I remember at about 4 or 5 years old, a boy would repeat himself “mau jadi pilot” whenever someone asked him the world’s most overrated question for children.
My uncle who was a farmer in Sumbawa would take me to our farm just 10m off the runway of the only airport there. In that 40-something degree, we sat and saw the first iron bird I’d seen flying above me and ready to make a landing. It passed me by fast I held on to my uncle’s arms against the wind so strong I even thought I could fly.
I could play that moment over and over in my head. An astonished boy surviving the idea that something could actually fly (no I was not introduced to Newton’s theory yet). Ever since, I remember collecting all used papers at home and started making those paper planes and took one with me and flew it on my way back home from kindergarten, while attempting the ‘whir’ sounds.
Flying wasn’t really a mode of transport a working class family could afford back then let alone it was 2 years after the crisis. So my grandpa and grandma took me and my sister to Java for the first time on a bus. In the course of that 30-hour ride, I slept on their lap sometimes waking up beautiful stars, other times at sea on a big ferry carrying our big buses and trucks. That time I knew I was in love with this big floating thing on the free ocean. Ever since, all I’d ever done was trying to recreate the ferry out of boxes. I was just busy imagining and playing. Suddenly I stopped telling people I wanted to become a pilot.
A few years forward, with the rise of local superhero movies like Saras and Panji Milenium, I was a new boy wanting to become the Superman (I had 5 shirts that had wings). This age I was at, my aunt who raised me for some years would always shake me in bed very early and asked “there’s a big mess at the market! are you gonna help save the world today?!” and there I was jumping out of bed excited to be a hero with my wing shirt already put on. My aunt made me feel extremely welcome with whoever it was I aspired to be, even at that age.
From my grandpa to great women, each took turn to welcome all of my dreams, whatever, and however strange they might be.
And then schooling happened. I learned that I wanted to become an entrepreneur so I could make a lot of money and helped build a theme park for the big family I was a part of and friends I cared about.
And then it was a singer. Everywhere I went, my father and everyone would ask me to sing parts of whatever adult songs that were trending that time. I was so certain I wanted to become a professional singer I even pursued this path quite seriously until I was about 15. A lot happened. My life fluctuated dramatically.
And I went to see some parts of the world and decided I wanted to become a lawyer. Or an environmental engineer. At one point it was a full-time activist. A smart tech startup founder (how all this computer science trap began). Sometimes it is a spy I wanted to become and get rid of the already established identity. But here comes the big but we’ve heard a million times: you can be anything in this world, but not everything, for life is damn short. But I say fuck it, for life is short, make sure you do everything in your power to know yourself so damn well and try everything that scares you that you don’t ever wish to have lived this life differently tomorrow.
At 25 where most people think they know what they’ve always wanted, or a clearer idea of who they are, I’m still busy reinventing and experimenting with myself. For the most part, I believe I know myself more than what a people reader could tell me. I’m just a work-in-progress that is far from finished. Even for people whom we’ve met and known who tell you they’ve found their passion a lifetime ago might still switch careers on the last minute, hop on that last train when nobody’s watching, move oceans away and work on a new identity tomorrow, and god knows what. Because it’s another world’s greatest BS when someone walks on earth and acts as if they had everything figured out.
The world is a small and big place. For the hungry ones, it’s a thick-ass book to explore and understand. The only constant is change am I ryte?
Keep fucking reinventing.