I’m Twenty-One But…

A chapter ends and another begins. I turn 21 today.

Many people celebrate their 21 with a birthday party. They invite their closest of friends and family to celebrate that special day with them.

For me?

Nah. I’ve never enjoyed parties nor will I ever think of hosting one. Apart from the financial burden it might have on me just for a day of smiles, being an introvert, I never liked being around too many people at any one time. I hate to divide my attention across many people and would rather spend long hours with just a few.

Maybe you might disagree but I prefer a day of quiet and reflection.

To tell you the truth, I never liked the commemoration of my birthday, it reminds me too much of growing older. Each new digit that adds on to my age comes with added burden and responsibilities. Not only that, it forces me to face the fact that my life will never be the same again; parents will get older, unfortunate events will happen, people will move out of your life and so on. Reality just kicks you in the balls annually, you feel me?

In the past, when I envisioned myself as a 21-year-old man, I’ve always thought of myself as a self-sustaining, successful person with a life that is geared, set and ready to go. Looking at it now, not so much. Maybe I did achieve some minor successes, e.g. getting into a university. However, a plan for life? Not really.

But maybe, I have to look back to truly appreciate how far I have come.


Here’s a rough timeline of my life thus far:

Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) → 13th December 1995

Jurong Town Primary School → 2001 – 2002

Lakeside Primary School → 2002 – 2007

Yuan Ching Secondary School → 2008 – 2011

Catholic Junior College → 2012 – 2013

Worked at Yuan Ching Secondary School as a Relief Teacher → February 2014 – May 2014

Basic Military Training (BMT) at Pulau Tekong in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) →
May 2014 – July 2014

Singapore Civil Defence Force → July 2014 – March 2016

National University of Singapore → August 2016 – Whenever


“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

If you have been following me for a while, you would know that memories matter to me a lot. I document almost anything interesting in my life, taking videos and photographs of things that might not ever happen again.

As of recently, I’ve been trying my best to live life. To cherish every moment. Even more so as I turn 21 because I know that anything that happens from here on has a conscious and direct effect on me e.g. a death of a loved one.

After living for about a quarter of your expected lifespan, you start to realise that there really isn’t much time. Therefore, I think that with the time we have left, we should not waste a single moment of it.

So, what’s next for me?

I’m not really sure.

I just have to live every moment and see where that takes me.

 

 

 

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I Blog, Do You?

I’m not sure if you guys noticed but I blog every single day.

I blog not because of the fame, the fortune (there is almost none except for an exceptional few) or for the attention but I blog because primarily, I want to immortalise the thoughts, ideas and experiences that I have while I’m hurtling through this thing called life.

Every single day, our brains form new connections between the nerve fibres that give rise to new ideas and eureka moments but most of the time, we forget about those realisations that come as quickly as the fleeting wind. Therefore I blog, as an attempt to rebel against that trend.

Over the months that I’ve blogged, it has become somewhat of an escapism, a way for me to fully express myself without the fear of standing in front of a large crowd nor the fear of experiencing critical judgements from the people around me. Blogging has been a way for me to share what it is like to be me.

For those of you that have followed me, I’m sure you’ve noticed (if not that is okay) that I write a lot about life, death and self-development thus, I might be mistaken for one of those gimmicky life coaches that sell fake advice for cash. I assure you that I am not. All the things that I’ve blogged about are things that went through my mind, things that I’ve come to a realisation, and things that I’ve learnt from my experiences as I’m hurtling through life and thanks to the power of blogging, I can share that with all of you IN REAL TIME! 🙂

I believe that I will continue blogging as long as there’s still life in me. It would be wonderful to look back when I’m in my 70s to revisit the journey that I’ve experienced and the emotions and thoughts that run through the mind of my 20-year-old self.

To my followers (about 40+ of you), thank you so much for your kind words and comments. I really do appreciate every single one of them.

Cheers.

 

Life’s Moving Too Fast

Have you ever felt that time just passes by so fast?

Like in a blink of an eye, the events that I have been waiting for all year just whizzed past, it came and it left.

