Having all events, appointments and social gatherings cancelled for the last month or so has meant that I’ve had more time to spend writing my next book. I’ve gone further back in time to the years we spent in Pakistan, before Nine Years in Bangkok: Lessons Learned.
At the same time, I’ve been watching the series Better Call Saul in the evenings. It’s a prequel to Breaking Bad so the characters are in “before” mode. They are younger, more optimistic versions of themselves. In essence, who they were before life dealt them some heavy blows; before they took some wrong turns or made naïve decisions.
Writing about my life in the 1990s in Pakistan has much the same feeling—our family “before”. Moving to Pakistan from Canada was much like walking into a forest without a compass and having to decide where each step would take us. It was a defining time for the four of us (our kids were young teenagers) and shaped our future in ways we never imagined.
As I write, I see each one of us clearly—our ‘selves’ of the past. I think about our experiences, some awe-inspiring, some traumatic, and the decisions we made that forged future paths. We were younger more optimistic versions of ourselves. Did we make mistakes? Yes. Did we take some wrong turns? Yes. Did some of this form our future selves? Yes.
The big question is: Would I do things differently if given the chance? I don’t know. We all did the best we could at the time. There are so many variables in the lead up to crucial moments.
All I know is that, right now, I am watching a movie about our family almost 30 years ago. It’s a fascinating prequel. There are lots of episodes ahead of me. Do we grow and change? Are we better or worse for these experiences? Maybe both?
Every day I look forward to opening my memories and finding the answers.