Living alone is expensive. Especially in a big, modern super-fast moving city like Jakarta. Especially if you are an almost 28-year-old woman with medium income, with, apparently, minimum chance of improvement in career prospect.
Since college ended, five years ago, I always believed that I would be this kind of independent feminist individual with no reliability to any other individual, especially to a life partner. Not that I hate men. I always wanted to have regular sexual activities, perhaps even intimate regular partner(s), as long as I don’t get attached. Having to be responsible and to be committed to a relationship is the last thing I needed—that would be an extra work for me. Yes, the only work I chose to focus on was my career; all the jobs I wished to experience right after graduating. Money and position, those would bring me anywhere in the world.
Long story short, this is the fifth year I’ve been in the only full-time job I’ve ever had. It did not stop there. This is also the fifth year I’ve been in a serious, committed relationship with a guy. He already knew this too, how this wasn’t meant to be serious, at least not from my side.
But life just went on like that. A boyfriend, no progressing career path, therefore, no dreams come true. A woman almost in her 30s, living away from parents, struggling with affording fancy stuff and holidays. Not that I am not grateful with the things I currently have—I am completely happy having a partner like mine and the decent job I have. It’s just not what I thought how my life would be.
I had been living in the same kost for more than four years, which service and condition just getting worse time to time. I couldn’t pay more than what I had spent for a better housing in the center of Jakarta. Fyi, ever since I was in college, another goal I had was to have a medium to high level housing in this city. A place I could call my own.
Here comes the twist. Last year, I decided to rely on my boyfriend. He offered to buy us an apartment unit. He is not that rich too, that I chipped in during the process of buying and renovating. In few years, he’s going to pay me my money back, because that unit will be under his name only. Note: We’re not married by the time we bought it and we won’t be anytime soon. And since I spared my money for it, it left me even poorer, that the hope of having my own place, under my name, must fade.
This was not sad at all, in fact, because this was my decision. I am free to make my own decision, which makes me an independent woman in a way. But am I still a feminist?
I’m just saying. To choose to be an independent feminist requires money. It is a huge responsibility, to take care of yourself all by yourself. Not everybody could afford being one feminist.
I came to realization that, no matter how hard I resist, I cannot fight life. Simply, my income cannot fight the luxuriousness of the heart of Jakarta, where I want to live permanently. What I can do, is to change my attitude, because however, the main goal here is, to be happy. And I am happy now, though honestly, it wasn’t always this easy. To keep up with my own thoughts, wants, hopes, dreams. To accept that I cannot have everything I want. To be this happy.
I am not saying that we cannot fight for what we want. But maybe, in between our journey, we will somehow stuck in choices. Maybe we will face life deciding options, which could be nothing at all than what we imagined. But maybe, and this is my personal view and experience, being happy and relaxed is sometimes more important than being too ambitious and tired.
I didn’t say that I stop here, though. I still bring the hopes with me. With the help of my partner, I don’t have to worry about having to live in an improper kost situation. By staying in his apartment unit, I can better focus on my career, finding new experiences and maybe meet future working partners (after pandemic..). Who knows that perhaps someday, I would be able to deposit for a housing, or even build my own animal shelter, which is also another dream I’ve had.