Writing this in my underwear, basking under the afternoon sun on the balcony of my hotel in Bali. I’ll be heading back to my little Javanese village tomorrow morning. We met everyone who came from Bali, Jakarta, Charlotte (NC), Jeddah and Jatibarang (Central Java). It’s almost like Christmas or Eid or Hanukkah or Diwali.
Pardon the writer’s hiccups. I’m still high from last night’s giggle fest with my brother and cousins. Blame it on projectile vomiting, dude.
Gathering like this reminds me of my dreams about growing old and how to spend my retirement. There are always young folks who are keen to learn about what stories the elders have to tell. There are always elders who contemplate their own lives, wondering if there’s still time to make amends and modifications. The extremes put us, the sandwiches in the family generation, swinging between being children and adults with our parents and elders.
So far, I’ve figured out what I don’t want to be when I grow old(er). So far, that plan has been going surprisingly well – heck, better than one might expect; especially because I haven’t been doing it the conventional way. So far, my dreams have handled roadblocks without switching from main course.
Who would have thought that being so sure about what you don’t want to become can help realize the things you want to achieve?
But whom are we kidding; I’ve always known this was what I wanted, didn’t I? There’s a 10-year old excerpt from my teenage years’ diary, mentioning something about living in seclusion, somewhere far from the city (New Zealand?), where my friends and family would come to hide under palm trees and nap in hammocks and the absence of digital communication. At 18, a dream like that from a Saudi chick – who barely passed her high-school exams - is delusional.
So scratch the hammocks and keep everything else, because my trees haven’t grown tall enough to support your body weight hung on hammocks. And until that happens, we’ll just have to settle with seeing each other and exchanging stories and laughing and walking together and assure ourselves that we’re doing – reasonably – alright.
In the meantime, I need to get into my pants, do my final shopping and head to the beach again. I’ll see you soon.