So what is your definition of happiness?

Happiness is a lonely place – Nexus

I am not a happy person. I know it’s wrong. I know it sounds ungrateful. I know. The reason I am not happy is because I am always looking at the empty spaces inside of my life; no relationship, no fancy car, no rich parents, etc. I started thinking that the only way to fill the empty space is by buying expensive stuffs. It’s like I am hoping the fancy stuffs will make me happy. I know it’s silly. Happiness doesn’t always come from expensive things you can buy. I work like a dog, go home after most people are home, finish work as efficient as possible and (as much as I hate admitting it) I enjoyed working extra times and getting more responsibilities. It’s my way to let myself know that I am needed. That I am a good employee. That I am important.

I looked for acceptance from so many people. Sometimes I forget what I am actually looking for is HAPPINESS. I just want to be happy and I started putting labels to what I think would make me happy; I went to classical concert, bought expensive gadgets, went on vacation outside Indonesia. I bought what I can afford, but it left no saving for me. I used all my saving for all the things that hopefully will make me happy, but there is still empty spaces I couldn’t fulfill. I am still an unhappy person. Maybe I have a wrong definition of happiness. I thought being in a relationship will make me happy, but since I don’t have one, so I started diverting it to other things.

Maybe if I am prettier, I will have a partner and I will be happy. Maybe if I have rich parents, they can send me to expensive school/ university in USA and then maybe I will be happy. Maybe if I have a lot of money, I can travel the world and then I will be happy. Maybe maybe just maybe. But I don’t know. I am too critical to myself. I didn’t learn to be happy by just being all alone. I failed on that one.

I remember a very good friend of mine reminded me that I have to be happy with myself. That I have to accept myself for what I am and that I am a very lucky person for having a loving family and good life; a so-much-better life than those who are only raised by single parent, have no shelter at night, no money to earn. When you refuse to accept the bitterness in life, it’s probably a sign how life has been treating you ‘too’ right all of this time. A sign of a cripple self! I have a cripple self; so vulnerable, so insecure. I keep on looking for answer on how to cure myself. Teo said I should talk to my parents. I should open myself up and share all the burden I hide inside. Maybe that way I could have an exposure of what is wrong with me. But I don’t know how to start talking. It’s difficult.

In the meantime, I found an article about what happy people do. It’s interesting. Maybe it will work out, maybe it won’t. Here are the lists:
1. Happy people are resilient.
2. Happy people are open.
3. Happy people know sadness is temporary.
4. Happy people choose to be happy.
5. Happy people fake it.

As for me, I will keep looking for the answers. I will learn to know myself better. As for now, I am happy to share a dark side of me.

“We’ve got a sort of brainwashing going on in our country, Morrie sighed. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it–and have it repeated to us–over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.

Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got?’

You know how I interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.

Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.” ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie



.One insightful conversation with Filipino Cab Driver.

Not all those who wander are lost – JRR Tolkien

Last Sunday, to end our Manila trip, we stopped the cab in front of our hotel in Araneta Center area to take us to NAIA airport. After a little communication issue with the driver, I finally said “I’m sorry I don’t understand, we’re from Indonesia.” Many Filipino confused us with their own people, so they are all using tagalog when they communicate with us. Well, Asian people look similar.

When the cab driver heard that we are Indonesian, he was smiling and replied: “Indonesia? Apa Kabar?” I was surprised. Later he shared that he was once worked for a joint venture company in Kalimantan. They took fish from our sea and sold it to Hongkong. He worked for almost 8 months before he traveled to South America, Europe, Etc. It’s funny to find someone who can speaks Bahasa Indonesia and most time he asked and told story in Bahasa. He was sharing his love for the late Poppy Mercury and her song, Surat Undangan, and he talked about how beautiful Indonesia and its women are.

He also complained a bit about the government of Philippines and its corruption issue. I gave him my take on that, I said that Indonesia has the same issue; corrupted government who are not paying attention to the welfare of society. He looked surprised, “But many Indonesians are Moslem and Moslem do not corrupt.” Anggie replied: “Well, corruption doesn’t depend on the religion. It depends on the people. No matter what their religion are”. We were all laughing.

We were also talking about government take on fuel price. I said that our society have been spoiled by cheap fuel price and when the government want to relocate the subsidy for the other sector, the people are furious and going on strike.Well, at least you have cheaper fuel price, ours is twice your price. The Philippines government should do something about it. Philippines is a rich country, but money is bucketed only for some powerful people. Everything is expensive nowadays.”, so he said.

It was a refreshing moment to meet a stranger and talked about daily issues of developing countries. At least, we are sharing our point of view and nothing is right or wrong. It just feels good to communicate. By the end of the conversation he gave us some inputs; for us to take lessons from every place we go and take the good example to be implemented in our own country.

Oh, his name is Mr. June Bala. A 65-year old divorcee who’s working both as a cab driver and supporting actor in some local series in Philippines. He has 6 kids and loves action movie. He complained about Philippines’ local series which are all love stories and have less action. He blamed gay directors who are behind all those trends. “Gay people don’t know how to fight and make good action series”, he continued. We were all laughing when he said that.

That was one insightful ride on the cab. He gave me his number if one day I would go back to Philippines. Said he will take me around the beautiful islands.

Jakarta, 21 May 2012

“Everything eventually ends. Ending are inevitable”

“There is a universal truth we all have to face, whether we want to or not, everything eventually ends. As much as I’ve looked forward to this day, I’ve always disliked endings. Last day of summer, the final chapter of a great book, parting ways with a close friend. But endings are inevitable, Leaves fall, you close the book. You say goodbye. Today is one of those days for us. Today we say goodbye to everything that was familiar, everything that was comfortable. We’re moving on. But just because we’re leaving, and that hurts, there’s some people who are so much a part of us, they’ll be with us no matter what. They are our solid ground. Our North Star. And the small clear voices in our hearts that will be with us … always.”

– Alexis