Elders Working Very Hard Made Me Appreciate Everything More

Today is quite a big holiday (also a Sunday, meaning I still have to work full time last week and next week) called Idul Adha. Luckily I managed to finish all my work for this week, so I decided to rest on the weekend, because I’m so exhausted. I watched and ate a meal, Olive Fried Chicken, if you want to know. It’s quite famous here in Yogyakarta, and in my opinion, it’s better than KFC, yet much cheaper.

Anyway, after finishing my meal, I looked at the bright light from the windows, telling me that the sunlight is quite strong today. I then remembered my friend’s advice when we went to the mall after I complained about my weak-ass body.

“You’re always inside, that’s why you’re like that. On the weekend, go outside a little and bathe in some sunlight, it’ll make you healthier.” my friend said when I treated them to a nice meal.

‘Right, let’s do that, I’m free anyway,’ I thought, then I walked outside.

I truly did bathe some of my exposed body, like face, neck, arms, legs, in the sunlight. Turns out the sunlight wasn’t that strong, but I hoped that it’s good enough because I could feel the heat, as after a few minutes I started to kinda sweat a little.

But then I saw this old lady, in very traditional clothing. Kebaya (feminine Javanese top) on top, Jarik (a square cloth usually with batik pattern, wrapped tightly to form skirt) below, while wearing a Caping (asian farmer’s hat) and Sandal Jepit (flip-flops), on a Sepeda Onthel (very old Dutch Bike). It might be difficult to imagine, so please look at this picture I took below. The picture wasn’t great because I had to zoom in, as I was full of emotions when I saw her, and only snapped out of it when she’s already so far away.

In a city full of boring motorbikes and cars.

The emotions I feel are sadness, pity, regret, or, maybe also something that I couldn’t describe.

As I saw on the back of her old, rusty bicycle, it seemed like she was carrying something to sell on top and hanging off her bike’s pannier rack. I felt so… I don’t know, but my feelings at that time froze me, as I observed her pushing the bike by the handle, as she walked slowly.

I then started to think negatively.

“Did her bike break? Flat tire?” or “Was she injured that she couldn’t ride?”.

I’m not sure she noticed me observing her, as she seemed to focus on moving on, and as I was behind the concrete fence of my home, hiding my figure.

Lots of feelings flowing and bubbling up inside of me. I think I kind of regret not asking if she was all right. More thoughts flowed in.

It is extremely rare to see someone like her, with traditional clothing and an old dutch bike, around my town. My town wasn’t that crowded just 10-20 years ago, but now it turned into a very dense town, with lots of city people, different from the one in the past, where most people were village people, with villagers culture, lots wore clothings like that old lady wore. It is really a rarity now to see something like that here, though.

I genuinely thought that old people aren’t supposed to work hard like that. I genuinely feel that they had worked hard in their youth, so they need to rest and live a more relaxed life in their old age. But of course, I don’t know what old people’s background, why they have to work so hard even in their old age.

For example, who knows, right, if they were too relaxed in their youth, didn’t prepare and save money or assets for them to survive in the future. Or maybe they were a victim of scam, thief, or other evil people, as not all people back then were fortunate enough to learn and study in school. Or maybe they had too many children and raising them and school them ’til they finish elementary or middle school emptied their savings. Or maybe they were in prison for a crime they did or didn’t, who knows.

But the thing is, as I saw a very thin, I thought, probably a malnourished figure, working so hard like that, it made me feel so… weird. Mix of sadness, pity, regret, and probably some more feelings, that I’ve said previously, I couldn’t explain well. Especially as I looked and thought of myself. I wasn’t born in a crazy rich family, nor from a very knowledgeable scientist, nor from excellent parents with good parenting skills and parenting knowledge.

But…

I feel so blessed. I have never truly starved, I never have to worry about the roof of my head (well, except maybe the leaking ceilings in my room), nor about education. I could eat well, buy snacks, go on a fun trip with friends, I could even go to university and went to Japan for an exchange program (though it was scholarship, my parents helped me to prepare, costing them lots of money).

Then after I finally graduated, I was blessed with a remote job I can work confidently, just after two months of post-graduation unemployment, with a good salary (in Indonesian standard). After a year of working, since the end of 2021’s May, I saved enough money to buy a property/land in the unpopular places or places far from the city centre, in any case, I could if I wanted to buy one right now.

I am so blessed.

Even though my conditions and habits caused me to be nutritionally imbalanced, weak, fattening, and definitely unhealthy, I still truly feel that I’m extremely blessed. My hair is thin, my face is oily, my skin is dehydrated, I have cavities, I always feel lethargic, but I still think I’m blessed! At least I don’t have to suffer and work too hard, just to live the life I probably never asked for in the first place.

I can order any food online as much as I want every week, without worrying that I won’t have enough money to save. I can buy stuff for my parents or treat my parents something they wanted quite easily. I have the leeway to buy anything, phones, PCs, laptops, tablets, motorbike, bicycle, or any non-essential stuff I want, even right now.

Anyway. I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m not sure what feelings I experienced. Did I feel sorry for them? Maybe.

But I would say that people like them, who work very hard, especially the proud ones, would be offended if I felt so. I mean, if they enjoyed their work and they’re proud of it, feeling sorry would be a very rude feeling to have.

Or maybe I felt like that because I could never imagine I’ll grow old like that and still be forced to find every chance I can to get money to live, as I barely have any money in my old age. I don’t want that.

I truly hope that I can be dead before I reach the age of 40. Unless something happened that could make me the happiest person can ever be, that caused me to desire more life after 40.

I don’t know whether I have suicidal tendency, suicidal ideation, or, just the same old depression and despair. Or maybe I have trust issues so huge that I couldn’t even believe in myself and my future.

I want to work hard to save money. At least enough to have my own place, and to then enjoy my life every day… what’s left of it.

Me and my mum. Blurred and hid her because I don’t want to breach her privacy.

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