Happiness at A$45

What is happiness? 

It takes a lot of time and effort to define happiness. Some people say that in order to be happy, we need to seek for it. Some will seek for happiness among their pile of money, some will seek among their contacts and some others will seek among their freedom. 

As for me,  I’m blessed for I am able to meet a lot of other people who told me that happiness is indeed inside of us. We just need to believe that we are worthy of creating our own happiness. We are worthy to be happy with ourselves. 

I have a chronic condition of being unhappy with myself. I’m fat (never in my life I wear size below L). I can’t draw my eyebrows properly (my Aunt will stop in the middle of any conversation to remind me that I need to draw my eyebrows properly!). I’m not confident and sometimes I deliberatly look out for some positive comments from my closest ones. 

I’m afraid to walk outside the norm. I don’t dare to do something different. 

That’s my pity eyes looking at me. 

But then, I decided that I need to do something that I’ve never did in a long time. Starting small, by cutting my long hair. I had the same hairstyle for almost 14 years! And somehow I was so afraid to change it, because normally women will choose long hair – as well as the men. But honestly, who cares! 

So off I go to cut my hair. Thanks to my dear friend @veina – who was there with me when I decided to cut my hair. She was so surprised and yet, very supportive with my decision. 

I posted my photo below with my new hair. I’m happy with my decision and will not regret my spending of A$45. 

I believe that happiness is indeed inside of us. I can create my own happiness. I am worthy! 

At The End of The Day, We All Need Company 

I met one young little girl just a while ago. She looked fierce and I could see it from the way she rolled her eyes in front of me. Fortunately, she did not refuse when I escorted her to my counseling room and within a few minutes, the wall was down completely. She told me implicitly that she chose the way to look (and to be seen) as a mean girl because she felt lonely. A lot of her friends would call her a liar and keep her out of the circle, just because she has no branded school bags and shoes. I was speechless. 

She was only 9 years old and somehow she had to deal with such issues – the importance of being rich, in order to load oneself with branded stuff. She lost her so-called friends, because she is different. 

I love to be alone and have the time to myself. But I also enjoy good company by good friends. In my line of work and personal life, I path crosses with numerous people and some of them are sticking around with me, as my friends. We see no brands nor level of richness, we only see the importance of being together as a friend to each other.  

Like these two friends of mine from Jawa Pos media – @ashfaisal and @arthurrusli. I started to meet these guys and work together as a part of my role with QUT, Brisbane. However, in one of those good days – I realized that we are now not only colleagues, but we are friends. 

It was all started when QUT was sponsoring two journalists to Brisbane for a week. One of them was @ashfaisal. He posted a picture of Toby’s coffee in Brisbane. 

I was in the mood of missing Brisbane and its coffee. So, out of the blue, I posted on my Instagram one photo of my favorite cuppa from Starbuck and told @ashfaisal that he needed to mend my jealousy. 

At this point, @arthurrusli was joining in. He posted a picture of his cuppa!  This guy is definitely into Indonesian coffee. 

I was so happy and delighted with the fact that we were having fun out of something silly. I had to admit that I am no fan for silly things – movie, songs, drama or books. I don’t like to spend my energy and time enjoying something silly. But then, it was not true at all. Sometimes, being silly with good friends is a good thing to do.  

At the end of the day, I am more than honored to call them both as my friends. And I am sincerely wishing that the little girl at my counseling room will be able to mend her broken heart and meet with good friends of her own. 

How Much Time?

Time is an issue for everyone. Some would feel that they need 27 hours a-day (I used to think so too!). Some would feel that they have all the time in the world, therefore, they drag it as much as they can. I always envy those people who can discipline themselves with time, and somehow, they always have time for everything.

I like to follow writers or bookworms in their social account, especially Instagram. I am amazed with their discipline to read every morning for 1-hour. Or how they manage to write in the midst of their hectic life. While for me, I am so bad at time management.

