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 – Five Years in a Life

Karina from Lazy Happy Bored Happy Sad has been one my oldest blogging friends and after a few awkward tweets, we became close enough to meet in person. You can read all about that adventure here. And while you’re at it, catch up on her previous posts for me here. For now, this is the story of the past 5 years of her life – they reached my heart as I’m sure it will touch yours. Show her some love. 

I jumped at the idea of writing another guest post for Anju because I love her and her writing and she is one of my oldest blog friends. I jumped without knowing what to write.

Five years seems like a short enough time; especially to someone who still thinks the 90s were less than 10 years ago. Spoiler alert, they are not. The thing is, almost everything about my life changed in the past five years, hell, five years is longer than my oversharing on the internet even spans.

Anju’s question really brought that up, because while I already realised that a lot had happened in the past couple of years, it never registered that dramatically.

I went from being a student to being a full time employee.

I went from daughter to orphan, passing the roadblock of being a caretaker.

I went from assuming I was straight to knowing I’m a lesbian.

I made a whole lot of friends spanning all over the world.

I travelled to more cities than I can even recall at this point.

I stopped writing to then write a novel and stop writing again.

I grew up more while staying childish.

And I kept thinking about all the things that did change until I remember the things about me that are so inherently me that they stayed the same because they always were and I find comfort in it. Some things will never change. Like me being an unapologetic feminist. It has been the label I have worn proudly for as long as I can remember because I never fit any standard definition of feminine and I didn’t want to. Now more so than ever. This may be the single biggest thing being queer certified for me. I don’t have to conform to anyone’s expectations and norms aside from my own. And that’s okay. Being a woman doesn’t mean you have to wear dresses and shopping in the men’s section doesn’t make you any less of a woman. And being a lesbian doesn’t mean I have to run around in men’s clothes either. I can be whoever and whatever I want to be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the last five years taught me to be myself. I’ve always been fairly in tune with my own being but it’s like I got permission to be me and just me. My lovely grandma still wants me to dress the way she thinks I should dress and while I find it extremely annoying and off putting I stay my ground because I have to. There is no way for me to not be me.

I’m afraid this post turned way more serious than Anju anticipated when she asked me to write something for her but it’s a faithful recount of my last five years. Some of those years were the worst of my life and they don’t include the day I woke up to the police hammering at our front door looking for my father who was hiding in the bedroom.

In five years I learned my own strength and breaking points. I met my true self.

Easter Eggs on a Christmas Tree

30 Day Writing Challenge

I am ecstatic to be out to play. The calendar with X’s marking down to this glorious, glorious day is lying pitifully in the attic where I am for the rest of the year. I wish I could bring him with me but he prefers to listen to my stories after the fact. So I let him be and make a mental note to tell him about the new trinket on me this year. Every year, there’s a bizarre companion swinging off my branches, adding to my story pile. This is as it has always been and it makes me smile.

The festival of tinsel and magic is finally here.

Family around christmas tree

My humans are singing a song about silver bells as they do me up for 2013. I nudge the li’l ones with their silver bow ties and they jingle back in a soft gurgle. They seem love it as much as I do. The bells, the straw angels, the fairy lights and I have been a constant for many years and like coins in a piggy bank, we feed our wander lust through adventures we collect courtesy the bizarre ones. I love belonging to a family of humans who travel and always bring me back something. They are now singing a sing about a jolly man in a red suit and putting up Easter Eggs.

Yes. Easter Eggs from Germany.

Mr. Big, the elephant from England

Bugs, the rabbit from Austria

Chip, the Koala Bear from Australia

Miles, the saxaphone from the US of A (I’ve been banned from saying ‘murica because it isnt “cool” anymore)

Lance, the cycle from France

Davros, the dalek from Wales

Chugs (the mini pint glass from Ireland) says a tree can’t write a book about family trees and history because a) we don’t have a blood line b) we’re adopted c) I’m too old for tattoos. So I listen to my humans sit around me, cradling their mugs of hot cocoa and reminiscing about how they came by the snow globe, the cup of tea, the sushi platter and the grumpy cat.

Life is good.

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Today is the last day of my 30 day challenge and it has been such an exciting challenge that I think I may do it again sometime soon. For a person who hadn’t blogged since February, you’ve helped me rekindle the writing itch. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU – for sticking with me, for encouraging me, for always having something nice to say even if I cheated with a photo I nicked off the internet. The one takeaway through the process was that I will aim to write at least once a week in the new year. 

I was thinking of the perfect way to wrap this up and I spent hours looking up ideas on the internet but when I got home, the Christmas Tree was up and I got lost in the tales it holds – it has been the canvas to the adventures my family has had around the world and within this house. 

And so I thought it apt to tell its tale and also, to redecorate. This Labyrinth I Roam has had a makeover. Tell me what you think? 

I love you guys. 

xx