Notes on my India travels is a mixture of grief, loss, and the reality of how change moved me deeply on this 2018 visit.
I returned from my India vacation four days ago and am still dealing with jet lag. But I wanted to reach out to you and share some highlights of our family vacation.
We spent Christmas with my husband’s side of the family and helped my sister-in-law bake a total of 15 cakes. The tree was small but beautiful and the gift exchanges were filled with much laughter and joy. The eighty-degree weather right through our month-long stay felt like a true blessing as we got to escape a bit of the Chicago winter! Time spent with dear friends and family members was nostalgic and precious. I got some quality time with both my sisters who I’m very close to, and connected with very dear friends whose hospitality made my heart swell with love. One of the special highlights of our trip was spending 3 days in a homestay run by our friends in the middle of Kanha National Park, one of the largest national parks in Madhya Pradesh (Central India). We went on three safaris and spotted tiger twice!
But this trip to India which I undertake once every two years also brings me face-to-face with the six-letter word most of us shy away from: Change.
India looks like mall nation to me. The old-world department stores are giving way to swanky malls with shoppers spilling out of every new mall they build. Saris and salwar kameezes are passé. More and more western apparel is making its way into Indian stores. People are working their thumbs furiously on cell phone screens and making little eye contact with those who are right in front of them. Uber taxis roam the streets.
On a more personal level, some of my closest relatives are getting on in years and it was hard to pretend that I didn’t notice the extra wrinkles, the slight stoop, the increased amount of time spent discussing ailments and treatments. I definitely experienced a degree of grief over how those who were in their forties and fifties are now creeping closer to retirement and discussing where to spend the last decades of their lives.
In the past few months, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. How we stay so focused on the loved ones who are missing from our lives that we fail to notice and “see” those who are still here. I tried my best to give these people all my time and attention and love. I thanked them for who they are and what they mean to me.
Time marches on. We don’t know how much time our loved ones, or we, have. An India trip brings home this truth in a stark and compelling way.
Don’t wait for a tomorrow which may never come. Pick up the phone and call someone you love today. Write that letter you’ve been putting off. Get in the car and drive over to senior living to eat lunch with someone you can light up with that simple yet profound act of love.
Today, this moment, is what we have. Let’s use it well. Struggling with change? Book a 60-minute Single Session.