What Did You Do During The Summer When You Were A Young Child?

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July 7th, 2021 – Listening to keshi’s less of you.

Back when I was a child, Grandmother had a small wooden cottage where she stored firewood. The cottage was located on a land filled with teak trees. I spent most of my childhood years there, not only during the holiday but also after I went back from school. In that cottage, there was also a modest swing created from car’s tire. I played house there, collecting young leaves and pretending to cook soup for my nephew. Sometimes I also borrowed Grandmother’s firewood to build a small tent. Never worked, but I kept trying anyway.

If I didn’t spend the whole afternoon at the cottage, I went for a bike ride with my nephew. We never went too far. We also never spent too much time playing. My world was always small; I never strayed too far from the comfort of my home. I was back in time for afternoon shower. There was never a reason not to.

As I grew up, the cottage, the tire swing, and my little bike had gone. I never set my foot on the teak tree forest again unless it’s for throwing the trash. The only time I sit on a swing is when I accompany my youngest sister to kindergarten. I own another bigger bike, but I left it in Depok — eight hours train ride away from where I am now.

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Now holiday is just a longer sequence of days I have no class on. I rarely spend it outside. While my mind is keep expanding its territory, my body draws smaller and smaller border on its physical reality. My world has become this square bedroom, with a book, a laptop, a bottle of water, a journal, a set of colouring markers, and writing utensils. I’ll open my window when it’s nearly 9 am and close it again at 6 pm. I eat breakfast at 7 am and dinner eleven hours later. I send some messages to my friend sometime after waking up and don’t check inbox again until the next day arrives. What happens in between these morning and night routines keep changing, but I mostly do it inside the comfort of my home.

I don’t feel saddened by the lack of adventure in my everyday life, but I do regret the lack of joy in it. Playing used to be so much fun. I wonder why that has changed. Why can’t I enjoy playing house anymore? Why is it tiring to accompany my youngest sister when she wants to spend all day outside? Why is it boring when I have to sit beside my sister watching children videos?

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Don’t you feel it too? The magic that is slipping away from you the more you “grow up”. Most of the time, the world looks like a boring painting you will find in art museum. You know it’s priceless. You know it’s a privilege for you to be able to see it and cherish the moment in it, but at the same time, you find it difficult to recognize its value.

As I grow up, being alive feels more like a responsibility instead of a blessing. Wrong mindset, I know, but surely I am not the only one who thinks that way.

Credit: Journal prompt by myhoneststudyblr’s Summer Studying Challenge.

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