My stint in National Service ended about 5 months ago, 2 years of my life flew right by.

5 months of holidays ended today, 5 months of doing whatever I want, ended in what felt like a split second.

The ORD trip to Krabi flew by, Ramadan whizzed past, Eid came and went, Freshmen Orientation Camps done and dusted.

It almost felt as if those events did not really happen, it even felt as if they were just a fragment of my imagination.

I’m glad that we live in this era where photographs and videos are the norm, where we are able to capture memories and events that we love, immortalising them because if not for photographs, I would even convince myself that those events that pass by didn’t really happen.

Maybe it is just me.

I believe that we need to learn to experience the moment itself as it is happening and not to be caught up by documenting the event/memory through video and photographs. However, this does not mean that we totally abandon documenting. Instead, prioritise experiencing the moment over the photo or the video.

All those events that I’ve experienced left me with a wonderful memory that I can keep. A memory that cannot be seen or heard in photographs or videos but a memory that my mind personally keeps. Those photographs and videos are just but a supplement to my memory, a way for me to relive the moment and recall all those that I’ve experienced.

My Experience with Deletion

If you’re an average person, you would notice that we are a society that is obsessed with technology but if you do not know that, you’re obviously living under a rock.

We are obsessed with technology especially with the piece of metal with a screen in our hands right now called the smartphone. In that smartphone, we keep all kinds of things from grocery lists to a fitness tracker and even to our most sensitive piece of information, our bank accounts. Also, within that smartphone holds our memories, memories in the form of pictures.

Pictures speak a thousand words and it is not short of the truth. Pictures act like triggers for our memories. Looking at a picture especially one taken by you enables you to recall memories long forgotten by your conscious mind. By looking at pictures, we are able to remember what happened before, during and after the picture was taken. Don’t trust me? Try it. Scroll through your phone and look at a picture that you took, now, do some memories began to appear in your mind? That is precisely the power of a picture. However, what if I tell you that one day, you wake up to find all the pictures in your phone deleted? What if all the memories that you have kept for years and years in the form of digitalised information just disappeared?

That was precisely what happened to me but instead of the pictures disappearing suddenly, I deleted them without checking whether they were backed up. Immediately after I realised what happened, a heavy feeling of dread and regret overcame me. I was lost, not knowing what to do. It felt as if a part of my memory was taken away from me, burned and turned into ash, unrecognisable. I began to furiously search a way to retrieve the deleted files but after trying several methods, it was futile. That whole afternoon, I just felt lost and agitated. It was not a good experience.

If you do not know me, I cherish my memories a lot especially in the form of pictures. They are a part of me. They are a part of who I am today. Each picture holds a special memory which upon looking reminds me of what happened during the period it was taken. That was why it affected me greatly when they were deleted.

However, as I sat down to think about this incident, I realised that I should not focus too much on taking pictures but instead focus more on the experiences leading up and surrounding of taking a picture.

Pictures are important as it helps to document our lives, assist in memory recollection and enable us to see our growth with time. They also help in capturing events that will never happen again like a birth of a child or a loved one’s graduation. However, most of us are living lives where we prioritise taking pictures over experiencing the present. I’m sure all of us are guilty of it, for example, we prioritise taking a picture of a sunset over sitting down and enjoying the view or we prioritise taking a picture of the mountains over feeling the cold wind on our skin and being mesmerised by the grandness of it all.

I understand the urge to capture a beautiful moment just so we can live it again later but what will we remember if we do not experience the moment first? A good example can be concerts. I have seen countless times whereby people will take out their phones to take pictures or record videos of a concert that they paid so much for. I do not understand why would they waste money on some digitalised information on their phones instead of actually living the moment, enjoying the music and the atmosphere. It is a problem that most of us are not aware of.

Therefore, we need to break this habit.

I can suggest that we become more conscious of our actions. By being more conscious, we can stop ourselves from trying to ruin an amazing experience.

I know that it is hard to suppress the urge of taking out our phones when we see a beautiful view but we have to begin somewhere.

