A small butterfly was slowly making its way to somewhere, as gently as any butterfly would with its fragile wings. For once in a very long time, at that very moment, I felt something that I haven’t had the luxury of experiencing.
I wondered, when was the last time I saw a butterfly?
The answer was shocking. I could not remember it and I know that that was the first butterfly I see with my own eyes for this year.
Upon that cognizance, I frowned and lamented the path I’ve taken.
It does seem that I have veered off course from that one path I dreamed of long ago. That feeling of fulfillment of just taking a weekly walk through that arboretum in Ann Arbor in summer days, watching the swans gracefully swimming by, the dogs running happily and couples haplessly trying to slow time so that they could be together a little longer.
A little longer. Just a little longer. That was how I felt when I finally understood that I had to leave Ann Arbor, my home, for Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur was a home so foreign at that time. I was not quite sure I could fit in. I still struggle till today though I’ve confidently mastered the spaghetti-like unplanned roads paved long ago. While I adapted, I found myself unconsciously gradually being sucked into a city life.
Of concrete jungle, steel lions, uncultured individuals who jump queue, people that speak too loudly over the phone…
The list goes on and on.
The good things in life were missing in that list.
I did try, going out once in a while but I am bad at making time for myself. First, it was a corporate life but I hated it. It was as if work owned me.
Fine, I get to know a couple of CEOs and other seemingly important people. I did learn a couple of things or two and I do think it enriched me as a person. But corporate life is just not my place. I do not relish it as much as I appreciate sitting on a bench amid the trees, just knowing that I breathe that sweet Huron air.
That was what I did almost every Friday when I was in school. And that is something I’ve been robbed of once I found myself in the awful labor market.
And then it was the political scene and again I got to meet interesting people. My involvement however was nothing serious and on the fringe. Still, somehow, it was emotionally consuming.
And I write and later, finding myself writing for a popular media regularly. That regular slot is taking my time for myself away from me, from that pool of reserve of whatever time I have left. Worse, I find myself writing about economics and politics, leaving behind others things that are more beautiful, things that demand more eloquence. Things that make writing fulfilling.
But from the realm of economics and politics, I do get some interesting offers from time to time. And I’ve met with a couple of ministers, MPs and assemblymen on both sides of the aisle.
I admit, I do like the attention. It makes me feel special.
Yet again, it is not my place. It is so fake; many people are so pretentious it seems. I feel that I am so pretentious in those places too.
I hate it when people who recognize me come up to me and begin to speak about politics. They begin to speak about their views and expecting me to listen. They wanted to listen to my views. I hate it when I feel I am obliged to speak.
With all due respect, I don’t care and I just, really, want to be alone and sometimes with friends. I mean, I do care for developments in the society and all but there are times when I would just like to observe while being incognito. I just want to listen and maybe catch up with some people – nothing deep, just perhaps holding shallow conversation – and then leave.
Although I am deeply ideological, I’m not that eager to speak about ideology at times when I just want to walk around and rather talk about all that stuff that make life vain. Something is wrong when my conversations keep having names such as Hayek, Keynes, Ricardo, Marshall, Malthus, Marx, Lenin, Reagan, Smith, Walras, etc. I want my conservations to be filled with name of friends, not of such dead individuals, however important they are or were. Yet, I’m sucked in.
That butterfly reminded me of everything that is wrong with me.
There I was in a park, walking with a friend that I meet only rarely.
She drew my attention from the butterfly to her. She spoke with idealism that I had long decided to keep in my diary ago. She spoke of issues that I held so dearly long ago. She spoke of mother nature with passion that I admire.
Unlike me, she is pursuing that path and is going all around the world doing what he holds dearly.
She tried to explain about Costa Rica to me. How beautiful it was. How serene it was. How she likes it so much.
She gets to be amid nature. Amid the greens, of cool water, of mosses, of leeches, of elephants, of hills and mountains, and that valley of life. She’s free.
I strive for freedom but she has that freedom. And for that, I am envious of her.