- Daily grind -

29th September '17

For a couple of days after I wrote the last blog, my mind kept of flip-flopping.

'I will apply for this assistant manager position; I need to start advancing my career. Actually I won't, the likelihood I get it is minimal, and if I do, it'll just add stress to my life. No, actually I will apply. The world is littered with broken English teachers who reach retirement-age without a penny to their name because they became too settled. I don't want to become one of them. No actually, I won't apply. For a salary barely above my first teaching position and less holiday than I get now, why would I want to? No, actually I will...'

There was complete uncertainty in my mind, until I got the email that contained this term's schedule. Then all of a sudden, my mind was made-up.

You could perhaps describe this as the most spiritual start to a term than I've ever had. My schedule was beautiful. It was perfect.

On weekdays, Monday to Thursday, I teach one class per day from 6:45pm to 9:15pm, only teaching levels I've taught before, so nothing new to plan. Then on weekends, when the pay is better, I teach two classes per day, but again, only levels I've taught before, so very little that I have to plan.

It's beautiful. About as perfect as I could have hoped for.

From the routine that I established when I was on vacation, all it's really meant is that I've had to sacrifice some PS4 time to go to work, but other than that, everything has stayed pretty much the same.

It's got better in fact. I've even added 30 minutes of meditation into my daily routine before work. It's why I say it's the most spiritual term ever.

My typical routine is to get up at 9am and have breakfast and make a cup of green tea. I'll then look over my class for the day, but having taught everything, this is just to refresh my mind about what I'm teaching, and to tweak occasional things. That only takes 10-15 mins, and most of that is waiting for my six year-old laptop to turn on.

Then I go to the gym; there's a yoga class everyday at either 11:15am or 12:15pm, so I go to most of them. Then I come home and make lunch, then play games for a bit. Maybe at 4pm, I'll do a 30-minute meditation practice, before relaxing a bit more. I leave for work at 5:30pm, get home about 10pm and make dinner. Then I'll get maybe another hour of gaming in before bed, and start the whole thing all over again the next day.

I mean, would you want to risk that by applying for an assistant manager position?

Yeah, me neither.

I'm having to keep on reminding myself that I shouldn't take this for granted, and that from next term and perhaps every term beyond, I could get a shitty schedule with new classes to plan. Just like before my vacation, when I had to work split-shifts and had almost a hundred students.

Even with that lingering over me, I couldn't bear to risk this beautiful life by applying for a new position.

When you're doing an hour of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation practice on the majority of days... it's like you're completely stressproof. I'm bulletproof to stress right now. And although I spent much of the last blog talking about how I need to reach retirement age with something to actually retire on, the first step is actually reaching retirement age. Healthily.

There's no point making it to 65 rich, but sick and disabled. And right now my mind is in such a good place, and my body is in such a good place that... fuck trying to have a career.

I joined my gym 31 days ago now. And I've exercised there on all but three days since, on the majority of them doing yoga.

I can see my abs in the mirror again... sort of, I feel relaxed and happy, and I'm slowly regaining flexibility in my 70 year-old legs that got ruined, I assume, by years of running.

It's the only thing I can think of. When I'm in my yoga classes, I'm not exceptionally flexible anywhere. I'm probably about average for a 32 year-old. Except my legs, especially my knees. They just have zero flexibility in them, and I can only assume that's down to the hundreds of hours I've spent pounding them on concrete as I've run all these years. Well...

I know that I pledged that joining a gym wouldn't spell the end of me running or swimming or doing bodyweight exercises at home. Well it has.

I do bodyweight classes at the gym, so it's not like I've stopped doing that. But swimming? Running? Not for even a second since I've been back; I've just been feeling too much benefit from doing yoga. Makes me wonder why I'm paying this excessive rent, just to live near Lumphini Park to go running. Although if I move away, then I won't be by my gym either, so there's a bit of a catch-22.

Long story short though, life is just too good right now to ruin it by trying to "improve" myself. I don't want to apply for an assistant manager position, that would basically be a 9-5 job with a salary barely higher than I got as an entry-level teacher, and significantly less holiday than the sixteen-weeks per year that I take-off at the moment.

