How Far We’ve Come: Milestones

In ’92 your journey began in a new land,

Settled Down Under for a better life with the fam,

Understandably daunting, all this is brand new,

Folks here look different from the ones that you knew,

Taller and different shades in terms of hair and complexion,

Speech patterns are different, as are the accents,

Language barrier ain’t helping, adding only to first day jitters,

Straight to first grade with limited communication, much to the other kids’ amusement,

ESL fixed you up in a hurry, by mid-year achieved fluency,

Aided by various cartoons that you were glued to on the daily,

All but promoted to citizen from foreigner, read a story to the class to mark the occasion,

Where The Wild Things Are to this day remains a story sentimental,

Began an interest in reading and writing, storytelling was where it’s at, 

Numerous awards earned from the teacher, made up for your weaknesses in science and in math,

Gradually loosened up, made some friends at school, enough to run into strife every once in a while, excessive chit-chat’s against the rules,

Visited a place called Wonderland for the first time, call it your local Disneyland,

No Mickey or Minnie in this pad, all ‘bout Fred Flintstone and his pals, but still lots of fun to be had,

They had a dinosaur exhibition on, triggering endless fascination,

Tastes in film, TV and books did it influence, while other boys geeked over cars, trucks, superheroes and even earth-moving equipment,

Cousin turned you onto gaming, you took to it like a duck to water,

Every weekend killed many hours on ‘em, sometimes bordering on obsession,

Might have been confusing times, plenty of changes dumped on such a young child,

But you look back on it with fondness for a reason, in many ways ‘92 was your life’s very foundation.

Fast forward to the next decade, year two of the new millennium,

Wonderland running on fumes, gonna be shut in a year or two,

Perfect analogy there for your present state of mind,

Late teens brought challenges of the draining kind,

The innocence of childhood gone, life took the kid gloves off,

The cheery kid had left the building, in his place a teen exasperated,

Angst and confusion strikes all teens, from physical appearance to thoughts on the future,

School-related pressures, changing dynamics with the parents, even those with the opposite gender,

It’s a tough place, that bridge between child and adulthood, can make and break an individual, some end up suicidal, wanna get off the carousel for good,

The magic that you took from gaming withering like a flame in the wind,

Music filled the void, mind’s thoughts expressed through punk and emo shit,

Round the clock bullying thrown in for good measure, let’s not forget friends’ betrayals,

Anger towards peers threatening to boil over, it’s a miracle you ain’t turned into a school shooter,

The world’s a cold and dark place, trust can easily be misplaced,

It’s sad, really, the thoughts of a young man in eleventh grade.

Skipping over now to the end of days according to the Mayan Calendar,

No clear threats to our existence, eight years later gonna feel something close to it,

By now made 27 trips around the sun, twenty years since grade one,

The happy kid begat a depressed teen that grew into a jaded adult pushing 30,

Last decade was a rollercoaster, so many ups and downs,

High school finished, university done and dusted, breakdowns in the personal life, definitely walked through your share of fires,

Disillusioned with the world and most folks in it, met one too many wolves in sheep’s clothing,

‘Fuck the world’ became a hidden mantra, stayed loyal to friends and fam while low-key seething in front of strangers,

Joined the ranks as an employee, making decent money, working out replaced the gaming, the body once-doughy ripped and strong like Bruce Lee’s,

Which brings us to the turning point, another life-changer was waiting ‘round the corner,

A martial art called wing chun, fit you like a tailored suit from day one,

No room for brute strength in this jawn, gotta stay relaxed but keep the form strong,

Previous understandings ‘bout hand-to-hand combat obliterated, life’s about new learning experiences,

Turned out to be the perfect tonic, the best thing that ever happened,

Found your tribe, finally, first true friends you had since elementary,

At first felt socially awkward like a wanderer traipsin’ ‘round the wilderness,

Shook off the rust rather quickly, soon you’re chopping shit up with ‘em regularly,

Reconnected, too, with an old high school buddy, got to know his pals and his lady, added ‘em to your circle of homies,

Went from being a hermit to Mr. Social in an instant, call it your own personal redemption,

Flirted with personal training, took the steps required for qualification,

Finished in a few months, studied the human body, psychology and such,

Soon further changes are happening, years’-old wounds finally healing,

Been a surly recluse since high school graduation, by year’s end the walls had collapsed around the fortress,

Still keeping the population at a distance, though, it’s baby steps through which we’re moving,

Still an achievement to have broke the shackles that you’d long been burdened with,

Ten years almost wasted but better late than never, though your ankles are calloused your heart’s been somewhat softened.

Up and up from there, one good year after another,

The puzzle pieces finally fell into place, felt as though you’d achieved a happily ever after,

Working arrangements took on a nomadic turn, we’re living in changing times,

Gig arrangements are in, jobs exported overseas, others taken over by A.I,

Five years later still at the Wing Chun Academy, worked your way up to Instructor eventually,

Once on the other side of warm-downs, now you’re the one leaving ‘em heaving and wheezing,

Took a cruise to New Zealand, just another of your many recent trips overseas,

Still hangin’ and chillin’ with your homies, all in all life seems pretty sweet,

Worked at three different firms, still making bank despite ever-changing scenarios,

All the while personal training on the side, the hustle’s hard but learned to embrace the chaos,

Half a decade after the turning point, felt like life would be rosy going forward,

But all good things must end, what comes up must go down, another big challenge seemed in order…

Which now brings us back into the present, it’s been quite a ride,

Many more mountains to climb, more chapters to write,

Five, ten, twenty and thirty years came and went so fast,

Before you know it you’re at the sunset, ready to rest at last,

What happens now ‘til then is entirely up to you,

It’s your journey and no one else’s, set your own timeframe and rules,

That dream run in the 2010s ended abruptly, in 2018 a new challenger stepped up to the fore,

Could have kept you on your knees had you not rallied like never before,

Seemed like the path smoothed out again but sadly not to be,

Reaching deeper into its bag of tricks, fate threw the world into a tizzy,

The new decade wasn’t some new Roaring Twenties, Covid played party pooper,

Now here we are, three years and counting and no closer to a solution,

Gotta soldier on anyway, if it’s worth fighting for gonna find a way,

Nothing to be gained from quitting, small steps eventually lead to big dividends,

You’re all grown up but went through different phases along the journey,

Be not ashamed of ‘em, personal evolution is an inevitability,

The happy kid and angsty teenager, sullen young man, desk jockey and would-be personal trainer,

The martial artist and aspiring writer, who knows what other hats you’ll wear in the future?

Got a long life still, ample time to set and knock down goals,

The ride ain’t over yet, Kiddo, grab that bull by the horns.

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