It was very early of a certain Friday morning. Several minutes before that, I had risen from my bed and it just happened that when I saw my desk clock, the time was displayed exactly in three digits of digit 3: 3.33.
I have a confession to make: I am not a morning a person. And even by now and then I was able to make it at certain acceptable hours, surely it was not that early.
And the moments transformed me in an instant. Even in a never-sleep and noisy city like Jakarta, it was so unusually serene, quiet and peaceful. I had all the time and space for myself. Sitting alone in my study, I breathed and savoured the moments slowly. Alone but yet at the same time I did not feel lonely because I knew I had the company of the universe surrounding me. It was not the first time I had almost-religious experience like that. In fact, I can count aloneness as my childhood and teenage friend.
My childhood and right into my teenage years were spent mostly in our family clove and coconut plantation and cassava farm nearby. The land is situated in the middle of jungle, almost isolated from other farms. Every day, except Sunday, as soon as I finished the school for the day, I headed for the farm, mostly on my own. It took me more than an hour to get the farm from my house. I tell you: not many kids of my age were brave enough to go alone in a place like that.
At times, I had the opportunity to stay in the farm for several days where we, almost all men, cooked food for ourselves and lived a [survivor life]. I still fondly remember the camaraderie and tribal-feeling-like that came from such sharing of meals by the fire while at the same time nocturnal animals played their orchestra for us! They made us feel as part of the surrounding and not feel isolated and with the stars above us, they offered warm company in the chilly nights. When the stay was during full moon, the stars were less visible but it was even more memorable because of the beauty of a night showered by a moonlight. It was so delightful that I did not bother with mosquitoes and other inconvenience resulting from living in such emergency. It was even better than boy scouts camps because the activities there were real for our lives.
Additionally, during the school holiday intervals I would leave the farm and work as a cook attendant in boats connecting our town to Manado, the provincial capital. During the night, when the boat was sailing and I finished with the day, I often went to deck sitting alone chilling myself with the wind of the sea.
I believe these solitary moments have made me mature before its time.
Somehow, I managed to finish my high school. To continue to the university, I moved to the city, Manado, where stargazing is a luxury. Then I graduated and got the job and the hectic lives began thereafter.
It is here that I started to miss the aloneness that once I enjoyed and that had produced me to the man I am now. I began to forget taking some time to be alone again as I used to; not in order to forget life for a while or to empty my mind but to be reminded again that every moment in my life does count.
It is good to take time, once a while, to be alone again. I know solitude is a good place to visit but I will not overstay it.
It is there to remind me that because I do not feel threatened and afraid of aloneness I could be happy no matter what because although everything leaves me, I still have me for myself. And that is enough to confront life’s obstacles in front of me as long as I never give up. Furthermore, it is there for a reminder that happiness for me is only as far as solitude because I am happy being alone.
It was transforming moments indeed and time to express my gratitude for being alive and for having so many countless blessings bestowed upon me.
I have never felt so ready and well prepared to welcome a new day.
(Jakarta, February 23, 2007 at 3.33 hours)