Expats turning healthier?!

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I must say that even after many years in my profession, I still experience excitement about how courageous and determined some people can be in utilizing counseling or psychotherapy to improve their lives. I am particularly happy if it is possible for me to help children and teenagers (because they have their whole lives ahead of them and if they can get over the obstacles that prevent their lives from being happy, it is just great) or people past their midlife. Why’s that? It is because in our society, ‘older’ people have the image of not being able to change anymore.

Aging is looked down upon by many who take the position that turning 30 is already bad enough, but that life can only get worse once we get beyond our 40s or 50s.

The concept of life being over at 30 is not true at all and Pattaya is quite a good place to observe that. While the majority of expats who live here follow a hedonistic and indulgent lifestyle, one can increasingly find individuals out there who look great for their age and participate in various activities that help them keep their body in shape and do everything necessary to stay happy for a long time.

Often enough though, such an attitude was induced by major shock events like heart attacks, sexual dysfunction or other diseases. But sometimes it also comes out of a realization that in the end, it is our body and our psyche that set restrictions we can’t really ignore: if our body turns sick or limits the ways we can live our lives or if our psyche sets such limits, there is only one way left that might eventually stop the downwards spiral, whatever our tendency to look away might be, and that is to change our lifestyle, ideally with some help and support, to get ‘kick started’ as quickly as possible.

I have met people who stopped smoking, drinking (imagine that, in Pattaya, the city of ‘Draft Happy Hours!) or other kinds of drug abuse, people who got their body in shape even after decades of being obese, 70 year old men who could awaken their sexual drive again, and older couples who had to come to Pattaya to find out that with just a little support they could fix their marriage.

For some, such U-turns might come too late, but for others they are the first steps to a new life. I’d like to end this piece with a nice quote from American writer Helen H. Santmyer (1895-1986): “Time – our youth – it never really goes, does it? It is all held in our minds.”

Live the happy life you planned! Richard L. Fellner is head of the Pattaya Counseling Center in Soi Khopai and offers consultations in English and German languages (after making appointments at 0854 370 470).