The ‘Zombie’ and The City

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Yay, I’m so glad I have the time (and mood) to blog today. Have just cooked our dinner and watching Miss Universe 2015 while writing (probably not the best way to write, but want to see how the MC said the wrong winner – totally worth it!).

There’s one topic I’d like to write about. And it is something what I call a ‘disease’ or tendency among people in the big city, especially working people.

I have been living in Jakarta since I was born, but not until I was in my third year of college that I experience the working atmosphere. I have been to malls and recreation places in the city of course, but certainly the atmosphere is far more relaxed and cheerful than office buildings and city roads. I think it was in 2005, and I got myself an intern job or a working field experience I must have for my college study.

I was quite nervous with my intern work, given that I never ever have a working experience. I was really, really green and I didn’t know how to mingle. Over several days at the place, I’m not going to lie, it was quite dull. It wasn’t as exciting as I hoped for. Of course, I was an art college girl, so I probably got bored easily or quite idealistic with things. But it was later that I’ve been transferred to another creative department.

But I tasted the city during the working hours. I looked at passengers among my way to the office or went home. I saw their faces, I saw their tired eyes and sometimes expressionless look. It’s like they were dead, almost robotic. I wondered why and how they were like that, I can’t really see what made them that way.

I always went to the office with this bus on my way to Senayan and they always accept street musicians to play in the bus. But there was one group of musicians (two or three people) that always caught my attention. The truth is I always pay attention to the musicians but they were all pretty predictable. They always perform Indonesian hits song that usually a little bit mellow or sad, so not really my cup of tea. There was one or two who have good voice, played violin or sing great classic songs. But this group of people I mentioned was different. They all dark colored perhaps from east of Indonesia, they dress and look casual Jamaican style and they sang reggae songs.

Well, yeah so, reggae songs? What made them so stand out?

They have the vibrant energy and positivity. They smile widely and very friendly to the driver, and also the passengers. Of course the easy going reggae songs were quite a contrast to the formal and cold atmosphere in the bus. And they really made my morning. They made me forget about the formal and cold atmosphere of the city and my intern work. When they finish their singing, it was all ‘cold’ again.

And you know what, every time they finished their singing with their tambourine, I’d like to clap my hands. But sadly, I was the only one. I looked around, and there was nothing from the bus passengers. Like, nada. Silence. It’s not like they were standing, they all sit in their bus seats. I don’t know if they were all sleeping in front of me, or even listening (the seats were all facing front). Or busy with their headphones, listening to something else. But there was no response from them. It was very, very odd. And the musicians were pretty much just happy singing, so they have wide smile all the way to their exit. I just feel like they don’t have enough credit. Possibly, they are doing much better work now, I don’t know.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.53.54 PMThat just leaves me to a status written by a Keanu Reeves fanpage. I really can’t confirm if the real Keanu Reeves actually said this, because it’s internet and people can easily post anything and put images on it. But to me, it was a great writing and it reminded me of those Jamaican street musicians I saw during my intern work. Here’s the status in case you can’t see the image :

“You see these people behind me? They are rushing to work and not paying attention to anything. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget to take the time out to enjoy the beauty in life. It’s like we’re zombies. Look up and take your head phones out. Say Hi to someone you see and maybe give a hug to someone who looks like they’re hurting. Help out someone. You have to live every day like it’s your last. What people don’t know about me is that I had depression a couple of years back. I never told anyone about it. I had to fight my way out of depression. The person who was holding me back from my happiness was ME. Every day is precious so let’s treat it like that. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so live today! I hope you share this post to spread love this holiday.”

Well, seeing myself years ago, it was only natural I felt quite odd with how ‘dead’ the atmosphere in the city. I was in an art college and being normal makes you the weird one. But I also never tasted the years of working hours. Now having myself working for years in an office, I can say that some days when you went to work and go home, your brain can sometimes be ‘blank’ for a while. Of course, everyday you go home in the morning, work, take lunch or break, work again and then go home. Rest, sleep and tomorrow goes like that again for another 5-6 days. It can be quite like a robot or machine. Especially, if you have a monotonous working environment, it can be worse. It would be a bit different if you love your work, you still have passion or feeling alive inside. But a lot of working people work to pay the bills, and so little of them really enjoy their work. They have little time for themselves and to be ‘alive’.

What to do when you’re one of the ‘zombies’? I say zombies because I remembered how zombie movies like Shaun of The Dead and Warm Bodies felt like imitating people today.

I can say some of suggestions :

  • Do more outdoor activities. When you always working indoors with air conditioner, it could effect you and not feeling the natural environment. Maybe take a lunch in the park or somewhere outdoor? Or go running on the weekend to your favorite park.
  • Pray more. This is maybe a bit personal, but getting spiritual can help you diminish the city effect. I once read that it is one way to kept you less lonely living in the city.
  • Bring plant to your office space. It might give you the nurturing vibe and a more lively environment.
  • Make a killer playlist in your phone/mp3 player. Make a playlist contain songs that would energize you everytime and every morning. I did it and it usually boost my mood. You can feel less annoyed with the traffic jam or hectic environment.
  • The hardest : do a passionate work. Do the work you love. It doesn’t have to be your main job, but doing a passionate work can keep you feel energize. I probably tried it with blogging, so at work I sometimes think about what I want to write or even write it at spare time. But even more effective (or should be), is making it your main job

Have no zombie in your city? Then you are lucky. Hope this article helps.

Thoughts? Or anything on your mind?

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sunglow mama

Jakarta (Indonesian) based blogger, 33, loves beautiful things and to write about them

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