Lifetimes – Rukiyah

Rukiyah, 65 and from Ra’as Island in East Java, sells drinks on Kuta Beach

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?
To be honest, with your self and others.

What’s most important?
Attitude – you need to have a nice attitude so you’ll be accepted by others.

What are the elements of happiness?
For me, nothing makes me happier than being with my children. Seeing them laugh gives me such pleasure.

What were your dreams as a child?
I dreamed of being a nurse, so I could help the people of my island, but at the time there were no clinics or hospitals there so I couldn’t study.

What advice would you give the younger generations?
Get as much education as you can; it’s vital for your future.

Are you worried about dying?
Yes, I am. Especially since my youngest son hasn’t gotten married yet.

What do you think will happen to you after you die?
If you do good in this world, you’ll go to heaven – that’s what I believe.

When was the happiest time of your life?
My husband needed surgery and we couldn’t afford to pay for it – and then one day a tourist on the beach found about it from the other sellers and gave us the money. That was amazing.

And the worst?
About two years after his surgery, my husband passed away.

What’s humanity all about?
Living in harmony with others.

Why are there so many conflicts in the world?
Because some countries want to inflict their will on others.

Is a peaceful world an impossible dream?
It’s hard to imagine a world with no wars.

In summary, are you disappointed with your life or happy at what’s happened?
I’ve never been disappointed with my life, as I believe it’s a gift from God.

Did you have the opportunities you thought you’d have?
I think so: I got husband, children – so what else do I need?

How much has luck played in your life?
Not much. Most of the time it’s been hard going.

How old do you feel?
I feel old. I don’t have as much energy as I used to, and I have a lot of pain in my back.

How do you feel about the aging process?
It is a process that reminds you that your time will come soon.

Is there anything you could have done to stay younger–looking or healthier?
I never had the money to buy creams or anything like that. I just let nature take its course.

Are you resentful about age now that your life is near its ends?
No, I’m not. Why should I resent what’s only natural.

Have you achieved everything you set out to, or are there still things left to do?
There is one thing: I want to see my youngest son get married.

Is one lifetime enough?
It’s enough for me. (BT/IP)

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