Same old Matt

Matt | Culture Shock,Developing Habits | Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I have noticed a strange feeling since returning to Canada and that is of being afraid of returning to my old way of life.  Now I don’t know if this is a common aspect of reverse culture shock, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

Ever since I returned I’ve had a strong feeling of wanting to continue all the great habits and feelings that I had developed in China. Actually, my big fear was that I didn’t want to lose the person I had become in China; I didn’t want to revert back to the guy I was before I had left for China.  All the amazing experiences, the people I had met, the things I had done, all these things I didn’t want to lose.

Not wanting to lose the person I had become

When I first returned I was afraid of becoming the “same old Matt.”  I didn’t want to become that guy.  To be honest, I didn’t like him very much.  The person I had become in China was someone that I truly enjoyed being.  It was the person that who did things; who set and achieved goals.  The person who loved adventure and travel.  Also the guy who found his passions in reading, writing, learning and teaching.  A person who made time for things important in his life.  A person who did things that he liked, with the people he liked, when he liked.

Since returning I have been working hard at continuing the habits that made me the person I liked, but I’ve felt pressure to revert back.  It’s funny that the sources of the pressure to change back to the “same old Matt” were coming from sources I hadn’t expected: my close friends and family.  They wanted the “same old Matt” to return.  They wanted the guy they had known before.  The simple, straight forward guy.  They seemed disappointed that I had changed.

But I guess this is normal.  We are changing all the time although most of us don’t notice this.  When I think of my friends I think that I “know” them.  But in reality I still think of them being the same guy as they were four years ago.  They too have changed.

And in reality I needn’t have worried about reverting back to the “same old Matt’ as I’ve learned that it’s impossible to go back to the person you were before.  Even though I’m back in the same exact place where I had lived before, doing a similar job I am now a different Matt a more experienced Matt a better Matt (and an older Matt).  It was silly for me to worry, but also silly for me to think that I could be China Matt here in Canada.

Just as it is impossible to revert back to an older version of yourself, I also think it is impossible to remain the same person.  Everyday we experience life or life experiences itself through us.  This changes us in tiny ways.  Over time we become different people.  I cannot remain the same person that I was in China.  I will have to change.  I will have to grow.  But, I can remember the small things that I think I was doing right in China and work hard to continue to do them.

And when I started up my positive China habits here in Canada I really felt better.  Some of these were

  • To have a positive morning routine (reading a chapter of a book, reading finance blogs, news, doing logic puzzles)
  • To have a weekly plan to schedule important things in my week and to review the lessons I’ve learned each week
  • To keep reading (this is almost an addiction at this point)
  • To keep learning (I’m looking to join Toastmasters in Canada and I joined a beginner Tai Chi class)
  • To learn new physical skills (signed up for hockey power skating)
  • To keep writing (I’ve been lazy here, but will try to change that)
  • To keep up my relationships (for scheduling time for things important in my life, my girlfriend, my family and my friends)
  • To stay active and enjoy the outdoors (by running outside in the park at least two times a week)
  • To do more things that bring happiness to my life
  • To stop wasting time on things that don’t bring me happiness (like watching TV)
  • To enjoy life every day

These are some of the great habits that I’ve learned or developed from China.

I will try to continue the good habits that I had developed and to keep growing with an open mind and open heart.

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck