Gravity and Magnanimity

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If I could take you anywhere I want to, I would take you to any functioning man-made satellite left. My best bet is Elysium, but if such environment hasn’t existed, the ISS will do.

When the fog is still thick, when the first morning dew fell from the Sycamore tree, when our neighbors haven’t even yawned for it is still far from dawn, when the time is right, we’ll sneak into NASA’s or SpaceX’s grounds to hitch a ride. Tiptoeing, we’ll slide inside from the front door, all in complete silence. We’ll perform cool maneuvers to fool security cameras or laser detectors, just like François Toulour when he tried to steal Fabergé Imperial Coronation Egg. We’ll keep moving, we’re not gonna stop until we reach our destination. Yes, destination. Although “nothing good happens after 2 am” according to Ted Mosby, I promise you, our past-midnight mischievous act has a purpose, at least for ourselves.

We are heading to the launch pad. We are going to catapult ourselves into the orbit!

Relax, I’m not lunatic neither out of my mind! Instead, I have a very solid reason for dragging you with me on this unexpected journey. But before I explain why, let me continue elaborating our upcoming scheme.

Once the launcher has opened its doors, we’re going to sneak in with a pair of previously stolen spacesuit. We can also bring a bag full of space foods in case the space crops on the ISS aren’t yet ready—remind me to steal some from NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory before we board! Once we’re done with our preparation, we shall hide and put our helmets on. As we sit somewhere silently, perhaps in prayer, ground control will commence the countdown. Our rocket’s engine will start rumbling below our feet, and when the ignition is on… we’re going to be astronauts!

Why am I so excited to exile myself and float aimlessly on space? As someone I ‘kidnap’, you deserve to know why.

Here’s an unpopular opinion: living on Earth’s orbit is actually a privilege. Living inside a satellite for the rest of your life might give you the idea of being a little claustrophobic, but honestly, that web of small tunnels with zero gravity offers you freedom.

Once you’re inside the satellite, you’re partially detached from Earth’s gravity, and that means you’re no longer on Earth. If an apocalypse similar to the one being portrayed by the film 2012 breaks on Earth, believe me, you’ll be safe above there. If there’s a contagious air-borne epidemic disease caused by a pig who has an already-bitten-by-the-bats-banana for breakfast spreading on Earth, believe me, you’ll be safe above there. Being partially detached from Earth’s gravity will protect you from perils Earth keeps in store.

If being detached from Earth is what I’m looking for, then why don’t I level up my adventure to the next level? Why don’t I just go to another planet?

You see, it’s not fully about the perils our beloved Earth has in store. Earth is one of God’s magnificent creation, I wouldn’t despise it. Earth is the most familiar place to me. It has given me comfort, so there’s a possibility that it will again, someday. Being detached from Earth only partially by staying on its orbit leave me with the door open. Floating—not aimlessly, of course, remember that to be constantly in an orbit a satellite must have a centrifugal force or otherwise it will fall—on the orbit gives me a chance to land back on Earth easily if I want to. Do I want to? I don’t know, I mean, anything can happen, right? My satellite might bump into an asteroid and forces me to switch satellites; I might feel sick due to my long stay on a zero-g condition; I might miss eating fettuccine with dripping carbonara sauce (which I can’t enjoy freely on space to prevent sauce droplets floating around in chaos, of course).

The Earth is not my problem; its gravity is. I don’t want to be bound to Earth’s gravity forever. I mean, forever on Earth seems too much, and so is forever on space. Both stores its own peril and being in the middle seems like the most reasonable thing to do to avoid getting hurt. Floating in the middle of this so messed up universe we’re living right now seems like the safest thing to do because nowhere is forever safe or harmful nor forever good or bad. If planning episodes of your life is like picking dishes for a meal, pick a la carte menus instead of a teishoku; you’ll taste freedom, trust me.

So, I choose to live on the orbit because I want to have options. I would like to drag you—with your consent, of course—into space because I want you have it too; that’s just how much I respect anyone’s personal preference, freedom of choice. And that’s how much I care for you, too, despite the fact that you were once only my ‘nobody’. Later on, whether it is Earth, ISS, or anywhere in the galaxy you choose, it’s your call.

We are born with the innate right of freedom. We are prepared to bear it with full responsibility within our early days of life. As now we’re older, live our options; let the rest is ours to decide.


