[REFLECTION] Our Secret Expectations
The cruelty that is Jakarta, is that it never lets us think, reflect, or contemplate. From the moment we wake up early in the morning, usually a good time for reflection and prayer, we’re forced to plunge ourselves into our routines of preparation for work or school or whatever; we have not yet made peace with the new day and given it purpose, so we rush into it – because there’s no other way, like trying to stuff in a huge hamburger in 2 minutes. We probably haven’t made peace with yesterday, either.
Then we’re forced to commute on roads filled with people who have not fully realized the blessings of the day and fixate on what is missing from their minds and hearts, usually happiness – as true happiness can only come to those who can properly count their blessings. Hence the frustration and anger makes us creatures who can only act and react, holding on to things and concepts that we perceive bring happiness – new BlackBerries, food, a new piece of clothing – but are only objects we try to give a name and equate it with happiness and contentedness. And of course, these things only bring us a fleeting sense of happiness, as they are not the essence of the happiness we seek. Advertising and consumerism has tricked us – by our own fault – that we can attain happiness here.
We work hard to get money, more if possible, because money buys happiness. It actually does, but it doesn’t last, so we need more money. We become greedy, we work harder and encounter more work stress, then we try to buy ourselves out of misery through our indulgences and escapism. And then the days, weeks, go on, and this vicious cycle continues indefinitely, simply because Jakarta does not give us time to properly see the big picture. And many of us forget who we are and what truly makes us happy.
I woke up this morning after a nightmare – I was yelling at everyone at sight because of something – and woke up with a pain in my chest, one that couldn’t be resolved until I wrote this post. When contemplating the ideas to go on this post, it came to me in flashes – how I’ve lived my life; my secret, unconscious expectations; and dissatisfaction… and a sort of longing for something. I took another 30 minutes to let it all collect and organize itself into something more congruous before starting writing… something that I think would be a luxury to most Jakartans.
We are all victims of our own secret expectations; of our misdirected chase for happiness – when we should be looking within, and counting our blessings as we have them now. So from today, I’m going to start to try and let go of those secret expectations, and just be grateful for what I have.
It took me a year away from Jakarta to finally formulate this into proper words. If you live in Jakarta, hopefully you have time to think about this too.