It’s been interesting being in a country where very little English is spoken (or written for that matter). It makes your brain hunt for the language you’re familiar with, and when you hear it, your ears immediately perk up.
This week I was sitting at The Blue Cup, a coffee shop in Kyiv, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Can’t Stop” came on. I’ve always enjoyed their music, but I can’t say it’s ever stood out to me more than anything other than casual listening. But for some reason, this time it did.
Maybe it was because of the English. Perhaps it was the familiarity of the sound. Regardless, the way the song wraps up with the music going quiet at the end, and you hear “this life is more than just a read through” over silence hit me.
There are a lot of things that had to happen for Kathy and I to decide to leave the world we knew for a year. While most people encouraged our plans, some told us we were making a huge mistake. Others wondered why we would put our lives on pause.
While only ten weeks in, I can tell you this experience is making a huge impression on our lives. Not just now in the present, but also for future plans. There have been many great days, and I assure you, there have been plenty where I question why the hell we’re halfway around the world. But, I’ve never been, or even wanted to be, “normal.”
We don’t get a second chance at life, a “read through” if you will. The last thing I wanted was to get to be 60 or 70 years old — close to the age of retirement and not be able to do the things I’d always dreamed about. Whether for reasons of health, wealth, or even whether or not we were even alive.
I also didn’t want to get so set in my ways that I would turn my nose at the ideas, people, and cultures that differed from my beliefs. I’ve learned so much about the struggles other people are facing. I’ve also learned to appreciate how lucky I was to have been born in the United States when I was.
It would be a crime to simply allow life to just happen to us. We owe it to ourselves to take charge and live life on purpose.
Some of the other lyrics from the song that stood out to me:
- Choose not a life of imitation – Live your life for you. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to be accepted.
- Go write your message on the pavement – We’re only here for a short time. If you believe in something, put it out there, even if it does wash away eventually.
- Complete the motion if you stumble – We’re going to make mistakes. I know I continue to make plenty. It’s in those moments we learn the most. Trying to prevent stumbling only prevents you from growing.