Let’s Talk About It.
Is it normal to think about death at my age?
There are times I do wonder about what will happen when I die. These random thoughts oddly occur when I am on a plane, or a car, or any places that you can think of. A lightning strikes. A random car hits me while walking. Or driving. A plane crash. A slippery floor and I fall and break my neck.
I dare not think that it will happen soon – but I do wonder whether I will be ready for it.
I suppose no one is, come to think of it.
A close friend of mine has his own death decided and planned down to the very details. He knows exactly what he has to do.
He says there is no point of being alive when you know your body cannot support itself any longer. And that is the time that you know you should end your own life before you get to the point of not being able to do it on your own.
Apparently many people have done it. I suppose it is much better to end your life before you wait until your organs have started to fail on you – one by one. Before you become a burden to other people.
When it finally comes the time for me – I am not sure whether I am ready for it.
A famous person once says that you only have two lives – and the other one begins as soon as you realise that this is it – you have only got one life. There is no ‘life after death’. Being alive here on earth really is the only chance you have.
And you shouldn’t really waste any more time.
Perhaps my unreadiness stems from the fact that deep down I feel I haven’t achieved the goals on my mental list. I haven’t been to the places I want to go. I haven’t experienced the things I would love to do.
I feel a homework of a list of things to do coming in.
Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
That Moment When
It was raining outside.
I had The Mighty Rio Grande by This Will Destroy You playing in the background.
I was sitting in front of my Macbook, contemplating on writing something, with both feet perched up on the edge of the chair I was sitting on, and no source of light except from the ones coming from the laptop and the diminishing dawn from the window that would soon turn to black.
A cup of steaming Earl Grey with a dash of milk was placed on the right side of the laptop.
Then my mobile rang.
Himself just called me on the phone, saying that the company which he applied for in Bali is calling him for an interview. In person.
He couldn’t talk long, he said. He had to rearrange his flight schedule booked in July and he would probably move it forward to next week to come for the interview.
After he hung up, I set my phone down on the table and sat back on the chair and looked outside the window.
I will probably remember this moment for the rest of my life.
The Best Things Come to Those Who Wait.
That has got to be the biggest lie anyone has ever come up with. Seriously? Why wait? Unless you’re Paris Hilton, I doubt anything good will ever come my way if I don’t do anything to achieve it.
I was getting tired and demotivated from my old job as a teacher, not to mention being stuck in traffic on a daily basis started to feel like a living hell for me, so I decided to apply for a job in the hospitality industry.
I wasn’t confident in the first place, but Himself was never tired of convincing me and encouraging me to just try.
I got the job though. Was it easy to get it? I don’t think so. I spent a lot of time completing the Self Assessment Form that they sent me, as well as getting drilled by Himself answering all the tough questions for the interviews.
When I did get the job, I was in a dilemma – do I take it? If I don’t, I will probably regret it. If I do, I will be separated from my husband, and I am not a huge fan of the whole long-distance-relationship thing. Being separated from Himself is similar to losing a limb.
But I decided to take it after all, because isn’t that what we want to? Settling in Bali? And if one of us don’t make the first step towards it, how are we ever going to get there?
The first few weeks being alone in Bali was super hard. I cried a lot, called Himself in weird hours crying my eyes out saying how much I missed him and maybe this whole thing was a bad idea, etc., etc. But I got the hang of things soon enough, and Himself has always been there to lend his ears or give advice and cheer me up.
Working in a “grand” hotel (I say grand because it is more than twenty years old with employees who have worked there for ten to twenty years long, and plus you don’t ever call a grand lady “old”, that is just mean.) has its own “charm” and it is an excellent learning opportunity for me. *gags at my attempt on being diplomatic*
But going back to my own goal, I need a job where I can settle, preferably one in a worldwide chain hotel.
Two weeks ago I had a spare time at work and I idly googled for similar jobs in Bali.
Saw one. Applied. Had to sign in. Signed in.
The next day, I got an e-mail from the company asking me to complete an online assessment.
I completed it and sent it.
Here goes nothing, I thought.
I probably won’t even get it.
About a week after, I got a phone call for an interview.
I went for it. And today I just signed a contract and I will start mid April, next month.
Looking back to my old job being a teacher – I am amazed at how fast things are happening right now.
Had I not applied for the job in Bali, I probably will still be stuck in traffic and cursing everything and everyone around me, hating my job and my life and wondering when I would ever get out of the dead-end.
All it takes is just that one step and leap of faith towards the unknown, and now I am in places I never thought I’ll be.
Welcome to the new adventure.
A World Without Strangers.
I was at the usual carwash this afternoon and I sometimes had the usual formal chit-chat with the woman who owns the carwash there.
We know each other because I’ve taken my car several times there, but we don’t know each other’s names or anything like that. She always sits behind the counter, doing nothing – just watching her staff washing the customers’ cars.
Today, though, the conversation became unexpectedly deeper when I thought. She was saying that she needed to exercise because she was putting on some weight, and I suggested walking. She said it wouldn’t look right for her to go for walks because of how people would perceive her.
Now, that sounds odd, I thought.
So I asked her to explain what she meant by that.
Apparently she is descended from a generation of priests and she has been trying to delay her ‘calling’ as one of them for as long as she can try, but it seems that now it has become a matter of life and death – if she keeps on delaying her faith, she will soon meet her maker. So she has started to maintain a certain image as being a priest it will not allow her to be like the commoners – including doing something simple like going for a walk. She even said she would probably buy one of those treadmills so she could exercise at home.
