End of an Era

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Each post will be associated with a letter of the alphabet with the theme ‘Letters to my younger self’.


Dearest tanned-20-year old me,

It’s the last night of your trip to Redang Island with the gang. More specifically, the gang plus others. Well, it was just supposed to be the few of you but then again, the more the merrier, yes? There’ll be a BBQ later arranged by the resort and the boys will be cooking but naturally, the girls will be there to supervise.

Before you go down to the beach to join everyone, you’ll take a picture of your friends barbecuing from the balcony of your wooden house chalet. You’ll want to take a shot without them noticing but Lei Kun will look up and she’ll ask you to hurry up and help. The surprise will no longer be a surprise. Everyone else will look up too and that’s when you’ll have your shot. Everyone will be smiling.

As you head downstairs, you’ll smile and think that tonight is as close to perfect as you could’ve imagined. You’re surrounded by your close friends and by someone that you may eventually love, on an exotic island. You’ll also think that tonight will be the beginning of the rest of all your lives and you’ll be filled with excitement and anticipation. The happiness in your heart has no where else to go but to your eyes and reflected in your wide smile.

And this is why I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I have to since no one else will know, but tonight, this wonderful night on the island with stars out in full force, will be the beginning of the end, of all of you as you are. The people you’ll break bread with in a few minutes will eventually be strangers and in ten years, you’ll only be in touch with less than a quarter of those that are with you on the island. Unthinkable but it’s true.

What happens after will mostly be out of your hands and as much as you will want to preserve what you have, these friendships will slip away like sand between your fingers.

So, for tonight, my dear, though you feel that you have already taken so many pictures throughout the entire trip, please take more. Take as many as you can, plant yourself behind your camera, do not allow anyone to lure you away from your post. Photograph the moment when the guitars come out and the singing begins. Record the second when all of you gather around and begin talking about the past and the future. Remember these seconds, take photos of everything.

Because dearest, this is the end of an era.


*this post was written as Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love was playing which brought me back to that night on the island. 


27 thoughts on “End of an Era

  1. Wow! Your post gave me chills. So beautifully written. If I could write a letter to myself when I was that age, there are so many things I would say. So many warnings as well. You really got me thinking. Thank you for sharing something so personal–loved it.


    • Hi Kristin, thank you for reading my little post. I do think that I’m a better person for having gone through so varied an experience but I do also think about `what if’ I could just give myself a little bit of a heads up so that I can appreciate moments more… 🙂


  2. Yup, so true. It’s gotten to the point in my life where the stages that are behind me now feel alien, like they’ve happened to someone else. The people I was once so close to, the ones I never wanted to let go of are so far away in both distance and thought, that it’s almost as though we never knew each other the begin with.


    • It’s strange right when you were once so close to people that now you don’t even speak? I still find that difficult to wrap my brains around. Maybe because I still wish we’re close and I wonder why they don’t feel that way too.


  3. This was incredibly beautiful. During our teens and early 20s we thinkg we are always going to be in touch with those people whom we call close friends. Yet, life teaches us how wrong we are.

    Once again, I love your theme a lot. 🙂


    • Hi Shahira – I think if your friendship survives the turbulent teens and early twenties then it’s a keeper. Obviously, for the friendships I’m remembering here, not all of them were.


    • Thanks Anna. It was a little bit emotional for me as I wrote it too only because I’ve not thought about that night on the island for a long time now.


  4. Yes… there are many times I can think of that are undocumented, or sparsely documented, that I now wish I’d had a camera, or written about them, or something more than just lived the moment and trusted my memory. *sigh*.


    • Colin, I guess when we’re in the moment, we always think that we’ll never forget every detail. Unfortunately, our aging brain proves us wrong each time. Unless of course if you have a photographic memory


  5. Enjoyed reading it and Agree to most of it
    What happens after will mostly be out of your hands and as much as you will want to preserve what you have, these friendships will slip away like sand between your fingers. These lines touced deeply but there are some friends that stay forever


    • Thank you for dropping by and reading. I’ve always wanted to hold on but only realise that letting go is the best solution for all sometimes.


    • Hi Julianne – it’s a challenge for me to write these letters to my younger self because I really needed to think about moments that I’d benefit from a warning or advise or just a letter of consolation. And I had to dig deep for some of them because I’m the queen of avoidance.


  6. I’ve had so many friendships slip away like sand between my fingers that I think I kind of *expect* it to happen, now. Sad but true. It happens particularly whenever there are major life changes like new job, new boyfriend, new husband, new baby, and so on… I used to feel sad and hurt, but I just take it as a part of life now – and I admit, I too have not put 100% effort to keep in touch with friends, even when I meant to.


  7. I’ve come to learn that friendships only last if people want them to. It’s kind of like having a boyfriend/girlfriend, but not as complicated, just that we have to make the effort to keep the friendship alive. I feel like I’m slowly losing my high school friends, which 3 years ago I never thought I would.


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