It’s been a while since I wrote in English. There’s no particular reason for it. As I said here, this is a bilingual blog. I write in both Indonesian and English, alternatively that is, depending on the audience I wish to reach.
That aside, this post will not be talking about the whats and whys of the language I use (I think I have discussed about it somewhere before), but about the time we need to do our own things — things we really enjoy, things we do not because of some kind of external imposition (like those tasks we do because of our job).
I don’t think I would be a rarity in thinking how blissful it would be to have all the time we need to devote to the very thing(s) we enjoy doing without much concern for other things. But most of us know it only too well that such a thing is — more often than not — a luxury. We do one thing to make a living and do something else to enjoy life — the life that is made possible among others by how well we do in making a living.
Ideally, of course, we can or should make a living out of something we most enjoy — our passion. Unfortunately, in a compartmentalized age of ours, only a few lucky souls have such an opportunity. Early on in our lives and through social-economic conditioning and education most of us have been prepared — often against our own will — to enter into a particular trade or trades without much regard to our inclinations, liking, or talents. The considerations that agents of authority (parents particularly) use are often practical — how lucrative a trade is, how promising it is in terms of guaranteeing a decent living and a respectful social station. On top of that, the prevailing system (you know what) ensures that most of us end up being just another bee supplying and nourishing the queen bee.
I don’t mean to complain of how things work here. Nor do I intend to simplify something that I know is not as straight forward as it sounds. My point — or rather the direction I’d like to take in this essay — is how often we feel helpless to trying to manage between obligations to make a living and time for our own passion.
The system, of course, is offering a convenient solution for this: a regular weekly break, a set days of annual leave, a holiday — a woo for our perpetual grievances so that we may not break and become unproductive under the unresolved tension between obligation and passion. It just can’t afford to have so many of us become deranged and lose productivity.
But is it really a solution?
I’ll let you answer the question.
For now, let me attend to a more personal experience: under pressure from obligations to make a living, some of us (I am one of them) often get distracted from the tasks at hand. We long for a time of our own where we can devote our energy entirely — if not exclusively — for our passion.
But when the much awaited break arrives, you feel like doing nothing. Lethargy gets the best of you. A break is a break, you excuse. Doing nothing, you feel, is your much deserved reward after breaking your back and bones in day to day toils, which you have not enjoyed much and have drained the juices out of your life. Your passion gets deferred again. It is, once more, being sidelined.
And so, the patter repeats itself over and over again until you wake up one morning to find out that not much is left to really find out what the ways of passion can do for you.
It sounds like a cloudy forecast. Dark and pathetic. Indeed it is. Unless, of course, the wind of courage is given the chance to change the direction of the clouds and let the sun shine again. And that, my friend, is going to be a very powerful gust of wind to think about. And like any strong wind, you can only generate it when there’s enough gap between the high and low pressure areas, between your expectation and the reality you’re facing.