Perceiving Time, Surviving Time

Talking about time is talking about a uniquely single variable that prompts different feeling to everyone. Though everyone is going through exactly the same measurement unit of time, everyone has different perception towards it. To different people, an interval of three years seem either long or short depends on their circumstances, how they fill up their time, and how they absorb or waste opportunities within three years.

To many high school students, three years seem quite a long period of joyful adolescence despite obligation to be at school from early morning to late afternoon in weekdays. There might be no heavy thoughts besides enjoying teenage years, but soon or later they will realize that actually high school years passed very shortly and three years seemed not enough. If there is a chance to turn back the time, many of them would gladly live through those happy three years once again.

To those battling with cancer, three years might seem like three decades. Chemotherapies and other supporting treatments are painful enough to remind that life is pretty hard to get through—while sometimes there comes up a feeling that life treats them unfairly. But life is a series of never-ending survival, and as a matter of fact, three years indicate that they have survived a lengthy span of time. Even some of them might have recuperated; and perhaps realize that three years have gone longer than they expected.

To people migrating abroad for work or postdoctorate study, three years seem very lingering at the beginning. Adjustment to new environment, adaptation to people with various cultural backdrops, even loneliness and homesickness are just few examples that make the early stage seems hard to survive. But gradually as they focus on the primary reason why they move overseas, the stumbling blocks slowly dematerializes. And having gone through those long-struggling years, eventually there will come a more favorable situation comparing to three prior years.

To parents raising kids, three years seem to happen like a speed of light. Things change as they are busy earning living and also nurturing their kids. An infant turns into a toddler, a toddler turns into a child, a child turns into a teenager, then a teenager turns into an adult. While time seems to spin very quickly, years passed by and transformed both the kids and the parents. The kids have grown up a lot; the parents have grown quite old in three years.

Things might happen unexpectedly within three years, so be well-prepared for any good as well as unfavorable scenarios. Golden opportunities might happen, but so does catastrophes. Rapid development might happen, but so does the outbreak of riot—or even war. What matters is how you respond to anything happen within such period; how you act positively or negatively towards any possible issue. Instead of letting life controls yourself, let your actions determine your life.

If it has been, or it’s going to be an up-and-down period of three years; just live your life as if it’s your high school years. The first year is a phase of self-actualization and self-acceptance, the second year is a phase of discovering potentials and living life to the fullest, meanwhile the third year is an ultimate stage when you have to prepare for life after school years—but you keep having fun during your final year. Just make the most of your three years regardless any emerging difficulties. You’ll survive anyway.

What if in few years I decide to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Finance?

Out of the blue, that random thought popped up in my mind after Fajr. Maybe that was a kind of revelation; and maybe my life needs a plot twist.


Count the days down whenever you feel lonely. Life might have been going hard on your own, but you’ll see your loved ones, as well as closest people, again as soon as the days pass by.

Count the days down whenever you feel low. You’ll understand that hard times won’t last forever; and you’ll be surprised that you can regain strength and passion to get through it.

Count the days down whenever you feel stressed and distressed. You’ll understand that brighter times await, shortly after you complete life challenges you’ve been destined to.

Count the days down whenever you feel things are boring. In immediate time, you’ll return to your comfort zone and things are getting interesting again.

Count the days down whenever you feel like giving up. You’ll figure out that unfavorable time, that you’ve been undergoing, is slowly diminishing as the time spins around.

Count the days down whenever you feel homesick. Sooner than expected, you’ll going back to your hometown; and of course your home, or the place where your heart belongs to.

Count the days down. Trust me whatever the situation is, it always helps relieving temporary despondency.

Count the days down; and things ain’t gonna be as hard as it used be. Count the days down; and you’ll be surprised how it eases your burdens.

Count the days down. Just wait patiently. It’s just less than a week left.

Frequent Flyer

If the duration of my domestic flights within September–November are accumulated, it is considerably more than total duration of return flights from Jakarta to London—vice versa. I don’t earn living as a flight attendant, but yeah, I fly habitually.

I used to think that flying back and forth every weekend would be an easy routine. In fact, it’s pretty wearying. Packing, unpacking, and repacking have become my routines since the last three months. Catching flights, waiting in departure hall, and chasing Uber—or GO-JEK—from airport are things I regularly do each week.

Such routines do not only make me able to recall the chronological order and wordings of safety demo in an instant, but the routines also familiarize me with fellow airline crew working in operational field, particularly frontliners in airport. Just like I did in younger years when I worked in a multiplex, I always find that having direct interaction with customers is a challenging yet interesting job. Somehow seeing those ground crew, as well as air crew, makes me feel that being office crew is just not my thing.