I mean, a paved road is surely safe, but grass and dirt would make a good road too, isn’t it? Plus, you’ll never know the end of a paved road until you reach the end meanwhile you can go anywhere you want by being off-road.. the more of the latter is the better, I guess?

For the ‘little sister’ who also has enough of ‘Earth’s gravity’,
who I believe will pretty much agree. So, shall we?

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2018: A Year of Loving and Living

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Alright! I think I’m ready to summarize all life lessons I get this year! Or is it too early? Anyways, since I’m so ready to finish this year and start the new one, I’ll post my annual reflections earlier than usual and perhaps update it next month in case I learn something new.

Above is the paragraph I wrote for this post’s prologue because the majority of this post was written back in November 2018. Well, jokes on me! Turns out I wasn’t yet finished taking lessons from 2018! Plus, I also happen to have a pretty hectic December 2018, thus I had to postpone posting my draft and save it for New Year. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: the word ‘love’ will be repeated numerous times from this point onward, please bear with it. Still, no worries, the loves I mean onward aren’t those cheesy ones!

This year, I learn lots of things, but if I should summarize it into a sentence, I might say:

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Thank you Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan for this beautiful movie I watched years ago, but still remember the lines until now.

The year 2018 is the year I bear responsibilities for the decisions I made back in 2017, the year I get to know beneath the surface of many people, the year I let all my guards down and be vulnerable to a small group of friends, the year I tried some new things (and failed miserably on some attempts), the year I do nothing, and the year I fall further for those worth falling for. From all those experience, I learn that:

1. The difference love makes has a p-value less than 0.05.

Ahahahah, pardon my wry humor, statistics has enchanted and repulsed me at the same time. To say it in a human language, love makes a significant difference in everything we do.

This year, I’m having activities with so many circles with different kind of people with different values being uphold tight. I befriend a group of people who accommodate others to learn more. I befriend a group of extraordinary talented people who never seem exhausted in their effort of upgrading their capacity. I befriend some people who do everything so religiously, and perhaps have reached the ultimate phase of detaching themselves from worldly needs. And there’s many more which makes me sure that this post won’t be enough to mention all.

But shortly, in the process of interacting with them, parts of me were drawn into many directions. I’m obliged to at least follow their paths to catch their pace, and that my friend, is very tiresome. Switching into different versions of yourself in order to blend with your circle—and do some activities with them—for every now and then is not an easy job. But somehow, for some occasion, it turns out that it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I zoomed out and investigate on why it is easy to hang up on something or someone while it is not on some others (yeah, sadly, I develop the habit of being unresponsive to some people until I’m in the mood to deal with them this year; I’m truly sorry if you’re one of my victims). As a result of my muse, this year, I learn it in a hard way that the difference is made possible by love: it’s easier to do things that you love, or with the people you love, instead of doing the opposite with the opposite.

This may sound harsh, but in reality, we invest ourselves wholly only on the things we love. As a practitioner and a surveyor, I can say that love is the only strong thing that keeps us loyal in a long run. It’s nearly impossible to be 100% on what we don’t love fully. It may sounds unprofessional of us, but yeah, it’s true. One can keep professional on what they’re doing even if they despise it, but I believe there’s a lot of sanity being sacrificed out there. The question is: do you want to sacrifice your sanity? As someone who seeks happiness, I’ll say no. Thus, the lesson I got is to get involved only on the things you love in order to perform and function 100%, and in order to stop disappointing people for your lack of loyalty.

But then, does that mean we should limit ourselves to interact only with the things we love?

2. Love is a seed; it is something we grow.

I don’t believe in love at first sight. If there’s any, that wouldn’t be love, that’s just infatuation. As a matter of fact, I believe that love develops overtime. Love is something you nurture to grow, or to wither due to unforeseen circumstances.

For “Life is like a box of chocolate, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get” (thanks Forrest!), it is very possible of you to be thrown into the middle of strange novel things. You always have at least two options: escape or settle. Flee from the scene or make it your home. But before you decide, try to love it. Flesh it out from different perspectives. Fill out that pros and cons table, and see which column is fuller. Listen to the drums of your beating heart; do you love it? If the answer is yes, then congrats! Keep going on! If the answer is no, then perhaps it’s time for you to seek other things to love.