It's not like I've forgotten that I want to retire just a short thirty years away. The Internet doesn't really let me, and I'll often stumble upon comments or articles like this one, which starts with the quote:

"I taught tefl for 20 years. I've taught in the middle east, china, japan, south korea, and eastern europe. Now, I'm in my 3rd retirement and only working 30 hours a week at a small import firm in a country that will remain unnamed... I'm just old guy with a long history of poor life choices..."

Or perhaps this one, which focuses specifically on the ageism that exists in Thailand, and that despite experience, I might find myself feeling not so welcome here in the future if I don't better-qualify myself.

Or perhaps this thread, which includes the quotes (said in jest, although still telling) "I'm hoping to get hit by a bus on my 65th birthday" and "My retirement plan is basically to eat a lot of junk food so I don't have to live long enough to worry about it."

So it's not like I'm forgetting about planning for the future. It's just that... well life is so damn good right now that I don't really want to. There's no step "forward" that I can take that doesn't make my life shitter. And when I'm feeling as relaxed and healthy as I have done in years... man, fuck retiring. I'll worry about it later.

And to be fair, any change would be twelve months away anyway. I signed my twelve-month extension on my condo, I signed my twelve-month gym membership, and this past Friday, I made my annual trip to immigration to get my twelve month visa extenion.

That's always an enjoyable process, which I'm sure you'll know if you read this blog. It's highlighted by getting a medical check-up; necessary for the work permit (which is different from the visa). And they managed to surpass even last year for ridiculousness.

On my first year living back here, I went to this beauty clinic. I met with the doctor, and he literally asked me "do you have any of these diseases?" pointing at the list on the form that he has to fill-out.

"Nope," I told him. And so he signed my form.

Last year beat that, in that I didn't even meet with the doctor. She never once even saw me before signing my form, and having made an amendment that she didn't initial, I went back the next day, when she was no longer around, so instead, the receptionist forged her signature.

Well this year, that clinic wouldn't give me a medical check-up; I'm not sure why. So instead, I found another clinic on Google. This one charged 180 baht for a medical.

Not only did I not even meet with the doctor this year, but they didn't even check my passport. They just had me write my name down on a piece of paper, and they filled-out the form accordingly.

I quite literally could have sent someone else to the clinic to get this medical for me.

This is bureaucracy in action though. They set some hoops, you jump through them, they think they're doing some good protecting the country, you get a work permit, the doctor gets 180 baht (£4). Everyone's happy.

To my knowledge, I haven't got the work permit confirmed just yet (someone at my school takes care of it), so I won't count my chickens just yet. But this system has worked every year thus far, so...

All I can really say: Life's good now. I really don't have much more to add. I even have new music in my life.

I've always shied-away from these subscription music services like Apple Music because... £10 per month? Fuck that shit. That's £120 per year for a bit of music.

That's the trouble with having a UK Apple account; you have to pay UK prices.

Then this week, out of nowhere, I suddenly had this epiphany. Sure, Spotify is £10 per month if I try to join it through my iPhone. What about if I join through their website and pay with my Thai bank card though?

Oh really? It's only 129 baht (£2.89) per month if you pay the Thai price? That's actually low enough that I can get on board with it. So I suddenly have all the music that my ears could want to listen to, sitting on my phone waiting for me.

If I wasn't relaxed enough, they have these chillout playlists, and sleep playlists that I sometimes put on while I'm brushing my teeth before bed.

And having been in a musical dead-zone for years, just listening to the same old songs that've been on my computer for ages, suddenly I'm finding new artists to listen to.

I quite like Ed Sheeran, which is weird, because he's ginger.

But it's amazing how much having some new music to sing along to whilst you're cooking or brushing your teeth can brighten your mood.

Who knew?

So that's life. I'm stuck in a place where it's so perfect that I don't want to change anything, but where I'm paranoid enough about the future that I'm worried I'll have to.

Just not yet.

I want to get to retirement with my body in tact, and ever since I stopped running and started doing yoga, my knee hasn't caused me a single problem, and I'm feeling... just healthier. So I'll keep it like this.

Just a little longer.