Everything has come to a halt here during the last two months as I have prepared to send our cats halfway around the planet. All vaccinations and paperwork have been taken care of, three cargo boxes are at the ready, stuffed with an old blanket I’ve slept on for a month so I can travel with them in scent at least. The little pet house Fellini is peeking out of has become a favorite sleeping spot over the last few weeks. Now we’ll put one of these houses in each cat’s box and hopefully this will make them all feel a bit more safe. Last but not least, just now, I’ve administered some oily drops called “Well-Being Spot-On” which are supposed to give them a fuzzy feeling of “all’s well in the world”.
Now the time has come and, in two hours, Fellini, Nacho, and Pushka will be picked up and brought to Zurich airport. They’ll travel the first leg of their journey with Swiss (very fancy). Then, once they’ve arrived in Hong Kong, they’ll have to wait a day until the next morning to board a ferry to Macau.
Currently, they are all sleeping on their favorite cat tree, unawares of what will happen today. My whole heart will go with them. I’ll miss those little guys like crazy. Hopefully, they’ll recover fast from their long journey. It’ll surely help that Hanna’s loving and open arms will be waiting for them on the other side.
So often in life things turn out far different from how we imagine them to be. Often, what we count on and believe in with all our heart turns out to be far more fragile and unsure than we ever imagined. Sometimes, it only takes a few days or weeks of intense pressure, or a break in familiar routine, for the walls of the temple of our hopes to crack and crumble, debris raining down all around us… leaving us to wonder why the beautiful structure we had built had looked so formidable and strong… yet turned out to have walls as thin and treacherous as an early-winter layer of ice on the pond of our desires. Reality always comes with a twist. Plans we make go up in a puff of dust, because life – more often than not – has other plans. Maybe our path is supposed to be far more challenging. For us to grow and learn from past mistakes we were only vaguely aware we were making. Maybe reality checks need to hit us with the force of a raging tsunami, tearing us up and away by the roots, so we can reawaken to what’s truly important, move forward, and build a better foundation, forever being more aware and appreciative of what we have been blessed with.
So much is happening, so many things to think about and organize, focussing on writing my second book has been hard. It’s tough enough as it is, finding time during regular day job days, but even on my days off I have been distracted lately. Every morning, I get up with the best intentions, but then stuff needs to be done, I think, overthink, and get angry at myself for not being able to do it all, not being stronger. I lie awake at night, dreaming and plotting. When I wake up my thoughts are already racing, months ahead of the present…
I miss my wife who is working on a cruise ship on the other side of the world. When she is with me, I am truly home. It seems writing and creating is something I do best when the words flow from a source of deep happiness and belonging.
I miss you so much my love.
I tell myself to get a grip, take things one fish at a time, be disciplined, concentrate, and keep on writing no matter what. Only to put so much pressure on myself that it again becomes almost impossible to focus on the task at hand. I need to find a balance between letting go and being dedicated to my dream. I need to relax and trust myself. Trust that I will finish this book, even if not within the time frame I have set for myself… because art is not an emergency… and life happens.
Better to write well and take all the time I need, instead of writing obsessively fast, ending up with something I know I could have done better. Still, today, after pouring my heart out to you all, I will take a shot at chapter nine of seventeen…
Stepping way out of my comfort zone (geographically as well as mentally) for the first time when I was 18 years old was one of the best things I ever did… It was the beginning of a nomadic life, a global existence, an openness towards things and people unknown, that I wouldn’t trade in for anything.
“During the first six months, my year abroad had seemed like a life sentence. During the last six months, I got progressively into the swing of things. Time started to fly by. The closer the end date came, the more I realized how much good had come from this year in another world and how amazingly lucky I was to have had this opportunity. Living with my Mormon host family, whose life was so contrary to my own, gave me a first glimpse into the extreme diversity of ideologies on our planet. I fell in love with our world. And I fell in love with its people.” (Excerpt from Paralian, more info here)
A little while back, on June 2nd, 2017, I read the following text underneath one of Brandon Stanton’s photographs for Humans of New York (thanks for your inspiring work Brandon. I hope you don’t mind if I share this here):
“I don’t think I’m going to miss eighth grade. It’s been a tough year. A lot of my friends are struggling with depression and self-harm, and it’s hard for me to watch. I just care about them so much. Growing up is so hard for some people. It’s such a big thing. It’s your foundation, I guess. You’re becoming you. It’s such a big thing and we’re going through it right now. Some of my friends are struggling with loving themselves and loving life. I think they forget that we’re still learning. They think that they’re already who they’re going to be. They think they know the future. And it’s going to be horrible. And they’ll never be able to fix it. But that’s not true because we’re still changing. And we’ll always be changing. Even when we’re old, we’ll be changing.”
As I read the musings of this insightful teenager, what she said struck me as such a profound truth. She talked about herself and her teenage friends, most likely never realizing that, by doing so, she described the human condition in general. Most, if not all of us, face similar existential questions and troubles no matter our background or age. Many of us are struggling with loving ourselves and loving life. And yes, we’re all continuously changing. Life and change are one. Irrevocably. We spend our entire lives becoming who we really are… learning, un-learning, growing, evolving with each experience we make throughout our turbulent life journey. There is nothing to do but to face those waves as they crash over our heads. Some breakers will pummel the crap out of us. They’ll push us down like a bully in a kid’s swimming pool until we can barely catch our breath. Other rollers will lift us up and carry us further than we ever imagined.