In my case, this year, I think I’m in the process of growing my love for the field of knowledge I study. Nutrition is a bizarre world. It’s easy to get the hang of its major lesson (spoiler: “live a healthy life if you don’t wanna die early and if you want to leave a better offspring”), but it’s goddamn hard to understand it thoroughly. I mean, talking about nutrition is talking about how molecules affect your body and how that could affect the whole world! I’m not kidding, there must’ve been a relation between your daily green leafy veggie intake and the world’s economy! But thanks to my great inspirational lecturers (one of it being the ma’am I used to hate for her sharp comments, but then I love for her work ethic and achievements), my love grows. A little side-note: if love needs fertilizers to grow, perhaps a person can be one.

Talking about growing love and people,

3. Small acts of kindness sustain relationships between people.

Relationship withers, that’s an undeniable fact. For boredom and destructive prejudices can slip into one’s mind, love must be maintained within the relationship. How to maintain love, then?

Spare time and go an extra mile for your loved ones. You’ll never know how big the impact of your presence for someone is. Perhaps your friends’ tranquility comes from your hug, your lame jokes, or your will to listen. You’ll never know.

In my case, I received two notable gestures that melted my heart. First, is how my friends spared their precious time to keep me accompanied. I’m fully aware that time is precious, thus I highly appreciate those who spare their times for others. Second, is what have been said to me by my friend once I told her what I was doing that time: “May you find what you’ve been looking for.” That sentence struck me like a lightning, washed me like a wave. Girl, I don’t even know what am I exactly looking for, and now you’re hoping for me to find it?! I felt touched, like, for real. You see, you’ll never know the impact of what you do to others! Even the smallest thing can give a ripple to the surroundings!

Other thing—perhaps the most important thing—to maintain love in a relationship is of course to wish your loved ones a good life in your daily prayers, but I’ll skip that part on this reflection.

I could never thank God enough for giving supportive people around me. This particular lesson, the number three, is a tribute for them, the people I go to to forget and to remember. My getaway. My reality.

4. The hardest fall is falling in love with yourself.

Falling in love with others is easy. You see their surface, you get bewitched. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover what’s beneath their skin. If you’re very lucky, you’ll even know their inside organs. The depth you’re allowed to dive into depends on his or her permission, whether he or she trusts you with his or her worst parts or not. Thus, it’s easy to fall for someone, moreover if we only see their surface.

However, once we dive deeper and get exposed to others’ flaws, doubts may arise. It gets harder to fall for them because it becomes harder for us to accept them. But still, loving them can still be considered as an easy job. Why? That’s because we don’t have to face their flaws 24/7. You’ll hate them for their awful behavior, but then you’ll miss them again once you’re separated. (However, thanks for God’s arrangement, falling in love is an act of magic. For some people to some others, against all of the odds, even the worst part of others can still be lovable, but I’m not going to discuss this further here).

How about loving ourselves, then?

This year, I recognize that loving myself turns out to be harder than loving others. Myself turns out to be the hardest thing to love. This is because I know my flaws inside out and I have to deal with it 24/7. There’s a constant battle between the expectation of an ideal me versus the brutally frank reality of me going nonstop within my head and I can’t mute them. Knowing that I have high expectations whilst knowing that I have hard-to-mend flaws is quite frustrating. I disappoint myself. This, to no surprise, could make maintaining a positive self-concept 24/7 becomes hard.

In my attempt to resolve the battle, I found out that defeating one of them is impossible, and is actually not necessarily important. The two of them turn out to be the pedals and brakes of a moving bicycle, which is me. Diminishing one of them would disturb the balance. Later on, I figured that shadowing one or another every now and then is a way to control them, to maintain a positive self-concept of my self.

To shadow one of them once in a while, I do some things. I give my self a break, and congratulate my self for the little things I do. I force my self to take some things easy to maintain my sanity. After all, you are your number one supporter. If you don’t love yourself first, who will?

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And, oh! Sometimes others’ opinions about you might help boost your confidence! I cannot recall on how many times I recite great-motivational-hopefully-honest lines people have told me over the course of my life to cheer me up—I probably have even chanted them like a spell! The way they express their trust on you while you don’t even trust yourself feels like an antidote; I feel replenished. So, for those who have send kind greetings and warm messages, thank you so much, you don’t know how much it means to me!

5. No fingerprints are crafted with the same pattern, and so is life.

As I mentioned before, the year 2018 is the year I do nothing. It is a hyperbolic expression because of course I do something this year, but I honestly don’t feel like I’m doing something.

