I walk into a phase of emerging adulthood with some part of me insists on believing in a fairytalelike twist of fate. Reality might bite me every now and then, forcing me to lower my expectation in life, yet somehow the thought of having a possibility to have your life altered in a split second pushes me forward.
That thought does not come out of nowhere. Anybody who has a faith in the greater force than human being must know that if that force wants, it can alter your life for the better or for the worse in a blink of an eye. The later was what happened to me few years ago, I never thought that the death of your loved one could be so near and I was not immune to unfortunate event like I thought I had always been. Yet as someone who sees life as a series of ups and downs, I try to look at the brighter side. If life can throw me an unforeseen tragedy then it has the same capability to throw me a huge godsend. I just do not know what and when.
Few days ago, I re-watched Aladdin. The first time I saw it as a grown up and I could not help but to notice about all the nuances, which I had not noticed as a kid, in the characters of Aladdin and Jasmine. It turned out that the characters are more humane than I thought they were. I feel an instant connection at many levels with Aladdin and Jasmine as I saw them in a pursuit of having their aspiration fulfilled.
On the first level, I feel connected with how Jasmine yearned to see the world. She spent her years trapped in a palace where she was deprived from “all dazzling places she never knew”, the fact that she lived in a swanky palace did not make her feel content. What put a smile on her face was a short around the world journey on a carpet ride that presented her “a hundred thousand things to see”. This somehow reminds me of how I perceive my experience living in Jakarta, a city that is supposed to be a home for me but does not feel like one anymore.
I cannot get rid the thought of: I have spent too many years living in this tiny but densely populated dot on the earth. My head was full of the cities I like to set my feet in, all those cities I saw on the screen. I do not need to tick every landmarks or wonders of the world since being in a new city and watching people passing by is enough to make me happy. The novelty of being in a new town, not knowing about what to do and learning a whole different way of life, excites me the most.
I know that I have no reason to complain about my life in Jakarta. I got a pretty decent job which allows me to have savings and time for holiday, but many times I think that my job is only my temporary life as I am bound for something “greater” than that and I am not going to grow old working in a beautiful high rise building in Jakarta day-in and day-out. Like Jasmine, I long for an adventure in which I can ride my own “magic carpet” taking me to places I have never been to.
On the second level, I am also connected with how Aladdin questioned his royal identity that the genie granted him. “What made you “you”?“ was the question that Aladdin tried to crack with the help of the genie who convinced him that Aladdin’s true self was what made him special. It was not a royal robe nor genie’s helping hands that defined the true self of Aladdin. This somehow reminded me to stop looking outward and start to looking inward.
Like Aladdin who once gained his confidence from all the properties made by the genie, I also built my self-esteem upon the external factors like school I attended and work I did. The perceived need to always be on top was driven by the desire to be confident. This perceived need also pushed me to always focus on the future and to plan ahead. Little did I know that life does not always go according to the plan. When I found out, I broke. It was painful to find out that you failed in booking your dream job or securing a seat in your dream school. I lived as if they were what only mattered in this world while the fact is life can be way more interesting than going into a top school or working in a blue chip company.
Don’t get me wrong, I still dream of going into a top school or working in that company I dream of working for BUT now I know that they are a mere tool not a destination. When you think that you lose sight of your destination, you will get lost. However, when you are aware that you only miss one of your needed tool you can continue your life knowing that the missing tool can be replaced by something else to get the job done.
I still wait for my magic carpet ride that will take me places. Sometimes reality strikes too hard that I think I will rot here forever in Jakarta. But there is always a part of me which will never cease to believe in a fairytalelike twist of fate. Like that of Aladdin, whose life was altered for the better in a course of one night. Like that of Jasmine, who was taken in a magic carpet ride to see places she always dreamt of seeing. One day, it will.