“Maktub” – It is written
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
About 10 years ago, in Plettenberg Bay, the was sun out and I had book in hand overlooking the Robberg. A holiday location to my family and I for countless Decembers (almost since the year I was born), Plett is a place I can truly relax. My sister, Michela, had just finished Paolo Coelho’s book The Alchemist for about the third time, and encouraged me to get some holiday reading done. This led to one of my favourite reads and moments in my life, leading me to place a mark and sign on my body that will always remind me of all that life has to offer.
If you have read The Alchemist you will know it’s a story of love, adventure, passion, wisdom, perspective and discovery. I could go on about how much I enjoy this book and what it means to me – especially since it takes place in some of the most extraordinary and cultured locations in the world (like Ancient Egypt). To cut to the point, to me, it is about life, everyday, all day and the gems presented to us in this experience: those we seek and those we are often unaware of. The expression from the book, “maktub” means ‘it is written’, and in my own interpretation, that your life is to be lived by the script you write. The choices you make, the goals you set, the people you surround yourself with and importantly, the moments in which you prevail. Through the good and bad times, I keep this phrase in my mind and try to always remember the path I am on, appreciating what is happening around me and all that I can experience in any given moment.
When I finished the book all those years ago, I looked over the balcony, with the sun glaring down, the sea and Robberg reserve a sight to behold. The wind provided that magic element of conditioning and I stretched my arms out wide to take it all in. I remember it as a moment of great happiness and appreciation for all the ingredients life has provided me with; the people, the experiences, the laughs, the tears, the occasions, all of my own treasures.
This led me to getting the word, ‘maktub’ tattooed just below my right hand three years ago, a special time in my life. The tattoo is not physically big but holds a massive presence in my life. The design is done in a font of my choosing and just above the cusp of the “u” contains three carefully placed dots “…”. Their meaning: if you look closely, it illustrates a younger Gianluca all those years ago on that sunny day in Plettenberg Bay with his arms stretched out wide.
I am not saying I always manage to find this perspective in all the moments that life presents. Quite a few times I get lost in the crazy and busy routine of life. More often than not though, I look at that mark on my arm and it reminds me to reflect, assess my path, understand my direction, stretch my arms out wide, smile, exert that energy (I do so appreciate) and continue “writing” my own script.
So to my gorgeous sis, thank you for persuading me to read the book. To end off, here’s another special quote from the story: