This may be a little sombre.
Just for a second.
Stay with it, the intention is not to upset, but to invigorate.
Emily, Rachael and I are currently travelling around Bali. Today we arrived on Gili T. If you’ve been to Gili T, you’ll know that the bright blue ocean, white sand, cheap coconuts and a lack of cars and mopeds is a welcome relief from the pace of normal life. The palm trees are greener, the Bintang is colder and the energy is intoxicating.
The first thing we did when we got here was dump our bags and head to the beach. The ocean; it’s ebb and flow, ability to lift you, hold you and the sound of the waves caressing the shore, has the ability to soothe the soul.
After a swim, we lay on beanbags just watching as life passed us by. Boats come and go, people stroll, shoes dangling from finger tips, the breeze gets softer as the sun begins to set.
From nowhere, a sudden burst of movement penetrates the stillness, the soothing qualities of this beach as our attention is drawn to something far more harrowing.
Six or Seven men carry something toward the shore. They are in a hurry, two Policemen follow closely behind.
I say to Emily: ‘It looks like a body.’
Although my joke falls into stillness as Emily replies.
We were still then. Transfixed by a sight that we ddin’t want to see but could not stop looking at. The men transported the covered body onto a boat and laid it on to the deck. A woman, as transfixed on the body as we were, joined the local men and sat beside the body in the boat.
They leave toward Lombok. The woman now having to fly home with two passports, without her loved one by her side.
You don’t come on holiday to die. You don’t expect to be confronted by the fragility of life as you sip a coconut at the beach. A place where ignorance truly is bliss, as the news apps don’t have reception and the ‘real’ world seems so far away. Moments before this scene unfolded, we spoke of all the things we were grateful for. This Island, the food and the experiences that we are having every day. All of a sudden we were faced with the weight of our words. The importance of this gratitude and the horribly alerting fact that this life, this existence, will not last forever.
So then I started thinking about all the things that I waste my time on. There’s so many things. Things that don’t bring me any form of joy. When you’re faced with this truth. When death grazes past you, touches your life, directly or indirectly, it puts a stop to the snooze button. There is no time for next week, when I’m older, in a few years, mañana. Really, when you think about it, there is just now. None of us know what’s around the corner.
This doesn’t have to be a terrifying thought. It’s just a nudge. A reminder. In case you forgot. The only excuse I can have for all of the times I’ve wasted on boys that treat me badly and wouldn’t know a clitoris if it hit them in the face; is that I momentarily forgot the fragility of life. This experience reminded me. So, now I’m reminding you.
Tell everyone you love that you love them every day. Stop looking in the mirror and start to wonder at the world around you. Be kind and go to bed at night feeling proud of your actions. Do the things you love as often as you can. Be gentle with yourself. Listen. Speak your truth. Don’t conform and follow your own path.
We can talk about wellness. We can experiment with methods of health and lifestyle. We can read all of the books that are on offer to us. Post pictures on Instagram only when we feel our best and emulate this kind of lifestyle. Whilst all of this is good, whilst all of this is worth thinking and talking about, we already have the answers. All you have to do is stop and listen to your body, to your thoughts and you’ll know what YOU need to feel happy. It’s inside of you.
The most important thing that we can remember every day is how fragile life is. How lucky we are just to be breathing. To be standing. To be healthy. Even when we’re not happy. You don’t have to live every day as though it was your last. You don’t have to run around step ball changing shouting ‘LIFE IS AMAZING.’ You just need to remember the fragility.
I won’t waste another minute thinking about people that don’t bring joy into my life. I won’t stop a moment longer in the mirror to pity myself and my rolls of fat or the spots on my face. Instead I’ll dance. I’ll eat food that nourishes my body and makes me feel alive. I will stop at every opportunity and touch a leaf or smell the flowers. I won’t fight with the ones I love, and if I do, I will tell them that I love them straight after. I’ll take risks. I will think about the weight of my words and the impact of my actions. I’ll be grateful that I am still on holiday in Bali, that I am able to hear the crash of the waves and the sway of the wind.
I don’t know who the woman getting onto the boat was. I did not know the person under the cloth. But, I do know that we are connected through experiences and in that moment, that dark moment of her life, I experienced it with her. You don’t need to know someone to empathise with them, to feel their pain or to very quickly put yourselves in their shoes. Your loved one. Your holiday. Your fragility.
My Dad throws around the saying ‘We’re here for a good time not a long time.’ Mostly when he pours a Gin too many or spends too much money on something silly. When he became ill with cancer few years ago, this saying became his trademark. His mantra, always delivered in jest, now held new meaning. It meant something. The saying that I had been hearing since I was little finally made sense. We really are here for such a short time. No, it’s not always good. Life happens. But to remember this, is to ignite a fire in your belly every day.
In the decisions that you can control; your actions, the people in your life, how you spend the time that you have, the food that you eat, the clothes that you wear, how you spend your money: say no to mediocrity. Trust yourself not to be influenced by what makes others happy and to think about what you need, what brings you joy. Say no to decisions that allude to the pretence that you have all the time in the world.
This blog is in dedication to the soul that was taken from Gili Trawangan on the 1st of September 2019 and to their loved one. I hope that you find strength and peace. x