It’s hard to believe that I came to Japan 8 years ago this month. Before that I had never lived anywhere except Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in the last 8 years, I’ve only been back home a handful of times.
I miss home, and all my friends and family. All the food, and the thunderstorms in the spring. I miss playing guitar while watching the crazy thunderstorms. I miss puffy taco Wednesdays. Hell, I can’t list all the things that I miss here. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
After reminiscing a bit, I started to realize how much I’ve done since I’ve been in Japan. I’ve become a teacher, and then been in one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded shortly after. I learned how to live completely on my own. I traveled to Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia. I got married, had a child, and then got divorced (well, started the process anyway). I’ve had to face one of the biggest challenges of my life so far in the courts in Japan. I’ve become a headhunter, and I’ve written a book. I’ve joined groups to learn how to speak in public (I promise I’ll be better if anyone ever needs me to do a best man speech again), and I’ve started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’ve been in both the best and worse physical shape since high school. I’ve read more books in a couple years than I have in my whole life (nearly 50 this year alone if you include audio books).
In all of that, the lesson that most stands out to me is persistence. It was one of the things that I never quite had before I came to Japan, and if it’s the only lesson that I learn while I’m here, then my time here will be well worth it. Not to be too cliche, but it’s true that anything worth doing is difficult, and it takes a lot of time. If you give up anytime things get difficult, then you’ll never accomplish anything of value.
That’s what I did before I came to Japan. I did that with all my music instruments, my sports, and even my business. I don’t feel like I ever really engaged myself 100%, and that’s why I never became great at any of them. I was a dilettante (still am really). Persistence pays off in anything you do, but if you really want to find success (at least what I think of as success), you have to learn to stick with the thing you want to be successful at.
Don’t get me wrong. Hobbies are great. It’s good to find things where you can spend some of your time and get some R&R while simultaneously improving some aspect of yourself. You can’t dedicate yourself 100% to every single thing you do. But you can find the one or two things that are the most important things in your life. The things that make you want to wake up in the mornings. And it’s for those things that I am learning persistence.
I didn’t really intend this to become a motivational piece, but rather a reminiscence of the last 8 years, so I’ll stop before I get too high on my persistence soapbox.
I just want everyone to know things are going well and I miss you all!