My Balinese father’s grandson passed away from COVID-19 on 4 March, the day after Nyepi – the Balinese new year day of silence. His name was Surya, which meant sun in Sanskrit. I’ve never met him before, but my Balinese dad said Surya had a smile that always lit up an entire room, just like his namesake, which is more than evident in this video where he was featured as this year’s Pro Bali Ambassador.

Surya’s words, in English: “A warrior is not afraid of failures and always rises to carry on. My name is Surya, son of Agung”

Agung is a name of those of the warrior caste of Bali. He was only 17.

You never realized how lucky you were until someone much younger than you, and seemingly healthier and happier, had his light dimmed from the world.

The recent years haven’t been easy on everyone and I am more than fortunate to experience motivation to move on lately. In the same phone call with my Balinese dad, he spoke of Peter Tosh’s song, Pick Myself Up, about starting all over again despite how many times you fail in life.

Life can be overwhelmingly disheartening and painful at times, but feeling lucky that I’m still alive while a boy less than half my age has been cremated reminds me that there’s still fire within me that refuses to be extinguished by the challenges of life.

What else can I do, besides making the best out of what I have right now?

What if doing the best that I could resulted in failure? At least I did it and became better by learning from the failure.

I learn nothing by not taking chances.

Not taking chances only gave me missed opportunities.

I’ve learned that missed opportunities are much more painful than failures.

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