Going back to my experience with deletion, I came to a conclusion that if I had lived those moments better, I would not have felt as much dread as I did. Those memories would have been etched much more deeply in my memory and I would not have to rely on pictures to relive them. It was a painful lesson but one that I will benefit a lot from.

Therefore, instead of pulling out our phones whenever we see an Insta-worthy moment, let us instead take a deep breath and live the moment.

 

Note to my 80-Year-Old Self

Note to my
80-Year-Old
Self

 

This is a letter to my future self. It will encompass everything that I had, is and will experience in my entire life. The most important question is this, how do I want to see myself in 60 years time?

Dear Hakim,
I am writing this letter in the year 2016. When the idea of writing a letter to my future self dawned upon me, I felt that it might help me to visualise what I really want in life. I may or may not die before the ripe old age of 80 but by writing this, I want to immortalise the feelings, aspirations and dreams of a 20-year-old young adult.

Firstly, I would like to ask if you’re doing well? How are you? How has life been? Being 20 now, I am really excited and somewhat afraid of what life has in store for me. Who did I get married to? How many children do I have? How am I doing financially? How many loved ones had already passed away? There are many more questions that I want to ask you but just one letter will not be enough. Hakim, whatever it is, I’m sure that everything had turned out well for you. I’m sure that all your hard work had paid off and you’re enjoying your golden age right now. However, throughout the next 60 years that I’ll be expecting, I’m sure there are countless lessons and failures that I made.

I’m sure that all your hard work had paid off and you’re enjoying your golden age right now. However, throughout the next 60 years that I’ll be expecting, I’m sure there are countless lessons and failures that I made. Hakim, what stories can you tell me and what advice can you share with me? What experiences can you share with me and what important lessons can you teach me?

I’m sure you remember when you were me, being at a young age of 20. What should I or should I not do? It will be amazing if you can tell me. What I am really expecting is a life without regrets, a life of happiness and pleasure, a life fulfilled. Did I achieve all of that? Did I achieve my life goals that I set when I was 20?

As I write this letter, I envisioned you (myself) as a successful entrepreneur, with a mind full of lessons and knowledge and a character rich with morals. I envisioned you to have a loving family, one that laughs, plays and loves one another so hard. I envisioned you to have a tight-knitted family who goes on adventures together and never fails to help one another. I envisioned you to achieve your lifelong dreams of exploring the world and be a faithful Muslim. I envisioned you to travel the world and share your knowledge with the less fortunate and the helpless. I envisioned you to be someone other people look up to and respect, someone with a life full of rich experiences. I envisioned you to ultimately be happy, living life without regrets.

Hakim, I know being 80 is not easy, I mean… I’m 20 and I’m already struggling with life but what I’m trying to say is that, when I’m at your age, I just want to be what I envisioned you (myself) to be. I do not want to live a life filled with regrets and indecisions. I want to live a life filled with countless lessons and experiences that I can share with the world. I hope you are like how I dreamed of you to be.

As I write the last paragraph of this letter, I hope that the world you’re living in is a world full of love and peace. A world that is happy and united. A world that has finally matured into an adult. In 2016, I see the progress of spaceships, medicine and many other areas in Science and I cannot fathom of what humankind will accomplish in 2076. Hakim, I just want to know that you are my idol. Your 20-year-old self is a pathetic human being putting mankind to shame but I know that I will become wiser and better in all aspects by the time I’m 80. Hakim, do take care.

Goodbye,

Love Your 20-Year-Old Self,

Hakim

As I was writing that letter, a lot of feelings came welling up inside me. Feelings of fear, sadness, happiness and most importantly, the feeling of knowing that whatever that will happen from now until I’m 80, I will be fine. Goals, decisions, and other petty issues that I’m currently dealing with right now don’t seem to matter that much at all. They seem to be mere hurdles in life but ultimately, I will be fine. I might fail, I might experience a heartbreak, I might experience intense moments of sadness but I know, they are all lessons and mere hurdles of life. Take risks, challenge yourself knowing that whatever that will happen, you will still come back out in one piece.