ve incurred my perception and definition of reality have actually changed. To go “back to reality” would be to dismiss all that I’ve learned and become. The feelings are confusing when returning home. I feel that things should be different as I’m different. But, I see it as a challenge to live my life dignified with the new experience I’ve gained back in Minnesota. In fact, my time in Thailand felt more “real” than my time back home. I think it comes from the attitude I had while in Thailand. The sincere openness to new experiences, learning, and growth, brought on by traveling to a new place, should be carried to my everyday life with the same fervor.
I went to Thailand with a set of principles to guide my life and I came back with an affirmation that I’m on the right track. I found some of my own prospects of life align with some of the major principles in Buddhism, yet I arrived at them much differently. The kindness of the people I met along the way reminded me to have faith in humanity. The energy I maintained seemingly out of will by the prospect of adventure is something I ought to have no matter where I am. Back to reality is a phrase I will never use as I see it relates to a desire for consistency in an inconsistent environment. Oscar Wilde said, “consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Well, I won’t go back to an unimaginative reality, I’ll go to Minnesota with a realization of the perpetual state of growth and change we’re all destined to live within. I won’t go back to anywhere, I’ll go to there, wherever there is, with a smile.