So I went to a boat party a while ago. Normally these are a good day out on the sea, with good company, a bit of sun, food and drinks. So why was I overcome with emotion just a few minutes after leaving the dock?
The answer to this question is a bit of a long one (but if you really can’t be bothered reading anymore, the quick answer is because of love).
I have had an amazing life and upbringing. I literally didn’t want anything that I didn’t have as a child (to the extent that my parents bought me a guitar and a keyboard on separate Christmases so that I could “unwrap something”- despite me not being able to play either at the time). My sisters and I have always had everything we needed and more, without having to ask for this.
However, We were never spoilt. We were taught valuable lessons about life and never took anything for granted. I got my first game console when I was about 13 when all my friends grew up with them from an early age. I got a mobile phone (Nokia 5210- below) at 14 years old and I knew I had to make it last as it was “a very grown-up thing to have” (luckily the case was rubber, so it literally bounced). I know the world has changed since then but we definitely got this “stuff” later than most of our friends. These are examples of how my parents taught me that “stuff and things” are not what makes people happy or what matters in life.
What I didn’t realise when I was growing up is what was actually happening. My parents were showering us with unconditional love. It didn’t matter what we did. It didn’t matter what we had. They would do anything for us and they wouldn’t expect anything in return.
As I have got older my brain has changed a lot. I have a lot of ideas, some are outright stupid, some seem good for a while and some just make sense. No matter what my ideas are, I have learnt that Sarah will always listen to them. She has given things to me that I never could ask for or expect. She has given me the confidence and support to change our lifestyle to try a different experience and travel to different places to create amazing memories. She not only tries things that I am passionate about but quite often ends up getting more into them than me! She has this ability to filter out the crazy stuff and help us to focus on the important things in life. Like my parents, she doesn’t ask for (or expect) anything in return (as far as I am aware!!)
Back to the boat
So here I was on this boat talking to this giant of a man, Dan, that I had only met a handful of times. He is one of those guys who makes you feel like you’ve known him for ages when you talk to him. We discussed the usual stuff (holidays, where we are from, sports etc.) But when we talked about our families he randomly asked me if I liked fish. Fish?! So he went on to tell me about this Rabbi (see below) who tells a story of a boy that says he loves fish. Peeling it back the Rabbi finds out that the boy doesn’t love fish at all. He likes the way fish tastes and, therefore, loves what the fish gives him. “Fish love” is when you “love” something for what it gives you.
So why did I become emotional on the boat? He then went on to say what real love is. It was like hearing someone put into words my relationships with Sarah and our family. I’d always known I felt love but I had never been able to articulate it… True love is sacrificing anything for someone or something else and expecting nothing in return.
True love is a love of giving, not of receiving.
We are Sarah and Mike Beatty, an international teaching couple, aged 29, from England. Since mid-2015 we have got married, moved to a new continent, started a business and visited over 10 countries.
So far, on our journey, we have realised the importance of continually being willing to change for the better. This is the reason for our business name “Kaizen”, which is a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement.