7 Life Lessons From Meeting Your Girlfriend’s Parents For The First Time
I spent the last couple of weeks in Thailand. It was my bi-monthly visit to be with my girl, but this time, it was different. I met her parents for the first time in her home town, which was about seven hours outside of Bangkok (the main city, so to speak.)
I was rather nervous at first of course. But what I expected to be a simple meet-the-parents session turned out to be a huge reflection on my life and life itself, not exactly typical of meeting your girlfriend’s parents for sure.
Combine the initial anxiety of meeting the parents, being in the countryside, having barely any internet, literally showering with over twenty mosquitoes and using a toilet with no flush, you pretty much have an idea of what I had to go through. Oh and I got a fungal infection on account of jumping in the open water when I was out fishing with her dad. I had a gross rash around my groin for a week. Yes that’s too much information, but whatever.
But it was all good. I loved it. It’s funny how this milestone in my relationship can branch out into so many amazing things.
Guys, for whatever story you can share about meeting your girlfriend’s parents, I hope you can find some gems in mine. Check it out:
1) The way you live isn’t the way for everyone else
The thing that struck me most about staying in the country side of Thailand is how we all live different lives in this world.
It’s an obvious idea, but the thing is, how often has an idea become our truth, the way and everything? How often has lifestyle and routine make us think a certain way only when we can be opening up? As such, you have people who keep comparing with others, even shouting out how “wrong” others are simply because they don’t follow what they do.
People in the home town don’t live like we do in modern society. My girl’s dad doesn’t work an 8-to-5. He’s chilling out a lot at home when he’s not fishing or meeting his friends. It can be easy to ask in bewilderment like, “Whoa, why isn’t he working more? This is not how it should be,” but if you do, you’d be the only one over asking then; you’d be the only one wondering how others are happy being who they are.
Maybe a little comparison with our modern lives is needed here to be more clear: Think about nice cars, a nice house, your Starbucks, fast-speed internet and/or air-conditioning. There was none of that when I was there. But nobody there is “wrong.”
2) You don’t need money and other modern shit to be happy
That being said, happiness doesn’t come from money or other modern, material things. There’re real people out there in this world who don’t have the same “luxuries” as you do, but they’re happy.
Makes you wonder about what you’re doing with your life now huh? I am certain this lesson isn’t typical of meeting your girlfriend’s parents.
This is not an idea on the intricacies of money and how we live. It is what it is: There’re real people out there who are happy without the riches.
It makes you think, especially when it’s right in front of you.
I know, I know, you’ve got your responsibilities, bills and whatever, but it’s always good to reflect on the way you live, especially if you’re caught in the race (good for you if you actually know you’re already caught.) And the best way to start reflecting is to actually travel and immerse yourself in a different culture where things are run differently.
The day you meet somebody who has none of what you have and yet, that person is smiling while you’re not, is the day your perspective on everything will change.
3) Do not judge, even if it seems easy
To be brutally honest, for the longest time, I felt my girlfriend was rather lazy. Her apartment in Bangkok is constantly messy and it irked me because I’m a neat freak myself. It also bothered me to why she couldn’t just get off her ass and start cleaning up a little.
And then I went to her home town, where I had to shower everyday with more than twenty mosquitoes buzzing all over my naked body (I shit you not, twenty), where the toilet had no flush and you had to scoop water from a large pail and pour it in to manually flush your crap, where the roads are always dusty etc. I can go on and on.
My girlfriend wasn’t lazy all along. Having grown up in the country, she was just on a new level of tolerance.
It got me thinking to whether I was the little, pansy bitch instead who was bothered by a little dirt.
So, don’t judge, even if it’s tempting to do so. You won’t ever know a person fully anyway. If you want to make some assumptions, I suggest you know where he or she is from and what that person is all about.
And notice how when I judged, I judged myself? This is how it truly works.
