Three Decades of My Life


I, Reni, was born from a simple family. I am happy, though because I really enjoyed my childhood. I sold cakes and snacks around my village with my sisters, helped my grandmother find woods and dry coconut leaves for roof materials, and sold them to help my parents raise the three of us.

A lot of people say "It’s every kid’s dream to have rich parents, abundant wealth, expensive cars, and whatever we want, we get them". I'm sure most of us share such a dream. I, too, had imagined it, having rich parents, abundant wealth, expensive cars, and getting whatever I want from my parents. I thought it must be great to be born into such a family. However, it seems I was wrong. Happiness does not only come from wealth, togetherness can bring happiness too. For example, I felt happy when my father brought me to go fishing with him, singing together while waiting for fish to snatch our bait, later helping my mother selling the fish we caught. I felt happy goofing around with my sisters while selling cakes, even though we often ended up quarreling. There were so many things we did that people might feel sorry for when looking at us, but it all made us happy. Ah, I really miss those times.

I grew up to be a very active and independent kid. Since kindergarten, I have often participated in competitions such as tug of war or various scouting activities without my parents accompanying me. That underlines the fact that my parents really raised us as independent people. There were many other competitions where my parents simply said "Be careful, it’s not important whatever the result is, as long as you give it your best. The money we give to you is not much, but it should be enough to make you not drool seeing your friends buy snacks". 

The condition where my family lived in forced me to think hard, that I had to get scholarships to help ease the burden on my parents and my two sisters. Alhamdulillah, during my times at high school and college, I managed to get scholarships. I also collected all the money from competitions, participation in various activities, and working part time. I remember once I worked as a journalist at ‘Tabloid Gaia’ which ended up failing, LOL. I even had the chance to become an Duta BAWASLU. I studied hard for the sake of good grades, because that's all I could do to reduce the burden on my parents, and my sisters. Thankfully, I graduated with cum laude predicate, on time, amidst all the dramas involved. I sat on the front seat in my graduation ceremony and saw my mother's face at that time, how happy she was.

After graduating from college, I tried my luck in big city of Jakarta with all the drama in it. My first job was as a laborer at PT Carvil. I took this job for its meager income while waiting for interview calls from several companies that I had submitted countless applications. It turned out that the job at PT Carvil really took a toll on me. When I got home from work, my body felt extremely exhausted due to carrying heavy loads. I tried to enjoy it all though, because I had a family and I didn't want them to worry about me, let alone debts that I had to pay. It went on until finally I got a job at a prestigious company in Jakarta, as Customer Care at first, and as Settlement Staff later. However, I resigned after working there for a year. After resigning, I entered a new chapter of my life, a worse one. It felt like a wrong phase of everything. I felt like a failure as a human, due to unemployment, laziness, and other stupid worthless things I did. It got even more chaotic at that time.

I have never seen my mother that worried, letting her youngest daughter go overseas, to another country. I remember clearly my mother has never let her kids go with too much worry, be it participating in competitions out of town, migrating from one city to another, even climbing mountains. She was never overly worried about her kids, because the three of us were indeed raised to be independent. But it was different when I decided to migrate abroad. At that time, my mother cried so hard, she hugged me and said: "If only I had enough money for you, sweetie. I would never have allowed you to go too far". My heart was broken at that time. I couldn’t stand seeing my mother's crying. That's when I promised to take care of myself as well as possible, making sure that I would come home in good condition.

Time passes, it has been three years since that parting. I am living in Singapore and there are lots of ups and downs living in this white lion country. Living alone and away from family can certainly be both blessing and disaster. There is no one taking care of me. I am responsible for myself and I have to set priorities. It also means that I must be prepared to take care of myself, especially when it comes to finances. It involves managing money for my daily needs and keeping some for savings. If I don't want to go down the path of “besar pasak dari tiang”, then I have to be good at managing finances. I have faced many challenges here, surviving ends of months when money is depleted and sickening feeling of homesick. They all really test my resolve of unyielding and hopeful attitude ever since I set foot in this country.

There have been many phases of life that I have gone through at my thirty years of living, be it right and wrong, happy times and hard times, and sorrow that makes me upset and cry. I'm proud to live and go through them all, because those ups and downs of my life actually taught me a lot. I have to become a person who is careful in taking my steps, and be prepared in taking the next steps of my journey .