Kamis, Mei 30, 2024

Twenty Two Years Later

Akhmad Reza
Akhmad Reza
Memiliki Background Jurnalistik, aktivis Aliansi Kerukunan Antar Umat Beragama (AKUR) (2005-2008), Aktivis Jaringan Kerja Antar Umat Beragama (JAKATARUB) (2008-2013)

Twenty-two years ago, when I was still in college, entering the year 2000 seemed to be entering a dimension that was all “wow.” The words “millennium era” that are repeated in various media bring hope that is bubbling, even though when it is lived it feels like it is just like that it is no different from previous years.

And now, I can’t believe we are at the beginning of 2022. In the span of more than two decades that feels so fast, many plans have deviated, expectations are not appropriate, ideals must be mortgaged in order to adapt to living conditions. People say, life is a choice, but what feels, everything seems to have been “chosen” without ever asking our approval.

What is certain is that age is increasing. Hair begins to thin, gray hair appears, and teeth fall out one by one. Some people with money may be able to trick age with plastic surgery, thread implants or botox injections. But they can’t go against nature forever. The ideals of youth must adapt to the often inconsistent reality. The sentence “yes, never mind” in the end becomes a kind of self-consolation and brake control so that life remains sane. Javanese philosophy, “nrimo” may have a point.

I remember the German philosopher, -The God Slayer- Nietzsche who once said “fatum brutum amor fati.” That is, life or destiny is cruel and brutal, but we must still love destiny. Nietzsche is not the only person who has said this. It is even possible that Nietzsche borrowed from Epictetus who appeared some 1800 years earlier. This Greek philosopher was once a lame slave. Facing adversity after difficulty throughout his life, Epictetus came to the conclusion, “Don’t look for things to happen the way you want them to; instead, expect what happens as it happens: then you will be happy. “

Life’s journey cannot be planned. No matter how perfect our preparations are, when a storm surge hits, it inevitably makes everything fall apart. Like a sand castle that looks sturdy towering and reinforced forts and deep trenches must be destroyed instantly because of the brunt of the sea waves.

I used to think that outstanding academic achievement was directly proportional to the success of life out there. And for some time I was confident about it. When expectations do not match reality, I am then disappointed. Meanwhile, when I compare with my classmates who used to be ordinary in college, but in plain view their lives seem to be more successful in terms of income and career, I feel like the late 90s song from Kla Project entitled “Terpurukku di sini.”

Just recently, I realized I made two kinds of mistakes regarding this. I realized this mistake after finding a good book, entitled, “The Art of The Good Life” by Rolf Dobelli. First mistake. We set too high expectations about preparation. Second, I compare my life with others. Something that can’t be done. Because actually, what do we know about other people’s lives?

Let’s talk a little about the first. Dobelli wrote, “Our lives are like a plane or a car. We don’t want that – we want things to go as planned, predictable and undisturbed. That way we only need to pay attention to the preparation, namely by determining the optimal starting point. We will organize it perfectly at the start – education, career, love story, family – and achieve our goals according to plan. Of course, I’m sure you know, that’s not how it works. Our lives are full of ups and downs, and we spend a lot of time dealing with wind and unpredictable weather. While we are still as naive as pilots in good weather; we overestimate the role of preparation and systematically underestimate the role of correction.”

Actually what Dobelli wrote is still long. But I will suffice it here, if you are interested, just buy the book. In essence, the plan is not the determining factor of our success. The most important thing than the plan is correction after correction to the original plan that we have made. Correction does not mean we lower the standards we have made, but rather adjustments, like a pilot piloting an airplane to keep it on track.

Then, the second error. Comparing our lives with others. How can we compare our lives with other people’s, even though two identical twins live life with different experiences. Their character is not the same as their physical appearance. Also, when their parents often force the same clothes on each other. “Don’t compare yourself to anyone in this world. If you do, you are insulting yourself,” said Bill Gates.

The last point I want to address, before this article gets too long and boring, is about avoiding suffering and pursuing happiness. I need to write this because of my life, and I believe that all human beings always experience turbulence, trials, tests or whatever it is called that makes tears fall because of sadness, disappointment or heartbreak. The question is, can we avoid all kinds of pain?

The somber German philosopher (again), Arthur Schopenhauer writes on this theme. According to him, life is merely suffering because it is a series of desires that never cease to be satisfied. Happiness is then understood as the temporary absence of suffering or in other words another moment of waiting for suffering.

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha said that we are bound to meet problems, pain and disappointments in life. That’s the fact. But in fact, like me, and maybe you, we often deny it. Well, still according to the Buddha, the refusal to acknowledge the reality of life and try to make reality according to our desires is precisely the “cause of suffering.”

But is there a recipe for ending suffering? Unfortunately, I will not write in this article, because if I continue, the article which was originally intended to be concise will become even longer and rambling. For now, I will suffice.



Akhmad Reza
Akhmad Reza
Memiliki Background Jurnalistik, aktivis Aliansi Kerukunan Antar Umat Beragama (AKUR) (2005-2008), Aktivis Jaringan Kerja Antar Umat Beragama (JAKATARUB) (2008-2013)
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