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A bike ride through a rice field in Thailand - a nice place to be whether you're pretending or not.

Not a day has gone by in the past year where I haven’t chuckled to myself a little about my life in Sri Lanka. “What the f@#$ am I doing here?” is usually how the laugh begins.

When most people my age are having sandwich grabbers (babies) or advancing in their careers, I’m spending my days riding on Sri Lankan buses, having confusing and many times incoherent conversations with those around me, all the while working in a psychiatric hospital in the middle of a jungle trying to educate media and others about a topic that I’m only just learning about (cue today’s chuckle).

In many ways it feels like, and is, a pretend life.

A life that carries as much or as little responsibility as I want to take. A life where not very much really seems to matter and everything is temporary. A life where the pressure and stress of the every day grind doesn’t feel like my own, but rather belongs to some pretend version of myself that magically formed as soon as I got on the plane a year ago in Regina – and a version that will likely just as magically vanish once I get back on the plane home for good next March.

What I’m not so sure about is that the version of myself waiting back at home is still the same. I know that version of me will have white eyebrows, laugh out loud a little too much and enjoy running around Wascana Lake – not so sure about everything else.

What I’m hoping for (and expecting) is a hybrid. A version of me that sweats less, but enjoys life more and (hopefully) takes virtually nothing for granted. Because the single most important thing that my pretend life here has taught me is that all versions of myself are amazingly lucky.

Lucky to grow up in a place like Canada, lucky to have great family and friends, lucky to have a healthy mind and body…and the luck goes on and on.

The truth is I didn’t come to Sri Lanka ‘to find myself’ or search for some sort of epiphany about the meaning to life. Not only do I think that stuff is b.s., I think a person looking for that would be sorely let down in a situation like I’m in.

I came here simply for something completely different and to break up the monotony of life – two things that all versions of myself will always be on the lookout for.

Keep on pretending.

Shaun

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