Monday, 21 January 2013

Revised New Years Resolutions

I wrote earlier about not having new years resolutions.

But since writing that, I have found a couple that's actually pretty good and I'd like to borrow them. No points for originality for me for the first two. I have come up with a couple more thanks to the flood.

Here goes.

The first is this one.

"This year, one of my personal resolutions is to live a slower, more thoughtful (meaningful?) life. Less travel, more adventure. Less work, more challenges."

At the back of my mind, I know that I need to slow down, if only for the mere fact that I need to hear myself think, so that I can ground myself back to reality. I know that I need to enjoy the journey and not fixate too much on the destination. I know that I need to breathe and calm down over the fact that sometimes life does not go as we planned - example, the flood in Jakarta during my holiday. Note to self: don't go to Jakarta during the rainy season. But can anyone explain to me as to why the pump was switched off during the flood? Does it not defeat the purpose of having the pumps in the first place?

The second is this one.

" 1. Do not buy items because they're a good deal. This one is so obvious, but it's also hard to stick to... The thrill of a deal makes it easy to justify random items that we never really wanted before. This also applies to items that aren't "on sale." For example, after I started having luck at thrift stores, I ended up buying more than I could wear (or alter at one time) because everything was just a few bucks. Even though the total money wasted was negligible, it's the acts of adding clutter and unnecessary consumerism that I hope to further cut down on this year."

Where do I begin with this one?

Fashion, style, clothes, shoes and handbags are a natural extension of my self-expression. This is how I enjoy myself. You know how some of you like tennis or golf or ... chess? I like dressing up. There, I said it. I enjoy developing a collection of things to wear, although I must admit a proportion of this collection is there for the sole purpose of me admiring them from time to time (read: they do not get worn).

Given the option, of course everyone wants to have a well-curated wardrobe. And just like anything else worth having, this is hard work. A well-curated wardrobe, in my version, is full items I love. The hardest thing when shopping is to walk away from a good deal, but this is a very necessary step towards a well-curated wardrobe.

The third - well, this rises from a conversation with my boyf yesterday as we were walking home from dinner: remember that first world problems are exactly that: first world problems. 

Our experience of being trapped in the flood, albeit momentarily, really put things into perspective. Living in Sydney is awesome most of the time, and also borderline boring some days (which I am totally okay with), and it also means that our lives are "sheltered". Being exposed to something unexpectedly awful, like the flood, makes us realise that our so-called first world problems are a function of our preference towards the affluence, being made possible by the mere fact that we are living in this city. (This is not to say that affluence does not exist in any other city - it probably exists in every city in this world, it is just a question of degree of obviousness.)

Despite my best effort of not whining about the weather, or the lack of clean taxis, or good fried chicken around town, they still happen. And I feel twice as bad these days whenever I think about the flood. I am not just thinking about our house and our family, I am thinking about the many many thousands of people who are without shelter. I think about the city of organised chaos that is currently submerged by water that is totally helpless and lifeless.

The fourth - this one is also flood related: Noah is around when we need him, we gotta pay it forward.

You all heard of Noah, right? The story about our Noah is here, so I won't repeat it here.

Now, in a place like Jakarta, our Noah is a God-sent. Literally. Because the subsequent horror stories that I heard about people who extorted others who need to be evacuated are too scary to be re-told in this space.

Jakarta is an unforgiving place, it is truly a place where everyone is for themselves. But at the same time, you cannot exist without a network of people in your life, in the form of family and people who work for you, and random kind strangers like Noah.

I can understand why people with boats would want to extort others, especially those who are desperate. If you are lucky, you can earn 100k rupiah in a day. In Noah's case, he earned in in less than half an hour. If you have a boat, and you can't go fishing, and you need to make money, this is your chance. A hundred thousand rupiah means so much more to you than to these people anyway - so why not.

People like Noah are rare, but they do exist. People like Noah restore my faith in humanity.

I hope when people think of me, they think that I restore their faith in humanity, although I sort of doubt this. I hope that at least I do not contribute to the erosion of their faith in humanity.

We gotta pay it forward.

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