On the year 2018, I often felt quite sad when I realized that everyone is moving somewhere whilst I was just standing still on where I was standing. I watch friends and strangers are hustling forward to achieve great big things whilst I.. I don’t do much. I would love to blame circumstance, fate, or destiny—any extrinsic factor that exists—for my static life, but that would make me a very ungrateful person and that wouldn’t solve the problem. So, to overcome my situation, I mused, and realized trivial facts quite long after:

  • Everyone has different life paths, so never compare yours with others’. (this should be very trivial and I do agree with this since long time ago, but it is so hard to abandon others’ life and to not compare yours with others’)
  • Keep moving forward by doing something your past or your future will thank you for.
  • Baby steps are ok! Later on, if you zoomed out, those baby steps would also seem like a giant step. Carry on!

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Wew, I think this is the longest annual reflection I’ve made so far on this blog! To not make this post any longer, I’ll wrap up just by now. Arrivederci peeps! This time, I have plans, and I’m so ready to hustle! (hopefully, hehe)

Is It Always in The Blood?

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I’ve just finished watching one of 2018’s most buzzed film Crazy Rich Asian, a Hollywood film that portrays the life of Asian millionaires. Adapted from a novel by Kevin Kwan with the same title, the film is about how Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American econ professor, struggles to adapt with the old-money-rich family of her boyfriend, Nick Young.

I’m not going to give you an in-depth review about the cinematographic aspects of the film, but instead I’ll share my opinion about it as a South East Asian girl—Indonesian to be precise. A little note for you who probably skipped geography class: Indonesia is that wide archipelago near Singapore and Malaysia, the two countries where Crazy Rich Asian was shot.

Living in Indonesia which is home to so many cultures and races makes it easy for me to understand to the characters of Crazy Rich Asian. Around 3% of Indonesian citizen is Chinese, and that makes me quite familiar to Chinese people and culture (I have friends who are Chinese too, and overall they’re amazing!). So, if I may speak something based on my experience, I would say that Crazy Rich Asian does give a pretty accurate picture of Chinese people in general: excellent, strict, and rich. Those I’ve personally met don’t seem that rich rich, but yeah, they’re rich (they’re great businessmen, of course y’all know!). And don’t get me start talking about their excellence! They’re so fine! Almost all Chinese people that I know personally are the best on the circle. They aim for the brightest star, they don’t take tolerable as a target. Just like the whole world know, Chinese people are the best of fighters.

Alright, now let’s dive deeper! Crazy Rich Asian revolves around Nick Young’s Chinese family. Before I continue, for you who haven’t watch the film, Nick Young is a NYU professor who hides his identity as the potential sole heir of his extended family business by living a modest life. Why would someone like him conceals his identity? I mean, isn’t it a major pleasure to have an unlimited access to wealth and fame? The answer will be subjective, but most of people would agree if the answer is a simple “Because he don’t want to be recognized and remembered that way”. Nick is that kind of person. He doesn’t want people to judge him for his family’s wealth and fame; he wants to be judged for being himself.

For the Young family is a top-notch Singaporean family whose business is all across Asia, living the expectations of the family elders is challenging. Every members are expected to maintain the family’s good rep and to pass on family traditions to the next generations. Children are prepared and shaped by their parents will so they’ll be fit enough to run the family business, or perhaps fit enough to dominate the world. Family business and wealth become that important to them because they perceive people with expensive net worth as a big yes whilst self-made people are perceived as a “meh, okay, but we don’t compare”. They’re also expected to keep their family lineage pure, Chinese only (Half-Bloods, Squibs, and Muggles are a definite no!). Those family expectations are what stand between Rachel and Nick’s family blessing.

Seeing how Hollywood depicts an Asian family’s life in this film reminds me of the Asian families I know, even mine. Although not all families are Chinese, at least we Asian share similar values and perspectives.

First, family first. Asian people has this tendency to put communal needs before individual needs.

Individuality and selfishness are not quite tolerable here. Subjectively speaking, I see this lesson as a quite good one. We want it or not, we live in a society, and people within a society will need one another sooner or later. Prioritizing communal needs seems like a good way to maintain the harmony of a society.

However, I don’t agree on Eleanor Young’s (Nick’s mom) on this. There’s a scene that goes this way.
Eleanor : You’re a foreigner. American – and all Americans think about is their own happiness.
Rachel : Don’t you want Nick to be happy?
Eleanor : It’s an illusion. We understand how to build things that last. Something you know nothing about.

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Eleanor (left) is a good mother, tbh, but she’s the worst soon-to-be mother-in-law!

