Five Years Time

I’ve had a serious sit down to take stock of the past 5 years. In the same breath, so much has changed and yet so much is the same.

2010 – 2011

Zanzibar

I was in Tanzania mid-2010. I had quit my 7 days a week, 16 hours a day job that I thought was helping me “save the world” and “make a difference”. Oh to be young and naïve. My mental and physical health had deteriorated and in desperation for a change or on a whim (I can’t remember which it was) I decided not to wait for the ‘someday’ and just book my tickets to Tanzania. I decided I’d go there for a few weeks and if nothing worked out, I could just as easily come back. I stayed there nearly a year. I went in blind and made up the next steps as I got there. It is an adventure close to my heart. Being as list-crazy as I am, I managed to list all the things I managed to do while there so I don’t have to rehash an old subject. Read more here.

2012 – 2013

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When I came back from East African adventure, I was so jaded I stayed at home and decided to enjoy just being. When you’re on the go for so long, you crave moments of being rooted. One day turned into two years. I stayed at home, I took care of grammie (which was gratifying and yet very mentally and physically exhausting). For work, I consulted with a few NGOs and conducted workshops, I also took a step towards moving to my dream career of writing. I blogged more, I sought out freelance projects and got lucky to be hired by the Day Zero Project (I still contend it is the best job I have ever had). I went through emotional rollercoasters of a very extreme kind – I lost a mentor (you can read the requiem here) and just the baggage of being someone’s caretaker, of staying at home and never going out pushed me to a whopping 105kgs of weight. When I hit rockbottom and there was nowhere else to go, I decided to get my fitness back on track and also decided to pay for an international trip for my brother.

I know, I know. It isn’t as glamourous as it seems. We went to Malaysia and Singapore and had the time of my life (I had to tag along you see. Make sure my money was being put to good use. Shortly after we came back, I got to see the Taj Mahal which is every bit as beautiful as they say it is.  I felt like I found a fresh lease on life – I suppose you are always optimistic when you are travelling.  I got back home to find myself in the same rut. Something had to be done. I decided to do a drastic – I’m leaving – step like I did with Tanzania. Only this time, we found out the li’l sister was engaged so I made a deal with the parents that I will stay till she got married and then leave the nest (about time too!)

The Baby Pea got married in 2013 and I used that as an excuse to get some more travelling in. After visiting large parts of England, Wales and Scotland (including hunting for Nessie and visiting the mother of all henges!), I saw my dad walk her down the aisle and it was as if the whole world came a full circle. Later that evening, I realized I was falling in love with a guy I had met at her birthday party – that silly guy that turned my life around. Thus started the long distance phase – the phase that was never meant to be.

2014 – 2015

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I started the year with a visit from said silly man. All those people who looked at me like I had cancer when I said we decided to give long distance a try – I wanted to show them that for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on, it was working and I was happy. I stayed on at the parents but got a job as a full time writer. We decided as a couple to try India for a while and so Adam moved all the way from England to a third world nation that somehow suits him more than it suits me. He must’ve been an Indian in a previous life. We moved in together which also meant I moved out of home. Despite all the stress of “OMG what will people say” and the many fights that come from it, it has gone very well. While there is still some pressure to get married because I’m “old” and living in – which is a big sin – I have had an amazing 6 months so far. My family has gotten to know him and he’s gotten to know them. We’ve had a couple of family trips and I finally got to spend so much time with my little niece who is (no bias) a complete sweetheart.

Some of the things we’ve done in this phase makes it feel like we’ve lived lifetimes. We met and saw Alt J and Daniel Waples (who was a revelation) in concert (Rudimental played, but meh!), we’ve been to Thailand, to Pondicherry, to Mysore, we watched RCB play live – which was always a big dream for Adam, we saw the little niece grow from a little baby to a restless ‘I need to see and touch and taste everything’ crawling creature. I’ve also been offered a job in Thailand that may see me there by the end of this year. Or maybe not.

Life is every changing but not one minute of it has been boring. I can only wish that the next five years be as full and adventurous as the last five have been. I’m looking forward to every second of it.

Guest Blog – The Last 5 Years by New Author Online

Kevin Morris has been hosted here many times over the past 2 years and I have been honoured with space on his blog as well. While you can read his other guest posts here, you should direct your attention to an Anthology to raise money for Guidedogs where you can find many short stories, including one of my own (don’t forget to donate!). Show some love!

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Thank you to Anju for inviting me to write about the last five years of my life. Anyone who is still awake at the end of this post deserves a medal so, without further prevarication here goes!

The past five years have been extremely hectic. Holding down a full-time job, maintaining a blog, writing and publishing books have all kept me very busy.

