The symphony between boundary and creativity

This post is dedicated to my beloved wife. For her enduring perseverance in spite of limitations, and her unresting spirit of compassion.

Who would have guessed that we are now living far away from our home country and thousand miles apart from our family. In a country of Luxembourg, we are now living in our small abode with a little sunshine whose age is one year old. Life has been incredible, unexpected, and adventurous. We have been very grateful, and I am thankful too to be with and to learn many things from them.

For this time, I will share what I have learned (and continue to learn) from the most beautiful woman in my life, Nida.

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In the days preceding to our marriage, we were on the verge of a life that some others consider as a risky one. We were in our mid 20s, no stable job in hand, no guarantee of how our future will be. As for my wife, she had been a scholarship hunter and job hunter combo for a couple of years after her graduation. It was an exercise of the heart where she had to pump a new hope every time she sent the application, only to face rejections upon rejections. She was once a research assistant, affiliated with a research center in the faculty, and an aspiring lecturer candidate. But that didn’t last long. Soon after, she had to realize that her hope were all vanished and life was darker than ever. The research center underwent a major reorganization so that she had to quit, while her internal academic evaluation—that could pave her way to be a faculty member—turned awry.

These are the days that I know she will not forget. And I could only remind her that for every thing we miss, a better one awaits. But I wasn’t in her position, I will never know to the extent she was experiencing. What I did know was her firm determination to help her mom and her two siblings. Especially with her father had passed away, she has been assuming the role as the family’s eldest. In every good chance she could get (or lose), she always think of how she could contribute to them. Her life is a dedication for the family. For her, happiness is when you share. And with her hope fading out, she had to restart all over again.

Life does have a unique way to temper the heart. She persisted. When we were planning to get married, it was her prerequisite that she will not marry me unless I got a scholarship. Her principle has always been that we have to be independent. I was lucky. All praise is to Allah that I got one—a scholarship to Sweden. With this good news, we were getting sure that we will get married soon, and I do believe that marriage opens the door to good things. Long story short, I went to Sweden by myself at first and we got married in the following year. Good things invite good things. Another door was finally open, Nida was awarded the same scholarship as mine just before we married. We were then leaving Indonesia for Sweden. We started a new (uncertain) life, mentally and physically.

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Her life is a dedication for the family. For her, happiness is when you share. And with her hope fading out, she had to restart all over again.

From her, I learn that magic starts to happen when we are constrained by limitations. We become creative because of limitations. Creativity emerges from it. Because of the boundaries, we know how far we can go, so we are much focused on utilizing whatever is available at hand, so we dare to try something new. We dare, most of the time not because we are brave, but because we don’t have any other option. And when we don’t have any other option, it shows that we do have limitations.

… magic starts to happen when we are constrained by limitations. We become creative because of limitations. Creativity emerges from it.

So within a boundary lies a potential to be creative. And life is always filled with boundaries. Creativity and boundary. It is a package, two sides of a coin as one thing cannot exist without the presence of another. In every constrain, the solution is always there. Because with every hardship there is an ease. But most of the time, these are not immediately clear to our eyes. It needs a while to figure out. The questions for us are, then, where to look? Are we facing to the right direction? From her I learn that our constant attempt to look for the right direction is what creativity is all about. To be creative is to struggle within uncertainty, to strive within adversity, and to dance within the boundary.

P.S.
Since living abroad is expensive—even more so in Luxembourg—my wife has been the chief in looking for ways to save money. The result? Not bad at all. Since we left Indonesia, my wife can cook more than thirty different dishes, and cut my hair in style. At least when you live abroad, how much the cost to eat out and get a haircut are good indicators of how expensive it is to live in that country.