I had a different 2023 summer. The previous years had been more eventful. Today, I am at the end of my coding and project tasks and will be on my way to visit the wake of my bestfriend’s brother. My bestfriend just came from a long flight.

It’s surreal when the person who died is 6 years younger than us. I kept remembering the time he helped us get to the hangar for my bestfriend’s Balesin birthday weekend. I spent a night in their place the night before. He was quiet, almost brooding even. But I’d often imagine him with his life stretched out before him.

In my mind, I half expected him to be there when my bestie gets married in another side of the world.

Early deaths seem so ridiculous, jarring and out of the natural order of things. Often when you are faced with something like this, you tend to ask yourself: Was there something I could have done to prevent it from happening?

The day he died, I had this horrible feeling in my chest that I could not shake off. I ended up being super clumsy that I accidentally injured my left eye that same day. I was in the ER and I felt a looming sense of doom. I did not immediately associate it with him until my bestfriend sent me a message 2 days later.

Nostalgia. I looked at the old photos of Balesin, and how I admired the afternoon sky that summer, not knowing that a year or two later this will happen.

Balesin Island Afternoon

That time I treated the gym like a religion or a cult. I missed the gains, but not the obsessive feelings that came with it that time:

Balesin Island Mykonos

Thankfully, I know now that there is a way to maintain an okayish figure without being so frantic about it.

These days, I do not talk to a lot of people. I keep by myself for the most part unless there is an absolute necessity to interact. Life is more quiet, pristine, and utterly peaceful. I have grown to appreciate the situations that shake off the unnecessary things to leave room for the essentials.

After I did a reset of my daily routine, I was able to clearly distinguish priorities, what consisted of my deadlines versus other people’s deadlines crammed in my inboxes. Clarity is a gift you give yourself when you cut all the noise. It redefines my sense of urgency as opposed to my own body hijacking itself with a constant state of paralysis from mental fight or flight.

Balesin Island White in Bali

The ones left in my current radar are the ride or die friends, the gentle energies, the healing environments. And I am so happy to have that at this point.

You never know when a person is at the sunset of his life, it means a lot to be able to tell that person how much he or she means to you before you lose the chance to do so.

Balesin Island Sunset