I began writing in 2011-2012. To begin with I wrote purely for the pleasure of the thing. I had no idea that one day my books would grace the virtual shelves of those kind enough to download them. I am still in some senses a Luddite. Although all my books exist purely in electronic form there is, for me nothing like the feel of a beautifully produced book (especially of the hardback variety) and my dream is for my work to appear in traditional printed form, enclosed between the covers of a hard or paperback book. I am currently revising my collection of poetry and prose, “Dalliance” and hope that in addition to the eBook a good old fashioned paper edition will also be available for my readers to enjoy.

My first collection of short stories entitled “The First Time” first appeared on my blog and, in 2013 as an ebook. I continue to be moved by the generosity of fellow WordPress bloggers. There support has helped inspire me to keep writing. Thank you to everyone who has hosted me or in any way promoted my writing, I really do appreciate all your help!

The past 5 years saw the tragic death of my previous guide dog, Drew in March 2011. It was a normal day. I went into the office as usual and stopped off for a pint in my favourite local on the way home. Drew seemed fine however, during the night she began to pass blood and despite being rushed to the vet she sadly died due to a heart attack brought on by blood loss.

Following Drew’s death I was touched by the kind words of fellow bloggers, particularly by those who had also lost a much loved animal. To me Drew was much more than a guide dog. She was a close friend who helped me on a daily basis to live independently. I now have a lovely brindle lab/retriever called Trigger who I love to bits. No dog can ever substitute for a former much loved companion. My bond with Trigger is extremely close but no dog can replace a dearly departed friend. Each dog is special and possesses his or her own unique personality.

Thank you again to Anju for allowing me to lull you all to sleep with my ramblings. Sorry I mean to entertain you all with my pearls of wisdom!

Guest Blog – 5 in 5 by Classical Gasbag

Norm and I became friends over a floppy disk. It’s a long story that I’m saving for an important occasion but what started off as friendly information sharing became a friendship that now spans across a blogging platform, a mailing platform by some corporate called Google and a good old fashioned pen to paper medium they used to call letters. But before all of this, there was Classical Gasbag and that’s where I fell in love with a stranger’s style of writing. If you haven’t already clicked on the link, go read now. 

Norm

Five years ago I left my last part-time job and fully retired. I happily gave up my structured life of getting out of bed early in the morning and showering before my wife, Cindy, took over the bathroom so that she could get ready for work. I was never sure how long her morning ablutions and cosmetics application would take because she was often interrupted by telephone calls, or… Well, that’s neither here nor there. That isn’t the topic of this piece.

My life suddenly became unstructured. I slept as long as I wanted. Except even without an alarm to wake me, I still opened my eyes at 5:30 a.m. I watched the morning news, but I wasn’t going anywhere to talk to anyone about the things that interested me. I tried going to an occasional breakfast gathering of people with whom I had worked while I was still a State employee, but I invariably ended up seated next to or across from the people no one else wanted to listen to. Believe me, there were reasons no one wanted to listen to them. I stopped going after about three breakfasts. I learned the patterns of the mail carrier so that I could stroll out to the mailbox and share a pleasant word or two. Of course the only mail we were getting were bills and sales pitches for hearing aids and assisted living facilities. I started going to the Amazon website and ordering books and CD’s and DVD’s that were on sale so that something interesting would come in the mail.

That went on for a couple of years and then I discovered blogging. I had originally planned to use my blog to rant about things that upset me and to write stories of my life before I moved to Lafayette and met Cindy. I thought that if I played around with those stories I might eventually write a fictional account of my earlier life. But I also planned to write a post a day for a year. And Cindy kept telling people that they should read my blog. Well, I didn’t especially want those people to read about my past, and since I was posting every day I had to fall back on things that were happening every day as subject matter. It did bring some structure back into my life.

The best part of the Internet is not the ease of shopping, or of doing research, or even the easy accessibility to smut, but rather the opportunity to read what other bloggers are posting. Of course I’m only speaking for my crabby, old self. I only follow a couple of dozen blogs. I respect those writers and their visions of the world. That is why when Anju, whom I truly respect, asked me last year if I was going to do the NaNoWriMo challenge, I decided to jump in. It became my way of finally stringing together some fictionalized stories from my past. This year she asked if I was doing a reading challenge, so yes, I am. Now she has honored me by asking me to write this guest post. She is pushing my boundaries as well as adding more structure to my life. I guess that I have to admit that structure, even in retirement, is good for me. Thank you, Anju!

It’s the 5nal countdown!

Somewhere in madness of spring skipping school and letting summer arrive early, WordPress reminded me that it is my 5 year blogiversary this month! As is ritual, I created a few new headers and have finally uploaded one that felt like the 5th year one (you can see the others on my headers page). For all the readers I’ve lost and all those who read me on feedly (and other reader apps), here’s the 5nal image.

This Labyrinth I Roam

And because this is the 5th year and as such, is such a huge milestone, I decided to approach 5 of my most favourite writers and have asked them to pen down something special. So you’re in for 5 articles about the past 5 years in 500 words. I’m really nervous-excited about this.

An update about what’s been happening will be up soon. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the guest posts as I go and find myself some cake to celebrate.

Hugs!