December 22, 2016

What's up 2017?

Yes, the year is coming to an end and what most people do around this time is talk about what they will like to do in the coming new year … their plans, ambitions, resolutions, goals and dreams. Very good, it shows that many people have so much to look forward to in the year ahead and maybe also the many years to come.

What about me? Do I have anything to look forward to?

Hmmmm, let’s see ... I don’t have big plans nor do I have great ambitions and I don’t make resolutions. I have achieved most of my goals already … quite easily because I did not set anything difficult to attain and I am not the kind who shift goal post frequently … you can say I am an easily contented person. And now I seek memories rather than dreams.

So ... what to look forward to?

Well, I think I have a lot of time … yes, a lot of time since I don't have much to chase after ... so I will look forward to spend some time. So really, for next year I will just do exactly what I did this year and the few years before … just continue to spend my time doing what I like … simple, easy and happy.

In the last few years, I have spent quite a bit of time with my wife and kids. So I probably will continue to do that … make time for each other and make do with the time we have to talk to each other, laugh at each other, make a fool of each other, joke with each other, poke at each other and last but not least (at times) annoy each other.

Family time at the beach
We cannot afford to go on long overseas holidays or expensive family outings or generous celebrative occasions but we can have many spans of time in our everyday activities. Maybe it is just a drive to school, a bite at McDonalds, a quick teh tarik and roti at the local mamak , a pep talk over dinner at home, a trip to the hypermarket for groceries, a movie on weekends or maybe a short escape from the heat to the local malls ... the important thing is that in those spans of time, we talked … about this, about that … about everything. Our conversations vary from schools to markets, clothes to movies, food to books, friends to pets and sports to fashions. This is how we bond and how we constantly stay connected. I am happy with these moments … this is my idea of spending quality time.

Others have different thoughts about quality time … whatever it is, it is important to build a bond and stay connected. But very often I see, though the people are together ... everyone seems to be corresponding, engaging, interacting and somehow connected only to their smart devices. Sad but it is happening.

Anyway ... apart from my family, I would like to spend time with my friends. Whether it is for our usual trek in the jungles or our foodie trips to small towns or budgeted overseas tours or pot luck parties with our families or just a boys’ night out to talk about anything and everything under the sky … I want to continue doing what we have been doing for the many years to come.

You see, we are a bunch of old uncles who have known each other for almost half our lives and a few I have known for more than 40 years. We don't have to gather in “happening” places or have expensive sumptuous meals or attend some posh events so that we can have “glamour” photos to post on social media … nope, we are comfortable drinking coconut water under a tree or having a cheap beer in a coffee shop or cramping in our old cranky van on an outskirt road looking for small town street food.

Boys' night out
Even though among ourselves there are those who are well-off and affluent but when we meet, we don’t equate ourselves in material status and we don’t compare our monetary worth … there is one simple thing that we valued very high between all of us and hold close to our hearts and it does not cost anything at all ... yes, absolutely free … it is what we called friendship.

So to my friends … whether you like it or not, in the coming years you will see me very often.

After allocating time for my family and friends … I think I still have some time to spend … time for myself. I like having personal moments … I mean apart from those I spent sitting in the toilet every morning.

A quiet moment over a cup of tea
I like the cold breezy moments of some days where I can have a pot of “puer” while relaxing in the midst of the greens in my garden, listening to the sound of the water fountain and letting my mind wanders into memory lanes. I look forward to rainy days where I can just step out for a rain shower that reminds me of my younger days basking in the rain half naked or just sitting in my garden, looking at the rain drops falling and idling into nothingness … strange but this is how I recharge.

Sometimes I have the house to myself for a few hours ... the time to bring out my erhu and try to screech out a new song to the annoyance of my three helpless dogs. Very often, I will suddenly flip into karaoke mode forcing air out of my lungs through my cheap ‘pasar malam’ cordless mike that makes it sounds like someone pulling a cow up the tree … ok, ok that is an exaggeration ya … so far I think I must have sounded quite alright as the neighbours have yet to complain.

Working on my wood art
If I get my hands on some wood and pallets … I can indulge a bit of time trying to put what I learned from art school to good use … cranking loud noises on the electric saw and drills to the curiosity of my very tolerating neighbours hoping to churn out some recycle art pieces or some DIY furniture.

And after all that and if I still have time left ... don’t worry, my wife will make sure I put it to good use with a list of chores and errands to keep my butt away from the chair.

So what’s up for 2017? Nothing much really ... no plans, no ambitions, no resolutions, no goals and no dreams ... just plenty of time to spend.