#Forever25

One day before my 27th birthday

Yesterday I turned 27, two years passed my favorite age and hopefully still far from death.

For me in my own world, my age has stopped counting since two years ago. I want to believe and feel–and look–like I’m forever 25 even though I haven’t been bitten (nor kissed) by a vampire.

25 for me was the best age. People said life begins at 30 or 40, I haven’t been both, for me that couldnt be true unless you’re George Clooney, who still looked like 27 in his 40s. Everybody has different favorite age, for me it’s 25 because during teenage years, even though we have the fitness vitality, we’re still emotionally unstable compared to the mid 20s.

My wake-up call in life occurred at 25, where I totally stop being socially dependent on friends or guys and have become more money-wise compared to when I first started making money. Every year, I always try to do new things in life and improve my self, I am happy that none of my 20s so far has been boring, there’s always new things that I did. But my 25 is special for me. I’ve tried many things at 25 and was not even afraid to fail as for me it’s better to fail at young age than feeling dissatisfied in old age. Also, because I was (and still am) not married yet, I had total freedom and financial asset to try and do things I wanted in order to really discover who I am and what I really want in life, I didn’t need to care nor to share, only when I wanted to (luckily, my parents and family don’t need me to help to support them). At my 25, I’ve stopped caring about others’ opinions towards me and stopped following trends. I’ve become more immune to people’s disagreements as I am the one who’s gonna live my life anyway.

By the way, I found this chart on ages we peak at everything throughout life. According to this chart, I’ve passed the peak age for female attractiveness. This hurts, haha, but hopefully it doesn’t apply to me like it doesnt apply to Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne, seriously those women still look like the first time they appeared in show business!

And after this age, I will be supposedly in the best age for running a marathon! Haha, really? TV series marathon I think… Anyway, I’m still so excited about turning 27, because of my turning-point in my 25, 27 doesn’t feel old at all. Especially because many people still ask whether I am still in college if they first meet me. Lol! I don’t know whether I really look younger or they were just being nice. But if I do, maybe that’s because I keep believing and feeling that I’m 25. Like it or not, I’m forever 25!

25 y.o me

The Most Interesting People

Don’t we all want to be interesting or at least to look interesting?

Well, the definition of ‘interesting’ is subjective. Beauty is in the eyes of the be(er)holder for sure. Some may call other people ‘interesting’ if only either they’re famous, successful, rich, or good looking. For me, what can keep me amazed with a person–who doesn’t need to be famous, could be my friend, or people I just met–is when I can see how much she/ he believes in what she/ he does.

Because, for me personally, if success or wealth is what makes people fascinating, well there are a lot of successful, wealthy people, but still some of them look boring to me. I also don’t think it’s about the kind of job one’s having. Two people can have the same job but one may look more fascinating than the other. Or in other case, a person can have the most boring job, but really, they’ve touched me in some ways.

I see the similarity that these people have, from artists, accountants, writers, pilots, teachers, even a supermarket customer service. They all believe in what the do, a musician like John Lennon who believed in what he sang and created. You can compare the sparks in his eyes when he sang or talked about his music to any other singers who sing just to sing because that’s what they have to do to be famous, who only sing what other people wrote for them. Compare writers who write because and what they believe than writers who write just to make money. Lecturers who teach because they love teaching than lecturers who are doing their job only to support their lives. These fascinating people put their souls into their works, and it shows, then touches others.

I think that’s what interests me most about other people. I love knowing people but I get bored easily if I see he/ she has no interests/ obsessions/ passions in anything. I was amazed with my colleagues in my previous job when I listened to them discussing about types of frogs for one hour. Seriously, I’ve never met people who could talk that long only about frogs and who cares about frogs that much. The topic was not my taste of course but I was amazed that I just kept listening to them. I want to be able to talk like that about something. If I cant talk that passionately about my job, then maybe what I am doing is not the right thing. If I cant talk about what I am doing that long and passionately, means my works won’t be good. Because in the end, the works won’t lie about the artist.

From Break-ups to Break-ups

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I’ve experienced several break-ups so far, still can be counted with one hand but no one knows whether my number will increase or close for the last. Break-up sucks no matter if we had been waiting for it before it happened, still it leaves us a feeling of lost, failure, and ugliness of reality; how come someone that used to be so close, that I always talked to everyday, someone that I (thought I) knew like the back of my hand now becomes so strange and we avoid each other.