A part of me thought “This woman is all hokum” but the more we talked, the more she surprised me. She looked like an average woman – wearing loose fitting clothes, messy bun and no make up, and if you met her on the street you wouldn’t think much of her – but she is probably the wisest and most educated Balinese woman I have ever talked to in a long time.
Her husband happens to work at the same hotel where I work and she said her husband would soon replace her to take care of the carwash business because she had to focus on being a priest, and being a priest requires her to be more patient and kind; she is no longer allowed to be angry or be negative, even if it’s just for five minutes because it will give her a headache. Ever since she started responding to her ‘calling’ as a priest, there have been several people who feel threatened by her and spreading bad rumours about her.
I told her that sometimes I deal with the same thing at work, and it pisses me off so much that I can’t help but feeling angry even when I think about it.
Her response was, “We Hindus believe in Tatvamasi. You are me, and I am you. If you say something hurtful to me, it’s because you’re hurting inside, and if I can understand that, then I will no longer feel hurt about what you say. If you are me, and I am you, saying hurtful things to me is like hurting myself. So we must also be careful of what we say to others.”
“Whevener you feel angry, you have to take a deep breath and learn to let it go. People will say bad things anyway. But remember – they are you, and you are them. If you can understand this, you will find peace.”
“Nowadays we are living in the Kaliyuga era. The era where people lose their morals and the good are being mocked and ridiculed, whereas the bad are being worshipped and admired. There are a lot of people who will test your patience, but you must be able to control your anger, otherwise you will lose your mind. However, those who are evil will get their karma very quickly. Let God and Karma do all the work. You don’t need to do anything.”
“I am more afraid when people are praising me. Because it means I will have more enemies – more people who feel threatened. But if they mock and ridicule you, it means you are not seen as a threat. You can continue to do great things without worrying about others feeling jealous or threatened.”
“If you are a good person, just keep being good and just keep doing good things. You reap what you sow.”
We talked some more about politics – and she continued to surprise me of how well she knew of it – most women her age wouldn’t care of such things. We mourn about the future of Bali and how it will probably end up like Jakarta.
Our conversation ended when my car was all prettified. After I paid, gave some tip for the guy who did my car, I bid my farewell and drove off.
Then I realise – I still don’t know her name. But strangely though, I feel ten times lighter and content. Perhaps she is what she says she is.
Ignorance is Bliss
I moved here with a purpose and such naiveté that I would learn new things. Little did I know that these “things” would involve dealing with disrespectful employees who are so used to harassing people they no longer think it is wrong to do so.
These “things” would also involve being disliked by people because they have been in their comfort zone for too long in a company that never reprimands them for their mistakes, and they see me as the person who will disrupt all of it. Which I do, unfortunately.
Perhaps it’s my luck that I land a job in a company that has been hibernating in its cocoon for so long they no longer know that the world is vastly changed out there. What I do realise is that it is much more challenging dealing with people who are way past their prime and productive age. They’re just there to wait to retire.
I give out the impression like I don’t give a shit about the hatred, the dislikes, the bullies – you know, the usual combo that toxic employees posses.
But today I would like to say that I would really, really like it if I didn’t have to go back there.
Today, I would really, really wish that there is a better place out there.
Today, I would admit that I am not as strong as I am any other days.
Perhaps it’s just a phase that everyone goes through – but for now, I would just like to say I am done, and I don’t care anymore.
It’s harsh but it’s true.
The education system in this country has taught us all to do things as told.
Not to do things because we are passionate about it; or because we want to know how and why things work.
We are never taught to think, to solve problems, to question, to wonder, to challenge and to argue what is already there.
There is too much time spent copying down and memorising useless facts off the textbooks – and no time given to learn how to arrange a proper sentence when debating your opinions in front of others. Which is why we tend to babble and spout ridiculous nonsense when faced with confrontations.
And we all know we hate and so very much avoid confrontations at all cost. Talking behind people’s backs is way much better than confronting or dealing with it. Hiding your grudge and spreading it around is so much better than solving it with the person we hold grudge to.
This habit, in turn, makes us cowards. Two-faced. Yes men.
This is what the education system has taught us – to be cowards, two-faced, hypocrites, stupid, passive-aggresive, placid and timid.
And people wonder why I don’t want to have children.
The Truth is…
I hide my feelings really well in front of people.
There are days when I cry inside with a smile plastered all over my face.
Yes, like I said before – I hide my feelings really well.
Lately I’ve been going through life like it’s on autopilot – get up in the morning, shower, get dressed, work, lunch, socialize, work, go home, try to sleep, fail trying to sleep, cry for a bit, take some melatonin pills, try to sleep, fall asleep and the cycle starts all over again.
But then there are moments when I feel … content.
Usually in the evenings when I walk from the office to the parking lot – the sunsets here are breathtakingly beautiful.
I love the silhouettes of the coconut trees against the purple vermilion sky. The faint rindik music playing from a distant place. The sounds of crickets slowly coming out now that the day is turning.
It’s the moment when all sounds make perfect harmony that it’s peacefully quiet.
But that moment is only beautiful for a short while until the sun disappears into the darkness.
And it’s kind of how I feel now.
This island, this life – only beautiful for a short while until I remember you.
The truth is, living in a paradise means absolutely nothing without you.