Well, yeah, individualists value individual happiness above others’, but that doesn’t mean happy individuals couldn’t make things lasts! I mean, what’s the meaning of having everlasting things if those don’t make you happy? All those unnecessary family traditions.. what are those for if it brings family members together for nothing but sorrow?

Second, blood purity still matters for some family.

Since Indonesia (and South East Asia in general) was home to Hinduism, castes existed. Family reputations and lineage matters here. Having a royal married a peasant would be such a disgrace to the royal family, I don’t know why.

It is no longer that strict here nowadays, but the lessons are still passed on. Most Asian families require young adults to marry someone who is at least equal to them. The aspect being assessed might differ from one family to another, such as intelligence, wealth, fame, family history, and else; it depends on the value the family upholds. I personally can understand the reason because a life-partner is a serious matter and similarities might be the key to an everlasting relationship. However, I disagree to the lesson if those shallow aspects are the only things being accounted when parents decide the eligibility of their future son-in-law or daughter-in-law. I believe there are more to it to decide, such as kindness, politeness, life vision, integrity, etc.

Third, the last I’ll discuss, most children avoid becoming their parents and families when they grow up.

I don’t know whether this is just an Asian people thing or a global thing (since I recall a scene in The Breakfast Club mentions this as well), but this is a thing (why did I wrote so many things in this thing?).

In the film, Nick seems like he wants to break his family’s rules regarding to his freedom. He seems like he is not interested in what his parents have planned for him (running a family business). He seems like he is not interested in keeping the family blood pure. To make it simple, it seems like he doesn’t want to be like his family members.

I once discussed this with my mom, on “to learn how not to be like my parents”. I and my mom agreed that almost all children grow up with this little dream of not becoming like their parents. This dream might stem from bad parenting style which triggers children’s wish to eradicate some bad things parents do from life. And truthfully, I find this quite good. Wishing like that indicates that children (or people in general) are striving for the better instead of maintaining a mere tradition for fulfilling individual ego.

However, isn’t that ironic? How long will this lasts? Until when do children have to fight their innate tendency of imitating their parents’ and family’s behavior? Until when do children have to feel hatred for what they’re supposed to love the most?

Since I’ve left those rhetorical questions above, I’ll put this story of mine to an end. To wrap up, let’s just agree to take everyday life events as a lesson in the means of shaping ourselves into better individuals in the future! Crazy Rich Asian is a fresh air to the Hollywood filmography, I recommend you to watch it. And, oh, I’ll leave a Mayer masterpiece too in case you want to be more disturbed by the third discussion! Arrivederci!

Embracing Mediocrity

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Go big or go home!

Be someone. Be a prominent person!

Stand out among others!

Be that number one!

Said those elderly as if mediocrity is humiliating.

Children are often encouraged to be the best, to stand out among others. Competitiveness turns out to be one of those values parents plant on their child since early childhood. Haven’t been a parent my self, but I believe nurturing children so serves the purpose of preparing children to face the harsh reality of life. Living life is like getting lost within a perilous rain forest; to survive, you must win every challenge or battle you encounter. Thus, to keep on winning, you’re supposed to be familiar with competition; you ought to be competitive.

I once had a pretty serious conversation with my grandma (my grandpa’s sister) about being competitive. As we rarely meet due to our nonadjacent life path, once our path intertwined, she tried to catch up on my life. We were talking about my present activities and my future plans as a health and nutrition student. At some point of our discussion, she gave me a pretty good wisdom:

In the world we’re living on, being mediocre equals to be nobody. If you want to survive, you must think ten steps ahead of everyone. Hustle. Think out of the box. That way, you become someone special that everybody recognizes. You’ll become that someone everybody thinks about when they hear a certain quality you resemble. That, my grandchild, is a way to survive life.

Her wisdom about personal branding is good, I admit that. She’s right. Being recognizable in the world of 7 billion people is a great advantage. You won’t need to seek for opportunity; opportunity seeks you. However, in another way, her advice blames mediocrity as if it promotes failure. Mediocrity, not standing out among others.. those two seem like perfect ingredients of the recipe to drown in this deadly current named life. Go big.. or go home.

But, should it always be that way? Is mediocrity a problem, something we should avoid?

It depends. It depends on the value we hold tight. It depends on our purpose of living life. Say our purpose of living is to directly inspire people to do something, or perhaps be that kind of billionaire who has the ability to donate many capitals to charities, then prominence is a must and mediocrity would be unacceptable. Linear to my grandma’s sayings, being someone prominent is like having a free pass to many kind of opportunities that pay us well.