I started dating a bit late, not only because I was a late bloomer and awkward geek (maybe I still am), but also because I thought I could plan when and whom I would marry. I thought someone who I dated first would be my husband, I thought I’d played safe to wait until certain age, not like my friends who started dating since middle school. After my first relationship failure, I really didn’t want to have more break-ups, but I still got some. I hated those failures, looking at my friends who already tied the knots, meanwhile I was (or am) still wondering where I would land. It took several break-ups and years until I can see them not as failures, but blessings in disguise. I am grateful for those break-ups, even if they’re painful and ugly and cost three boxes of tissue papers for each, sometimes not only tissue but also unnecessary expensive getaways and impulsive spendings. I am thankful I am not married yet, I am not saying this to make other people who are already married feel bad, things happen differently for us, I am happy if you’re happy, but this what I learned FOR ME. Without those failed relationships, I wouldn’t have been in this state of mind and able to see things as clearly as I am now. Some may have found it early, some are just like me who are in the latter group.

I learned many things from the failures about my self and life. Being in a relationship is not merely learning about other people, it’s mostly about learning our selves, what we lack, what we need to work on, finding out what we really want and need in life and another person, how strong and decisive we could/ should be and many more.

  1. You complete yourself

The most valuable thing I’ve learned after several break-ups and accumulated seven years of failed relationship is that setting marriage as the only main goal in life is the most dangerous and stupid thing a girl can do, she is slowly killing her self. She trades herself for something uncertain. For several years and in some relationships, my decisions were based on the relationship goals I was in. Different partner, different path. I quit things I was enjoying because they could hamper our relationship goals, I started things I was not really sure for the man I was with. I became someone I was not just to show them I was the perfect obedient wife candidate as they said they wanted to have. And when the relationship ended, what did I get? What was I left with? I was always left with NOTHING to hold on nor to be proud of. I wanted to be mad at the guys, but more I was mad with my self, why did I let other people make decisions for me? Why did I base my decisions about my future on other people’s assessments? And why didn’t I directly realize? Why did it take some failures and up to seven years for me to eventually learn??

Only I can give my dreams to me. Being dependent on others to realize your dreams is the best way to ruin your life. You can’t love other people if you can’t love your self first. You cant find other person if you cant find your self. You will never be ready to understand other people if you haven’t understood yourself.

To be honest, I really dislike hearing girls who only want to get married, have kids, and don’t have other goals in life. But sadly I used to be one of them. If one of my past relationships had succeeded to marriage, and I had been married before I really understood why I wanted to get married and what a marriage is, I would have been lost for a longer time without really knowing who I really was and being dependent on other people to give me happiness and I’m sure I wouldn’t have been happy. Those were forced happiness. The best scenario was to have kids, raise them, but then when they’re old enough for school, I would have been still back to the feeling of emptiness in my soul, because I hadn’t finished with my self-discovery. What if he cheated and left me after that? What if he died all of a sudden? Then I would have been left with nothing again beside the stereotypes of widowed woman in this somewhat cruelly judgemental country. I believe that if one cant be happy with his/ her self, he/she cant find happiness in that relationship either.

I want to be able to stand on my own feet. When I get married, I don’t want to only be proud of partner’s success, I want to be proud of my self too. Seriously, people should stop telling young girls to just find a successful man to marry and spend his money. Start teaching girls to be successful on herself and shop with her own money.

  1. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.

Break-ups taught me that no matter how it seemed to be right in the beginning, how much we believed the person would be our soul mate, if it’s not meant to be, it’s still not going to happen no matter how hard you tried to make it work. Most of the times, we don’t end up with the person we thought was our soulmate, and that’s okay.

  1. You’re not irreplaceable, he is either

The ugly reality about break-up doesn’t end when you or he said to break up. It’s what happens after the break-up that’s slowly hurting you to the bones. You will have to accept the fact that somebody else is gonna take your place, got his attention that you used to have, smell his perfume that you used to know, live your broken dreams of being together with him, and it’s not your hair anymore that he’s gonna play with during conversation. His phone lock screen will be filled with other woman’s photo. You cannot expect him to be mourning all the time while you yourself are trying to move on. You’ll start over with someone new (only if you give yourself the chance) as well. You’re going to replace his place too with someone else. In the end it’s just life, people move on.

  1. Being single is better than being in a miserable relationship

The pictures of being alone and lonely sometimes scare us. We’re always haunted by thoughts that we could not find somebody else that would love us more than him/ her. Hence, we tend to hold things or person for too long when we’re supposed to let them go. Actually we can only see if the box is not fit only after we get out of the box.

 

Believing in Talent is a Trap

I used to believe in talent, now I’ve stopped. Believing that we’re born better (in some specific fields) than others is as dangerous as believing that we’re less gifted than others.

