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March 12, 2024

The Lifetimes Lived in a Decade: a Reflection on Change, Upheaval & Growth.


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That’s me 10 years apart, to the day.

In this past decade, a lot of life has been lived—

life after divorce; big career change; a new partnership; countries and continents traversed; death and grief; an almost perfect life vapourized;

renewal and falling in love with myself and life; a month of silence and retreat; more countries and continents; mountain peaks and deep cenotes;

a dream job; making friends with the grief; a shaved head; journeys with not-anymore-stray dogs to their new families—what a bittersweet heart-opening experience;

another month of silence and retreat; finding home base finally…or so I thought. Time will tell.

A few lifetimes fitted into a short decade with many stories to be told. Each life unrecognizable from the previous.

But do we as a person truly intrinsically change?

Why might I ask this question when each experience seemingly changed me forever. Because last night, as I sifted through old papers and memories, letting go of things and attachments that no longer keep me in the present, I found a slightly creased piece of paper written in fountain pen ink.

The words made me smile, and they made me sigh.

Made me smile because this was the first poem I had written, over 10 years ago, sitting by the ocean enticed by the waves but wary of my ability to handle their wild nature. The allure was strong, and despite my nonexistent swimming skills, I walked straight into the waves beginning the biggest love affair of my life. But not before I sat two hours in the sand, writing my first poem, in ink on paper.

As I read it today, everything applies. Everything. After 10 years, everything applies?

This made me sigh. Did nothing come of a decade of upheavals, growth, evolution?

I read the poem again. And another time. Then once more. And then again.

I read it slowly, and as I did, I went back to my life before this decade that had prompted me to write this—life changes so significant that they bored poetry from my heart. I thought back to the exact moment in the sand, as I debated ocean or not—where my head was at, but more importantly, what were the feelings.

Then I looked at me today. The path I’ve walked and the life I’ve created and continue to.

And it hit me.

When I wrote the poem in 2013, it was entirely metaphorical—for I had not yet left home base in the real sense.

I wasn’t a traveler, let alone a nomad. But in the first 35 years of my existence, I had felt like a lone mind who didn’t fit into the life that had been chosen for me, not by another but by expectations of myself, coloured by conditioning and a predetermined structure.

Reading it now after over 10 years, these words sound almost prophetic. Because this short poem is an uncannily accurate description of the last decade of my life. Of the life I’ve actually lived. There was nothing metaphorical about it anymore.

And yes, things had changed. From something that was just a deep, cloaked desire, I went on to create that life—one which held within all the events and experiences that brought these words to life in a short decade or a long 10 years, however we choose to see it.

There is another vital difference.

Ten years ago, I wanted to untether myself from anything that anchored me and roam the world. Now I aspire for a base from where I can still explore and adventure, but then come home to my people and community and the water and the sky and the trees. For home is not a place, a land, a country, or a culture.

Home is people who love you and know you will return, more enriched with every adventure on the path you continue to create.


I am the Lone Gypsy {Poem}

I am the lone gypsy,
No place to reach, no person to meet.

I stop to wonder where the road will lead.
Sometimes lone paths, sometimes crossroads,
Never it is a complete full stop.

There’s always more land to cover, more oceans to swim.
Beware, I’m in no rush to discover new places as if they were trophies in the bag of my successes.

I’m no traveller who yearns a new chase, I’m the lone gypsy who has no base.
No journey to undertake, no route to find.
I am the lone gypsy, I stop to enjoy the beauty of nature, the wonders of life.

I walk by myself, my shadow for company.
Friends meet me in places of joy.
Family stops by to make sure I’m fine.
Lovers walk along for a while.

But I must walk alone, for this is my destiny.
I am the lone gypsy, no place to reach no person to meet.


Author’s Note: As a writer and editor, I often have to engage in conversations with the readers about what is politically correct, and what is offensive. One is the usage of the word gypsy. In one long drawn out conversation, there was no clear conclusion as a lot of Romani people, also called Gypsies, gave their inputs that they did not find it offensive at all and that it is a term that has come to be identified with them; also over the years, the term (lower case gypsy) has acquired meanings not referencing the Romani people. You can read a well-researched commentary here.

Separately, a little bit of history of the Romani people. They originated from North India, of Hindu origin, the same area and religion that I was born into. They were not persecuted by their own people, but as they were moved westward by the invaders. And continued to be segregated and persecuted by the Europeans and later in the Americas. Thus, it might still be inappropriate for a person of western origin to use the word gypsy flippantly, however, I use it with utmost respect and connection with these colorful, artistic nomadic people. 


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