4) Motivation can come out of nowhere and in unexpected forms
Okay, brutally honest fact #2: I’ve been with my girlfriend nearly two years now, and I can’t speak Thai for shit. I always made up a ton of excuses like how she speaks decent English and that I had no time to learn it formally in a class, which I do feel I require. (Consider yourself luck if meeting your girlfriend’s parents doesn’t require a whole new language for you to learn!)
Then I met her parents, who can’t speak a word of English. I felt bad. I had no one to blame but myself as I couldn’t converse with them to get to know them better.
That’s my motivation now. I want to get to know her family better and I want them to know me.
So, if you find yourself putting things off or not getting the results that you want, then do yourself a favour and start doing things differently. There’s no point being stuck a in rut and expecting better results when you’re approaching things the same way. Get out there and do something different. The motivation will come unexpectedly.
5) Let inspiration override all your negativity
This right here, is my girlfriend’s niece. She’s like 8-months old and the most adorable thing in the world. I’ve fallen in love with her. And please pardon my morning hair right there.
She was one of the main reasons why my trip was so great.
Okay so… I had a good time, and I was extremely happy with everything I seen, and everyone I met over there. It was pure joy and it was inspiring.
Now, if you’ve been catching up on my blog, you’d know I’m an angry dude who has trouble with negative thoughts overwhelming my head. I’ve done my research and read up a lot on dealing with your issues. You know, letting go, positive thinking, finding the root cause or whatever psychological things.
But, you know what? You can back up for a second. Just back up.
When this cute little thing smiled at me in the face, I was like, “If there exists such a lovely thing in the world, then there is indeed beauty in the world and there is absolutely no reason to be unhappy.”
So if you feel like you have a lot to deal with, then just get out there and let the inspiration take over. There’s a lot of beautiful things out there waiting for you, and they’re going to make you realize how infinitesimally small your problems actually are. Besides, reflecting, thinking deeply and all that jazz is good, but I think opening up to new experiences, sights, sounds and other people alone can do the trick.
Perhaps for you, when you meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time, you can talk to them and discover a tome of knowledge.
6) Discomfort is in the formula for growing and appreciation
Yet, I was uncomfortable in a lot of things. Meeting the parents for the first time, bathing with mosquitoes, thinking the boat my girl’s father built was going to capsize in the middle of the river etc. I was also rather tired out from all the travelling. Seven hours back and forth each time by bus to Bangkok is no joke. I’ve never watched so many episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-air in a row before.
There’re no excuses here though. You got to feel that little discomfort to really grow and start appreciating what you have today. I know meeting your girlfriend’s parents is hard, but you gotta do it eventually!
Stop whining over a little pain. Don’t be scared just because your heart isn’t in it 100%. That’s just how it is. You can’t fully be grateful with what you have until you’ve been to the other end of the spectrum. You’d also be stagnant if you’re just lazing around in that comfort zone somewhere in the middle.
Yeah I’m glad to be home for now haha.
7) The world isn’t that scary
And it’s not filled with evil assholes who are out to make your life miserable. It’s not a gigantic, steaming pile of crap.
I wrote in my first travel piece about the idea of how people make up for an entire nation, and that I’d always believe to be true.
This trip to the country side has re-affirmed that idea.
I think this is a heavy make-or-break deal for everybody. Think that the world is evil and scary and down you go that rabbit hole, where you shun the world as you close up completely. Think that the world not so evil and you’re getting there. Think that the world is filled with understandable beauty and your life is going to be filled with inspiration.
Certainly, there’re evil assholes out there that wreck bad shit on you even though you’re innocent. But why let the bad tip the balance for you? I find it sad that we act negatively just because we think we’re “wired” that way, like we focus on the negative or read disturbing news just because.
Break out of that cycle and decide for yourself. The best way to do it is to experience it yourself. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to travel that much, take solace in my reassurance and from others that the world isn’t that scary a place. Make the positive choice.
If you’ve some cool insights in your own travels or meeting your girlfriend’s parents, let me know!
And share this if you think it can help your friends! Thanks!