It is very human that we like to hear only what we want to hear and what we want to hear is that we’re special and other people are ordinary. One might deny it in words, but believes it in hearts.

In my childhood, I was always compared to my brother’s academic achievements, especially in math. I was actually doing fine, I always got good scores and got into top schools and, but my brother always got the best. He represented the province in national championship in elementary school. Hence I believed that I was less gifted in academics. I wanted to move to different school so that I didn’t have to keep up with teachers’ expectation.

As my revenge, I believed I was more gifted than him in other fields. Besides, actually among my classmates, I did well. I felt that I got lucky many times because I rarely studied but always passed the exams safely and sometimes better than others. It started a coincidence then I kept it as a habit. I didn’t like to work hard, I would be as lazy and laid-back as possible just to see how I could still nail it smoothly without even trying, I was proud of it. I teased my friends who were trying to study. I laughed at my friends who were working hard for their goals. I was not alone. I noticed some of the top students in schools had this similar syndrome; taking everything for granted.

But now at this age, in any fields, it’s not my friends whom I thought were talented that are successful today, it’s they who didn’t stop doing and working hard are. They didn’t start with a mile, they started with small steps. Who’d known that their small steps have almost reached the top? But people who I envy most are people who are living my dream; working in creative fields, growing their names in it. I felt betrayed. Not by other people, but by myself.

I felt like, “It’s supposed to happen to me, not to them! How could this happen? What did I miss?”

And you know what I missed?? I missed thousands of days and nights of practice, learning and working on making it to reality. Days and nights which were supposed to use to focus on things I called passion, I wasted for distractions, I wasted on following what other people told me my life should be. I thought that my dreams would still be handed to me without me chasing it. But the world doesn’t work that way.

I looked at my friend who has published some books. Others represented the country in theater. A colleague that used to be ‘invisible’ now can produce wedding gowns.

I won’t be able to be a fashion designer like I’ve always wanted to be unless I start learning how to sew and fashion design. It can’t happen overnight.

Far too often, we believe that our abilities are innate. In other case, we give up many opportunities just because we believe we don’t have the talent for it. “I wasn’t born with the gift of drawing.” Or “I’m not a born leader. Or “I can’t be a writer, I can’t write.”

Without we realize, it’s the ‘myth’ that holds us back, not our ability. People think that the skills in art are based on talent, if you’re not born an artist, you cant be an artist. If that is true, then why drawing techniques and methods exist? Why Mariah Carey still keeps her singing practice until now?

Talent is overrated. Artists are made, not born.

A Letter to Little Me—30-Day-Writing Challenge#2

Hi Little Cita,

I miss being you. So young and free, living without burdens. No worries about the future. I miss wanting to grow bigger and older like you do, now, every birthday and new year makes me sweat.

I really like you, your cool nature, boyish style, bravery, straightforwardness, and you are very practical. I envy you because you could be happy by just blowing bubbles or playing hide-and-seek with your friends. I also admire the fact that you’re a late bloomer.

When I miss being you, I read your diaries until your teenage years. They never get old.

I remember when you always tried to find where the rainbow ends, then you lost track of the way home. At that time, GPS was not invented yet. Your mom was very mad. But the next days, you repeated the same thing. Because you wanted to shower with the rainbow lights and slide on the curve like what you saw in cartoon movies.

I remember you entertained bus passengers on the way from Lampung to Padang by mimicking all TV commercials that you easily memorized at 4 years old.

I remember you always make recaps of TV series episodes that were booming at that time and shared it the next morning to your classmates. Nobody asked you to do that, you just loved doing that.

Then you skipped school to go to library or cyber cafes. At that time, people in your country didn’t even know what internet was. You skipped classes selectively because you didn’t like the subjects and you thought internet gives you more knowledge than a 1,5 hours boring lesson.

I remember that since elementary school until college, you always fell asleep during muhasabah (renungan suci) while your friends and every one in the room were crying out loud.

And you wore men’s hair wax on your hair!

You PAID your brother to do your math chores but then afraid if you would get the highest score, so you erased some of the answers.

You even prayed wearing man’s cap instead of woman’s mukena.

When you’re 4, people know you as the girl who asks shocking questions. But two years after that and onwards, they tell you to stop.

There will be times when you believe all the negativity people throw at you on your intelligence, look, achievement, ways of life, points of views. Comparing you with your brother and other girls. You will meet a lot of people that kill your dreams and what you believe, even since the age of 6 years old.