But say our purpose of living is just to serve for the well-being of mankind, just to make sure that goodness exists in this world, then prominence won’t be that much of a bother and so is mediocrity. Let’s picture it this way:

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Pardon my poor analogy and drawing.

Say that mankind needs plenty of help from people to mend it. Those dots are us, the people. The bigger the dot, the more prominent the people, the bigger impact he or she gives. The yellow line is mankind throughout the history of time. It is bent and shaped by the dots, the people. The dots keep the line in track so it reaches the expected outcome. Does the size of the dots matter? Yes, if we’re talking about impact. Does the size of the dots matter? No, if we’re talking about the final outcome.

No matter the size, however big, however small, let me be part of it all. Every dot, big or small, participates in the change. Big dots might bend the line stronger, but remember the small dots that supports the line so it is kept on track.

So, what’s the point? The point is, go big, be someone, and stand out, but don’t let that be your everything. Remember that being mediocre is not always a problem. As long as being mediocre doesn’t stand between us and our life purpose, I guess being mediocre is okay.

For me, this is something I really need to grasp on if I want to save energy for what really matters.

The Theory of Flight Safety

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Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.

I have been living up to that theory within the course of my life, even before I had my first flight. I can’t recall the first time I agreed to that particular bold line in the flight safety instruction wholeheartedly, but I can recall what I felt once I first recognized it: gladly happy.

The thing about that particular line is it justifies my selfishness: save yourself before you save others.

Beforehand, selfish is one trait that I have it so hard to tolerate. All my life I have been taught to share things with others, to be selfless. I was told that basically human possess nothing—all is His. Thus, sharing most of the things and putting others’ needs before mine seem to be a good gesture. The slightest form of kindness the least I can do.

But, on the other hand, I’ve been (not so) secretly holding that theory too within the course of my life. Saving my self before saving others has been one of the theory that drives me. I mean, who would really risk their life for others, eh? Well, technically, there would be some of those super selfish people, but I believe its amount won’t exceed the other. Believing so makes me feel like being a hypocrite; I lie to my self.

Parts of me tried to convince my selfish part, girl, your selfishness roots back from the innate human behavior—to seek safety and to avoid pain—, your belief is just another proof that you’re a normal human being. I was so convinced for a long time because the theory seems too real! It makes sense in any way we look at it. And when I first recognized that particular line on the flight safety instruction, I became more assured. Add that flight safety instruction with the basic rules of evacuating people: putting self-safety first before evacuating others to prevent more casualties. I was very glad to know that my selfishness is scientifically proven and recommended.

All until not too long ago.

Bearing the responsibility of keeping two groups of people falling in love with two different worlds I’m not so profoundly in love with was pretty chaotic. Internally, I was hurting because I became such a hypocrite for the I-lost-count-th time (hypocrite is another trait I despise). However, in order to stay as professional as I could, I shoved my feelings aside for those groups’ sake. After all, they deserved the best version of me since they had done nothing wrong to me. And, so, for the sake of professionalism and for the sake of my own pride, I tried to give my best.

Funnily, I got my plot twist. In my attempts on helping them sliding safely and conveniently into these novel worlds, some tiny parts of my wound is somehow magically healing. I found my cure—my immunoglobulin, my fibrin—within their friendly hellos, within their enthusiasm in working on so many tiresome projects (I myself would be sick of), within their excitement of taking silly pictures with me (and, yes, they’re the one who asked me to join them!). It turns out that

to an extent, saving others before saving our self can actually be a way of saving our self.

That’s a theory I propose and  a theory I try to comprehend right now.

Thus, if we’re back to that cabin decompression scenario on that flight safety instruction, imagine it this way: the child beside you is your own child and losing him or her would be the start of your insanity. By assisting him or her on putting his or her mask on before you do yours, you save him or her, and automatically you save yourself from future damage. You can replace that before with while, if you want to, in case the degree of selflessness you have hasn’t reach that level. Well, the analogy I present here is too extreme and hopefully within our future flights we don’t have to encounter such circumstances, but, still, I guess it’s a pretty much accurate depiction.

Anyways, the point is, don’t forget to save your life before saving others, but don’t forget too that saving others might be a way of saving your own life. To what extent, then? That question would spark other tons of questions humanity—specifically I—need(s) to answer.