Meanwhile, aside from being physically weary, such routines sometimes shake me up mentally. Sometimes I wonder whether this pathway is a right decision or a flop instead, and whether the risks are worth-taking or worth-leaving behind. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but on the other hand working in this industry is something I used to badly crave and fight for. Sometimes I convince myself those routines only last for few months, while sometimes counting down the days make the outstation months seem like centuries.

I guess everybody agrees that traveling is a kind of enjoyable activity. In spite of that, when something pleasant becomes a routine, the law of diminishing return applies. There comes a moment when we feel bored or exhausted due to repetitive activities. There comes a moment when we feel like doing other thing, whether to challenge ourselves or to overcome boredom. There comes a moment when we reach the peak of enthusiasm; and gradually the excitement turns into exhaustion.

People say that “go big or go home” like going home is a bad thing. Hell yeah, I wanna go home, and I’m going to take nap when I get there.

“You know you really love someone when you can’t hate them for breaking your heart.”

(Sitta Karina)

So damn true. No matter how bad they hurt you, several people are inexplicably forgivable and still occupying their spots someplace within your heart. I know it sucks, but it happens.

Other Nationals

Randomly wondering what might happen if my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or even great-great-grandparents made different decisions back then to move overseas. Whatever decisions they took, it would affect my life up to present day.

Maybe I am a South African-born and belong to the ethnic minority of Southeast Asian descendants. I might experienced post-apartheid regime during early childhood as a Kaapse Malaier, but I think it would not significantly affect my psychological condition.

Maybe I was born in Suriname, raised in the capital city of Paramaribo, then studied and continued to settle in the Netherlands up to present day. Otherwise I returned to Suriname and started my own business, then expanded it to the Caribbean and settled down in Sint Maarten.

Maybe I am a Malaysian or Singaporean and speak different accent of primary language. I could perfectly sing the national anthems of both countries though.

Maybe I have been living my whole life peacefully in Cocos (Keeling) Islands and owning a resort. Nevertheless, I am an Australian national and Commonwealth citizen anyhow.

Maybe I am a Cockney living in the East End of London. As a British passport-holder since I’ve been living there from the day I was born, I think I could travel easily to any part of the world and explore countries and territories I can hardly visit with green passport.

Maybe I am a citizen of New Caledonia and speak French much more fluently than current proficiency. I either work in a nickel mine or move to Metropolitan France in order to earn better living with any job I can find.

I think your destiny—and fortune—depends on which country you were born in and which citizenship your parents hold when you were born. But I still have chances to change my own destiny, right?

Never mind. It’s just a random thought.

Risks to Rise

It’s been nearly six months, or a half-year, since I began earn living in an airline. Of course I have been experiencing and obtaining countless benefits since this is the industry I aspire to build my career up. Nevertheless, behind the excitement and contentment I feel, some people throw harsh—or inferior precisely—opinions about me.

Some people question me why I am willing to work in an airline instead of consulting firms, banks, consumer goods, government institutions, and many other sectors that happen to be valuable enough to many of them. Or any other job that they consider is worth taking by a UK-graduate. Anyway, airline is a risky business, in which things are highly unpredictable depending on multifarious factors. For that reason, I guess it makes sense why some people feel pity for me working in this industry. There were times when I often found it offensive every time I hear those kind of judgments. But if I could survive hard times when a lot of people underrated me for postponing college life seven years ago, the more mature me should be able to overcome those bad mouths appropriately.

Still I don’t get the idea why some people bother my life path too much. I reckon my decisions don’t mess up their lives at all, but still I can’t get it why some people regret my choice. Maybe they envy me. Maybe they don’t know much about airline industry. Maybe they are that doubtful of their lives so they comfort themselves by undermining me instead. Or maybe they want me to follow their track instead of living my own one.

So, I stop giving a damn whenever people undermine me for working in an airline. I love the airline world. I have chosen this as my pathway. And I enjoy my job in airline industry—though sometimes I wish I could explore other functions, particularly operational area. Whenever I feel a bit down, I try to keep grateful by reminiscing how I really wanted to work in an airline, and forecasting how my future would grow in this industry.

These past six months make me realize that one of the hardest lessons as a grownup is to stop paying attention too much of what other people say. People might tell that something is good for you, but your intuition might not say so. If you’re not sure about something, then don’t do it.

I know the risks surrounding and within the airline industry. I understand what the risks are, but keep in mind that some high risks are worth high return. In time, I’m gonna figure out the outcomes anyway. So will they, those who regret my decisions to jump, blend, and stay in airline industry.

While seven years ago I stepped backwards to jump, this time I step steadily to fly. Oh yeah, flying is part of my job.