They say you’re not as smart as your brother and not as gentle as how girls should be. They say your tongue is too sharp for a girl. They say you’re not beautiful and they call you a rebel. They tell you how to feel, behave and what to dream. For dozens of years, this will haunt you until finally you get tired of being scared and dictated.

I wish I were there when they made you feel low and insecure. I wish I had told you earlier so that you didn’t need to undertake this insecurity and hold grudges for so long.

Don’t worry that much about math, you’ll get high scores on it from elementary school to high school. By cheating of course. I remember how you hate math so much that you plan to destroy math from the world. At my age, you’ll forgive math because there are so many other things to destroy; ignorance, injustice, stupid stereotypes, and pop culture rubbish.

Don’t complain about the color of your skin, you’ll be proud of it.

Don’t hate your body, you will look good even in yoga pants.

Don’t worry about losing friends, selection is important. In your teenage, when you enter a room of people, you look around and wonder if they like you. At my age, I look around and wonder if I like them.

It’s ok if you cant and don’t want to fit in. The only person you should not lie to is your self.

You will be sad witnessing people come and go in your life, even those who were so close to you. But that’s the only way you learn about life.

You will be betrayed so many times, but that doesn’t make you innocent. You will betray people too. That’s how you learn that everyone deserves a second chance.

Looking at you know, I realized no matter how much I missed being you, I would never be able to do that again. What I can is to learn from you. To have that passion and chill back. There were years I forgot how to do that. I didn’t feel happy.

But I will make us proud. Promise.

Cheers,

The Adult You

This is for You

**This is actually an old writing from my R.I.P blog that I wrote in the end of 2016. I repost this in favor of someone who said that he often visited my old blog to read this post whenever he felt down. You, you know who you are, this is for you. 🙂

This writing is for you who are in your mid 20’s—and older—but still feel discontent about your life, always feel that you haven’t achieved anything to be proud of.

This is for you who sometimes doubt about chasing your passion but too reluctant to do something that you hate doing.

This is for you who think that life is not as optimistic as you thought it was when you’re seven. You had never thought that you would have landed in your current situation.

This is for you who have decided to leave your comfort zone and now sometimes question whether it was the right decision.

This is for you who have failed and been rejected many times that you just want to give up.

This is for you who feel that every day is just another new low, no matter how hard you try to make things work.

This is for you who think that you could’ve been more than your friends with all your talents and skills, but at the present you don’t. And that hits your self-confidence.

This is for you who feel that anyone lives a much better life than you, including the welcome-girl/boy at the restaurant.

This is for you who feel like the whole universe conspire against you.

This is for you who hold a degree yet believe it’s a mistake.

This is for you who keep comparing yourself with others.

This is for you who feel like your parents and family think of you as directionless. And you sometimes feel that they could be right.

This is for you who feel bothered to tell people about yourself.

This is for you who keep telling people, “I’m okay”, when you’re not because you believe you can’t show people that you’re weak.

You, whoever and wherever you are, you’re not alone.

You are in a transition phase, okay? A transition to somewhere better and greater. This is just a phase. It’s temporary, no matter how long it will be, it’s temporary. It doesn’t define you and your future. Many people have been through this, if you’re never in this situation, it means you have no dreams. The poorest man is not without a cent, but without a dream.

But, only believing that it’s temporary is not enough, YOU have to make it temporary. No change will ever happen if you do not make it happen, if you’re just planning without execution, if you’re just laying on your bed all day, if you’re just hoping for a miracle (because it doesn’t exist!), if you’re just doing things unrelated to your dreams, if you let other things distract you from the big picture, if you just keep your eyes glued on social medias of the lives other people are trying to portray. Because it’s not only what you believe, it’s what you do.

Do not underestimate any little daily goals because they contribute to the big goals. Don’t underestimate yourself, you’ve been brave enough to leave what you believe you don’t want to see yourself in the future. No matter how hard it is now, it will still be better than doing something you don’t like. Youth is not forever, better spend it on something you like to remember.

This is not a matter of age, number or degree. No degree is better than others. You may have a degree in medicine but still fell discontent. Anyone can be in this situation. Because it’s a matter of personal dreams trapped in a phase.

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

You don’t need to burden yourself with the thoughts of being successful at such young age. It doesn’t matter if you can’t be a young college-dropped-out billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg. It doesn’t matter if you can’t publish any novels before 20 like Jane Austen. You are you, you are meant to be you. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Breathe, live, love, laugh, and believe, “This is just a phase. I was born to be adorable.”

