Recently I often use public transportation. Not really because I like it, but because our motor cycle is not always reliable and we don’t have anything else. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind so much how to move around as there is a lot of traffic in the city so whatever transportation you use doesn’t make that much difference in how much time it takes to get somewhere. But from my basic idea about my standard of living I should use a car or at least use a taxi. And not Jeepney and habal habal as is the common form of public transport in the city where I live.
Today’s trip was a bit special though, as I was visiting a friend who lives on the other side of the city, quite far from the city center and I had never used a Jeepney to get there before. But somehow that was also a challenge and kind of fun as it reminded me of doing new things and doing things on holidays, like exploring new routes. Which basically doesn’t make any sense, I mean being excited about it, as I know how the system works and Jeepneys and buses go everywhere, so objectively it’s not a big deal, not really an issue. It’s like taking a metro ride or a train ride or a bus ride to another station in your own city in more western oriented countries or big other cities.
But still, I am a foreigner and still feel a bit of a foreigner living in a holiday type country, so somehow these things are still exciting and are somehow still related to exotic holidays. And that’s what I often forget. That no matter my current circumstances I still live in a house that 99.9% of all people in the world can only dream of. A house with a view that is so special for anyone ‘foreign’ to Asia or anyone liking beautiful views over a bay or something. So yes, a real ‘holiday’ view for anyone foreign to Asian countries, foreign to tropical countries that not so many people will ever experience, especially from Europe, the United States, Canada or similar regions.
So yes, I have that every day, that beautiful view from that beautiful dream house.
And so today, lately, I also try to experience that holiday type feeling when I just ‘commute’, just take a Jeepney to the city. And it kind of works, as I indeed realize that most people only can experience this ‘thing’ in holidays, while I have it every day.
But today there was more. As indicated, it was quite a trip and I didn’t know exactly what Jeepney to take and what route would be the easiest or fastest way back. So on the way back I just hopped on the first one that went towards the city, in the direction I wanted to go. And I ended up in Carmen being pointed to a Jeepney towards Cogon, an area in the direction back home. As I had stayed a bit longer with my friend than I intended it was quite late and I was quite tired, also from the travel towards Cogon. Anyhow, in the end I just ended up in a Jeepney on the very well known route back home.
And suddenly it hit me, while I was watching the other passengers, probably on the way home after a long and hard day’s work. Suddenly it hit me how privileged I have been in my life, how excited my life has been. As most of these people, and not only these people, but most people in the world, would normally just live an ordinary life, stay in the same city or country going to school, finding a job, having a relationship and marry, or not; having children, or not. Be happy or unhappy. Have a good life or not. But mostly have just an ordinary life, nothing extraordinary.
And looking back at my life it has been an exciting life. More exciting than most people can ever imagine, more exciting and varied than virtually anybody could even imagine, even dream of. And it was suddenly on this fifteen minute Jeepney ride home that I realized how rich a life I have lived. And I am still alive and so much more can come.
I realized that I grew up in a pretty well off family. Not really rich, but something like upper middle class. So yes, that was a pretty good life, including visits to family and friends, also far away. To cities all over the country where I lived. And later holidays to various other countries. So yes, even at a pretty young age I think I have seen much more of the world than most people would ever see.
And yes, there were the fights between my parents. And it was not fun. But somehow it seems to have made me who I am. And made me see what I don’t want.
And there was the loneliness, the ‘being different’, the being gay. And it was terrible when I was in it, so terrible that there was a period where I didn’t want to live anymore, couldn’t live anymore. And somehow that period always stayed with me. And I didn’t like it. But today, somewhere on this Jeepney ride home, I saw that the downs in life are pretty much the same as the ups. That it’s about living life, experiencing life.
But next to the loneliness I mostly think of, I mostly remember, there were also the good things, the bicycle holidays to France, how many people do that. And later having my own big bike in my early twenties. And I enjoyed it, loved it, this feeling of freedom and power you have on a big bike. Still, the best feeling I can ever imagine. So yes, how many people have had that, a big bike in their early twenties.
And yes, I can go on and on and on right now, with all the good things I experienced. The holidays I spent all over the world, visiting all continents before I was forty. The trip to Japan when I was a student. My moving to Asia, living in a different country, living in a different culture, experiencing a different culture.
And yes, recently I encountered poverty, real poverty, although somehow it’s not really real as I still somehow have access to money, something many people, even many people I know, don’t have. And somehow I still have capital in the form of part ownership in our house. I have pension rights. I will probably still inherit some capital when my mam won’t be there anymore. So yes, I am experiencing the fear of having no income, having no money to eat. But still, somehow from a kind of safe position, not from a position having really nothing. And don’t get me wrong, the fear is real and what I’m experiencing the last few months, weeks is no fun, believe me. But it’s a rich experience, it’s a new experience, and therefor it’s an exciting experience.
And that’s what hit me today in this simple Jeepney ride home in between the commuters. That my life has been really exciting and that the downs are as exciting as the ups. And that there is still more to come. And that I’m able to share this feeling, this experience.