It’s The End of My World As I Know It (And I Feel Fine)
The tune It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M. has been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. Despite its cryptic title, the song (as I interpret it) is an optimistic message of rebirth. The world as we know it is deconstructing and out of the chaos, a new, brave one emerges. It brings to mind a quote by one of my favourite writers Anais Nin, “In chaos, there is fertility.”
My own world is undergoing a deconstruction of sorts, a personal revolution set in motion by recent travel to Southeast Asia. It was an amazing trip. Indonesia, specifically the island of Bali, was an exotic adventure that saw me visiting ancient temples and palaces, arts and crafts communities, rice terraces, volcanoes and other cultural and natural wonders.
What made the visit especially memorable for me were the Balinese. As I toured schools, walked through villages and chatted with residents, their friendliness, warmth and sense of humour touched me. Genuinely curious and smiling effortlessly, the Balinese, as I learned, can be engaging conversationalists. There was much to love about the island, which made my other discovery about Bali startling – the poverty.
The irony is that despite the billions of visitor dollars generated annually by this tourist mecca, a growing number of Bali’s inhabitants live in extreme poverty (living on less than $2.00 per day). In the urban areas, it was particularly jarring and surreal to see rows of resort hotels sitting alongside slums. This was the flipside of paradise.
I returned home from Bali with more than a suitcase of holiday mementos. Moved and humbled by the beauty and complexity of Bali, I’m more appreciative of life as a whole and deeply grateful for the opportunity that allowed me to travel to this amazing part of the world.
The whole experience shifted me. It has revealed to me certain truths about myself – good and bad. It has clarified for me what is and is not relevant. It has changed the focus of my work and the way I can best help others. As one year draws to an end and another is to begin, I look forward to the new adventures that lie ahead.
It’s the end of my world, as I know it (and I feel fine).
Are you ready to deconstruct the old for the new?