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(For Some People) Life Begins at 26

Hello Blog World! This is my first post on this new blog. Before, I had one on Blogspot that I started in 2009, but I decided to shut it down for good for some reasons:

  1. Some of the early posts were about fashion with useless, embarrassing, shallow narration. Yeah, I’m not proud of my past especially with the hashtags I used at that time.
  2. It’s too pink, both the layout and content. Not the charismatic, elegant pink, it’s Barbie pink, and I’m not a fan of Barbie. I’m Patrick’s fan.
  3. For some of you that already know me in person or have been friends with me on socmeds, you might notice an obvious difference on my look that I had changed publicly in 2015 and I don’t wanna be related to that person anymore. I want to start fresh. For those who don’t know, here’s the clue, I used to be the Pink Power Ranger. Is it a clue?

I’m now 26 y.o. The age where I understand what Britney Spears means by “not a girl, not yet a woman”. Even though I’m not a fan. I’m Patrick’s loyal fan. Just Patrick.

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In Indonesia, people get married at young age, some of my friends are already Mrs. Somebody with kids, some are already ex-Mrs, and the rest are settling down with their career that seemingly they will do for a long time or forever.

They seemed settled down and satisfied. From the outside.

In the west, people say that life begins at 30 or 40, because at that age you’re (hopefully) financially stable and have the confidence that makes you shine. You’re in control of your self and life, you have the bargaining power. In Indonesia, things go a bit different; life starts whenever you’re married. Meaning that my friends who are already married are supposedly in one of the happiest states in life.

Anyway, I have never been 30 or married yet, so I don’t know if it’s true. But I know that mine starts at 26. Why? Because renaissance always comes after a crisis. I’ve been through that so-called a quarter-century crisis when I looked around and everyone seems to be doing so much while I am still here wandering around with my flat shoes looking for what was missing but I didn’t know what that was.

When you’re a student, you have structures and conventions to support you. It sounds like you have a life or identity. Then, you have to make grown-up choices after graduation. I got a job right after I graduated. While many people were struggling to get jobs, I booked one easily, so I thought I should enjoy it until other socially-constructed goal is achieved; marriage. The downside of getting a job directly after graduation is that you don’t have time to think whether it’s what you really wanna do. In 25 years of my life, I always had been occupied or distracted by other things that couldn’t make me feel content. Lucky that I haven’t been married yet, otherwise I could’ve been distracted for a longer time.

Actually, this self-discovery process could’ve been shorter if only I have mentors in my environment when I was teenager. But my parents are so simple minded, I can never discuss with them about life, study or passion, I didn’t have anyone directing me the right way, hence I started looking for mentors from outside my family.

At my 25, I stopped working the job after three years, I joined many communities and took various activities; arts, yoga, gym, dance, knitting, education, charity, even a singing course. I ran a culinary business, but short lived. Because the field was not what I am passionate about. Lessons learned: Business is not only about opportunity, it has to be about passion. If you do it without passion, you’ll lose opportunity. But passion pushes hardwork that can create opportunities.

I did this because I wanna see how people who live their passions are, what makes them different, succeed or fail. From what I observed, people who work hard for their passions is more fulfilled emotionally—and most are financially superior—than, let’s say, the modern slaves after 20 years of working. I compared my theater club director, who is an Indonesian renowned playwright, to the lives of my parents. My parents retired after 35 years of dedication, what did the companies do to them after that? Nothing. They’re forgotten and replaced. Meanwhile, on my theater club’s 20th anniversary, I quietly looked at how my director enjoyed his hardwork and dedication to arts and his ideology. Pride, passion, price, and prestige altogether sparked in his eyes. I want to be like that, I want to grow old like that. I don’t want to be like my parents.

Now, when I see other people, I see them differently. I used to see them for what and who they are at the moment, what they have and do. Now, it’s different, I picture them in 30 years later. What we do today is what is going to save and define us in the old age. When I turned on the TV and watched typical slapstick comedians, I felt pity for them.

I doubted before whether 26 is already too late to start. But hey, I said the same thing when I was 22. I said 22 was too late to think about passion, you should just try to accept the flow. Now, I wish I were 22 when I figured this out. But toast can’t never be bread again. The best I can do is not to make the same regret when I am 28.

I have to start from zero, but there’s no instant success that’s long lasting. It’s hard that I have to give up some other things temporarily. It’s the hardest. But give me two years, you’ll see the difference. I have never been as certain about my self as I am now. Hence I am really excited about this year and what it’s going to be.

Some of you might have already figured out things in life earlier than me, some perhaps are still trying to figure out, some could be still in hesitation like I was. Those who already did should help those who haven’t.

Find your passion. Have a faith in it. Do it consistently. Live it. And share with others.

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