My 30 Year Itch

blog by sean fargo

October 14th, 2007:

Today is the last day of my roaring 20’s. It’s hard to believe all that has happened over the past 10 years, much less 30, but such is life. The next decade may not be as dynamic, irreverent, quixotic or lucky as the last, but then again, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, either.

My mom maintains that I always try to do too much. She knows me well. If there are a hundred possibilities on the day’s plate of events, then I will try to do them all. Perhaps my motives lie in not wanting to miss anything memorable. Or thinking that I am capable of everything. Or fearing that I will let others down. Or wanting as many people to accept me into their life as possible. Perhaps all are partially true. It is hard to say. But knowing that I have tried (and accomplished) so many things leads me to conclude that my first 30 years have been lived to the fullest.

I write this on the 3rd day of an 8-day stay at the 5-star Horizon Resort on Hainan Island (see attached), a tropical Chinese escape for Koreans, Russians and, of course, Chinese. There is so much to do at this immaculate resort – there are several swimming pools, 19 jacuzzi’s, 5 water slides, 50+ beach-side lounge chairs and umbrellas, boats, jet skies, scuba diving equipment, restaurants, bars, stationed security personnel, pockets of young women scattered around playing traditional Chinese instruments, indoor and outdoor waterfalls, and thousands of   palm trees lining labyrinths of cobblestone walkways.

The resort staff, however, is decidedly Chinese, with all of their inherent ideas of service withstanding (good and bad). It is crucial for Westerners to understand and accept this in order to properly vacate one’s self on vacation here. Perhaps that is why I have seen less than 5 of them so far.

Yesterday, as I sat down to meditate on a rolling grass lawn overlooking Yalong Bay, a hard green coconut thumped to the ground beside me and bounced several feet along the grass as if it were an American football – a potentially fatal occurrence if it has landed on my head. I was awestruck and at once nervous. I read about killer coconuts long ago, but I naively deemed it fiction or, at the very least, a truly bizarre event.

Quickly getting out of the way and looking toward the sky, I found two men 30 feet above me climbing around the tops of respective palm trees, hacking away with machetes. These monkey men maneuvered without safety gear through the tangles of leaves and nut sacks, hired by the resort to displace anything that looked old, clumpy or in danger of soon otherwise succumbing to gravity. Once satisfied with their pruning, the dark-skinned men skillfully free-styled down the swaying trunks in their blue jumpsuits, collected the fallen leaves below and stacked them on an old 3-wheeled cart.

The younger of the two men, well aware of my keen interest in their work, walked around the perimeter of his tree, selected a large, ripe coconut from those he fell, hacked through the top with his machete and handed a most exquisite mid-day drink to me with a genuine, earthy smile.

This place is something.

My hotel suite has a decedent bath-tub in the middle of it. There is also a desktop computer with external speakers that can play the reggae from my i-pod. North-facing windows. Fashion TV. Green tea. Dim switches. All-in-all, it’s pretty sexual. But t here are seemingly no single women here except for the resort’s sole Thai masseuse. It is planned that she will, in her own words, “escort” me to dinner on my birthday tomorrow night. During my 90-minute rub-down this morning, we discovered that we both feel the same way about this resort. Something is missing for us. Like someone to enjoy it with.

These days I am always somewhere new, doing something different, meeting someone new. This is a daily challenge for me, but one I readily admit to and work to prosper with. The difficulty of developing, maintaining and accepting meaningful localized or personal routines in the future will be best mitigated through the rooted understanding that the most important and perhaps only true constant is found within the self, able to be cultivated anywhere, anytime. Like on a rolling grass lawn near falling nut sacks.

Because I am here alone, there is a lot of time to read and think…

My Beijing Zen trainer has such a fantastic energy (or force, or spirit) that I consciously and subconsciously mimic many of his traits on a daily basis. He radiates serenity, strength, simplicity, freedom, life. Thinking about the consequences of following deep within his footsteps scares something very reactive inside me. Yet I am continually drawn. These thoughts pace themselves accordingly.

A trio of Chinese teens dressed as show clowns just walked by.

A very pregnant, bikini-clad Korean woman laid down next to me by the pool yesterday.

The people in Oslo got it right this week. Too many wars have been fought over natural resources, as it was. Climate change and peace go hand-in-hand.

I share these thoughts openly with you during a special time in my life because you are special to me. I write this to you because I know if we were together in the same city on my special night, we would happily get shit-faced together in a blitzkrieg of raucousness and good old fashioned hyjinx. Quite frankly, I miss all of you. So tomorrow night as I celebrate 30 years, it is you who I will be thinking about, knowing that we will soon hug, swap stories and catch-up in person and in due time.

30 Bowls of Fruit,


Author: Sean Fargo
About Sean Fargo At the peak of his career as Director of Asian Operations for AsiaEXP, Sean Fargo traded in his worldly aspirations to explore the inner life by ordaining as a Buddhist monk for two years in the Thai Theravada tradition. Since disrobing in 2010, he has supported thousands of meditation practitioners at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, facilitated mindfulness classes in San Quentin and Solano State Prisons, and has lead several workshops at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education teen retreats. A dedicated student of spirituality and mindfulness, he has studied with Jack Kornfield, Analayo Bhikkhu, Phillip Moffitt, and many other teachers in the US and Asia. His teaching path is guided by Guy Armstrong, Senior Teachers Council member for both Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. Founder of, he offers secular mindfulness e-courses with certifications available for personal and professional skill sets. Enrolled in New Ventures West's Coaching Certification Program, Sean expects to certify as an Integral Life Coach in November 2014. He graduated with honors from University of California at Santa Barbara’s Global Studies Department in 2000. Sean offers private instruction to adults, teens, companies, and organizations. Contact Sean Fargo for more info.

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