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Take Me Home, Country Roads

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I reckon life as a typical nation-wide American road trip. You board on a trailer with supplies previously loaded inside. If a trailer seems too fancy in the frame, picture a pale-yellow Volkswagen Kombi with stickers on the windshields. What’s up with that particular yellow and stickers? I don’t know, perhaps so it appears more Gypsy.

You start the journey of thousand miles alone, and there can only be you behind the wheel. Sure, someone will teach you the basics of driving before you wander. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get that Driving 101 workshop directly from the experts. But although you’re still on the safe place, the pit stop, keep in mind that you’ll be on your own not long after.

You’ll be on the roads alone, exploring each state for its beauty and for what it offers. You’ll pass through different routes, some are short and some are long—perhaps you’ll encounter those as long as Route 66! Every route and every state will be a whole new different thing. They will have different game rules, different obstacles, and—of course—different bosses.

Yet stay calm! Those winding roads and culture-rich states will offer you breathtaking scenery! You’ll never know what you stumbled upon the next time you arrive on a new state: Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, or perhaps The Yellow Stone Park! Or better, you might be greeted by The Griffith Observatory once you wake up on one fine morning to the chirps of birds who perch low on a branch above you! No matter what happens to you the night before, nature will greet with its signature greetings every morning.

And of course, within your journey, you’ll meet other adventurers: those who exchange stares with you when both of you are on the petrol station filling gas, those who deliberately knock on your window just to ask directions. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find some people who share the same destination with you and you’ll be travel buddies—with different vehicles, of course. At some nights, you might find yourself gather around a campfire with your travel buddies, each with a stick of marshmallow in hand. All of you might exchange crazy tales you’ve experienced before which will amuse each other at its best. Fondness will grow and separation is out of your dictionary, a definite “no”. Before you might even realize it, traveling in packs comforts you more than traveling solo—a thing you have always done before. You’ll become attached to your pack, because let’s just admit it, being jammed in the traffic of New York City will even feel like almost heaven when your pack is also there with you.

But.. what if? What if one of your comrades has other places to go that aren’t on your bucket-list? What if they have decided to come back to where they belong? Or worse, what if they find other packs they prefer more than yours?

You. Will. Be. Back. To. Square. One. You’ll be back to the state as how you started.
You’ll be on your own again for every company is very much temporary. All the shift will make you question your sense of belonging. Where do I belong if what I thought I belong to does not belong to me?

That question about belonging will constantly tickle the back of your mind. It is that kind of question that demands answers, that kind of question that pushes you to seek harder. You might end up gallivanting from one camping ground to another to find new travel buddies, new comrades, new packs. For pleasure from belonging is what you’re in search for, you’ll just keep fitting yourself into others like a jigsaw in progress. All of those for that one purpose: to know where you belong.

But still, at the end of the day, you’ll become a solo traveler again. This time, you won’t meet anyone and nobody will join you. Why? Because this time, you’re heading home, your absolute final destination. Home, a place you left in your youth for the means of seeking sanctuary. Funny thing is, we belong to the the place we left behind, we belong to what has been a sanctuary all these time, we belong to our home.

So, no matter how far you’ve traveled, no matter how many state license plates you have collected, this amazing journey of yours actually comes with a nonrefundable return ticket. You must come back home eventually.

So, while you’re on your way home, you’ll be back at those monotonous routine behind the wheels. You’ll probably still listening to that John Denver’s song you used to put on repeat back when loneliness is your only friend. But this time, instead of traveling with an empty mind throughout the journey, perhaps you’ll flood it with memories. Perhaps you’ll reminisce what can be called as the best of times, and trust me, it will put a faint smile on your lips for every now and then. Good old days, I say, and I’m pretty much positive that you’ll agree.

Derak-Derak Ombak

pexels-photo-842339

malam itu
ombak-ombak riuh berkejaran ke tepian
menitipkan resah, melepaskan gelisah
membagi gundah, menunda kalah

fajar nanti
ombak-ombak merangkak gontai menjauhi pantai
melanglang buana, mematikan rasa
menebar jala, menunggu senja

dan di antara malam dan fajar fajar dan malamnya
untuk pertama kali dalam sejarah semesta
ombak-ombak terkikis habis menjadi tiada.


siapa-siapa yang tengah melawan absurditas kehidupan,
meski masih jauh itu yang kau sebut rumah,
sebentar saja menepilah, singgah.