What do you see?
This post is still inspired by a trip that I took to Jakarta by train yesterday. I am happy that I got to fill my Christmas break with some trips that are full with eye-opening experiences and life lessons. What a great way to spend a holiday for sure!
Okay, this time is a lesson about perspective. See that picture above? Yup, I believe you guys are familiar with that kind of picture. There are a lot of perspective pictures like that and they usually go with the question, “What do you see?” or “What did you see first?” different people come up with different answer. Some will say they saw a dog and some others will say they saw a bird. I am not intending to go deeper with the discussion of the meaning of seeing a dog or seeing a bird, but I am using that as an example to convey my point. Different people can see one thing at the same time but have different interpretations/reactions/responses to it.
Yesterday, when I was on a train, I sat next to some young moms with their little kids. I believe the moms are around early twenties and the kids are around 4-5 years old. In front of me there standing two young ladies who were bank workers (I could tell because of the name tags hanging on their necks). The moms let the kids play on the floor and they looked happy with it. The same thing with the two young ladies in front of me, they seemed to be okay as well, they were holding on a handle and talking to each other.
While watching the scenes around me, I recalled a conversation with a friend of mine. He once shared with me about his reason of pursuing his masters in Urban Planning. He is especially interested in revitalizing the mass transportation systems especially in the cities. He told me that the precursor of pursuing the higher education is from his experience commuting with trains every day while he was doing his internship in Jakarta. He was inspired to do something about how the mass transportation systems in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, through his own experience as a passenger.
What I am trying to say is this: there are many people taking the very same trains every single day, but their responses to the experiences are varied. There are people like those young moms and young ladies who seem to be okay with the situation and they just accept it as it is. But there are also people like my friend who sees a situation and it inspires him to do something about it.
Isn’t it interesting? We may look at the same thing but we may see different things out of it.
Well, just another interesting thing to write about. Have a great one, everyone!
What are you thankful for today?
I realized that it is a good question to ask every day. Sometimes, we are just too busy making a living that we forget the gift of living itself, to enjoy every step of the way. I think it is good to just pause for a few minutes every day just to think about the good things we are thankful for that day. There must be bad days but it does not mean that there is nothing to learn from them. It is all about our perspective and how we respond to things in our life. So, I made that decision to take some time every day to think and write about at least one thing that I am thankful for that day.
Yesterday I went to Jakarta to meet with my friend. She is leaving for Australia next week and we thought it was great to catch up before she departs. So, off I went. I took a train to go to Jakarta because it is cheap and it doesn’t have to get stuck in traffic jam for hours like riding on a taxi or a bus. I left at 2.30ish from Bogor station. The train was not too crowded and it was great. However, it was a different scene on the way back to Bogor from Jakarta. Pardon me for not being really familiar with the scene but this is what happened. I was waiting for the train to get back to Bogor at Cikini station in Jakarta and I realized it was a Tuesday, a working day. I said to myself, “Oh, it’s pretty fine. It’s not too crowded.” I saw a couple of trains passing by and only a couple of people were standing. It’s not too bad, I thought to myself. Until I saw the Bekasi train passed by, I was like, wow that was crowded and I was thankful I did not have to take the train. Then came the train to Bogor, which was the train that I had to take to get home. I could not believe my eyes. It was full but people kept going in. I jumped to the train and tried to hold on to a handle. The train made a few more stops and more people got in to the train. I was like, seriously guys, it’s already full, there’s no way more people can come in. I could barely see the floor of the train. I put on my earphones and listened to some music, trying to enjoy the crowd. Then more people got in and I was blown away with the craziness. I asked a lady next to me, she was trying her best to reach a handle to hold on, “Is it normal? Like this?” She answered as-a-matter-of-factly, “Oh yeah, it is very normal. It is like this every day.”
It was terrible to get stuck in a train full of strangers that day. I just can’t imagine doing that for every day of my life. But for these guys, they don’t have much choice. They have to do it or they don’t get to go to work. Even right now, as I am writing this in my cozy room, the same people are still going through the same thing they went through yesterday. That experience taught me to be more thankful for what I have. Life is tough at times, but we have to choose to see the bright sides and not only focus on the dark ones. I have been complaining about how hard my job is – difficult students, coworkers, situations – but I forget how convenient my life is. I have an apartment on campus for me to stay that I don’t have to commute to go to work every day. I even have somebody clean my apartment so I can get home to a nice clean apartment. Yes, there are hard difficult times to my job. But they don’t have to blind me from the fact that there are also things to be thankful for at the same time. I mean, isn’t there supposed to be challenges to help us grow? That experience that day helped me a lot to see the good things I have but I often take for granted.
Lessons are everywhere and we are lifelong learners if we choose to be one. I learned something from my trip to Jakarta that day and I will not forget the lesson that I learned. There is always something to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today?