We live in a world deluged with demands and expectations, a world where we are invariably trying to satisfy these demands and expectations, a world that is so fast-paced that by the time you make ends meet, the ends get further. And as we age, our responsibility expands, the obstacles we face intensifies, and at the end of the day, our mental resilience often takes a hard beating. Gone are the days, where we were once children, whose only worries were perhaps missing the Sunday morning cartoons, or the amount of time we get to spend outdoors, or the number of stickers we achieve on our kindergarten grading book. We definitely could not comprehend today’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles then, like how this writer puts it, “When you tell them your problem, they want to fix it for you. When they know they can’t, it turns them into a mess.” It is therefore not surprising to see our stress levels rising over the years. Which also echoes a need more than ever now to take some time off, catch a breath and relax. The thing with this is that people know the importance of having a breather, but reality forbids, time forbids.
I have had a very tiring week and a lot has since happened. Aside from the normal aches all around my body, I was both mentally and emotionally drained as well. That will be a story for another day. My ferry home from Pulau Tekong wasn’t a pleasant one. And my longing for the company of family and friends has never felt so intense before. What kept me going would possibly be the fact that I would be reunited with my fellow brothers after a couple of hours. And frankly speaking that mere thought became my motivation throughout hell.
We hung out at a famous prata house along Jalan Kayu on a Saturday night. It was a night filled with loads of food, loads of laughter, loads of serious discussions, and loads of philosophical nothings. I would normally have sat out in most of the conversations, but that night I was zealous. It was rare for me to feel this way and I actually enjoyed it. It was then I realised that I wanted the night to be perennial; that moment to last; that atmosphere, where I am surrounded with the people who care, to stay permanent. Yet life is full of ‘but’s, and that was just but yet another transient moment, one that I cherish deeply. I do not need to scroll through popular Instagram feeds to find the perfect, ideal, happy life, because I have already found mine. What more can I ask?
We talked a lot. A simple discussion about life in the military or anything relating to it for instance easily took up the bulk of the time. Not to mention, our discussion includes others such as relationships and holiday plans. Basically, anything we could have thought of. It was enjoyable.
Our discussion reached to a point where we considered finding time for a trip overseas, just us brothers,to hang out together after the completion of our Basic Military Training. Then it hit me that perhaps we were being overly ambitious and hopeful.
Why are we even certain that we will not split apart after the coming three months? I thought the lyrics from “No One is Alone” from”Into the Woods” would be applicable here.
“Sometimes people leave you.
Halfway through the wood.”
It is unassailable that people come and go in our lives, and from experience we have been victims or guilty at this. Hence, what makes us brothers think we could have preserved our friendship throughout the three months in Tekong, when within these three months our lives will be or have already changed with the influx of people that we will be meeting or have met. The military changes the lives and personality of the people. Frankly speaking, I’m not even surprised if any of us were to drift apart. And if so, wouldn’t this perhaps already mean that our plans that night would have already gone to waste?
Honestly speaking, I am dubious about how things will work out, but nonetheless, I guess it would be advisable to simply ignore that particular train of thought.
Much love to Gillian Ong for reviewing the blog before I post it.