After my son was born, I soon back to work. He was not yet 3-month-old when I took my first business trip out of town. And it is still ongoing at the moment. Somehow my guilty feeling strikes in, especially when I am away too much from him. Thankfully, I still have the pleasure of breastfeeding, and I am doing as much as I can to embrace those moments. His little hands holding onto me, his eyes would gaze upon me and how he rests his body to me. I feel trusted, I feel so close and so loved.

These past few weeks have been uneasy for me. Work is loading up so quickly and I need to make a decision. I spoke to my closest circle and discuss with them – and finally enable myself to make a decision in reducing my work load. I am working two part-time jobs at the moment. Both are professional job and I need to give my best effort for both jobs. As hard as it could be, I have to let go one of it. A very big decision to make.

I spoke to the director today and he mentioned that parenthood is a big thing – and he would not keep me in the loop if I decided to let go. Again, my self-guilt is striking in. I perceived his comment as a confirmation that I did it all wrong, I made a lot mistakes and he is ready to let me go.

So, during my 3-hour driving back to my hometown, I put on my iPod and chose one Podcast that was there for years – Time Management by Randy Pausch. I stumbled into this amazing lecturer during his last battle with pancreatic cancer and fell in love with his Last Lecture instantly. I played that particular podcast for so many times and I made that as my official reminder of achieving my childhood dreams. The same thing happened with Time Management podcast. One important advice that I took seriously is to always have planner or agenda, either digital or pen-and-paper kind of thing. I took the latter. He mentioned that we do not need to spend more of our brains on what-to-do lists and all the appointments that we set. We need to have agenda that can tell us what will we do next week at certain time.

time

The closing on his lecture was a reminder to do the right things and not just pushing ourselves to do things right. Sometimes we spend so much time to do things that might not be the right things. We need to manage our time, because that’s all we’ve got! I do not want to regret all those moments that I can create with my son, with my family. I want to be feel at peace one day, knowing that I have done my best to be with them.

God bless me and my decision then.

Inner Feeling

Lately I’ve been fighting myself – big time. When I see someone I know is traveling abroad,  a spark of jealousy comes up. My own thought will serve that feeling rightaway by saying: “yes, she has a better life than you”, “she is smarter than you” or, “you are just an average woman”. 

When someone I know is commenting on my every move, I will feel overwhelmed by it. It feels like I need my space and when someone is deliberately stepping into my private area, I would love to scream and shove my anger in front of them. 

I guess by now you will see me as a bipolar woman!  

Oh well, it is not easy to fight whetever feeling that we have inside. The feelings that are triggered by so many reasons – love, care, hate, jealousy, intimidation and many more. 

Those same feelings are there as a reminder for us to look after ourselves. Maybe we have only a little of self-love, a minimum time for ourselves or, have nothing left after we serve the best for others. Therefore,  we tend to feel inferior toward ourselves. We compare our dried land with the green grass next door. We put on the blurred glasses to view our lives – and surely we get the blurry pictures that we hate so much. 

I realized that all negative inner feelings are stemmed from ourselves. The way we view ourselves,  the way we compare with others and the way we compete in life. No wonder,  we feel tired almost all the time. 

Tonight, as I lay down, I am praying to God that He will strengthen me to see and accept me as who I am. If other people seem to have a better life than mine, remind me to thank God for my own life. If other people seem to criticize me, teach me to thank God for what I have. It is my glasses that need to be fixed. So I can control my feelings toward the outer events.

Take care everyone! 

PS: I am truly in a much lighter feeling after writing this post. 

Love Until It Hurts

Love is something magical.

When people in love, they would do anything! Anything. They would change everything! Why? Because they are in love. People will translate falling in love as a LOVE itself. But it is not (Read: The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck – for further insight). Love is way beyond that scope.

Have you ever been in a situation when you do not love someone, but you have to help that person? In that scenario, you are the one who is there at that moment (might be wrong for you) to offer help. If you give your help sincerely, then you know what is love.

After I read the collection of private writing by Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, I was amazed with the scale of her heart. She would do anything to please God, not because she is merely in love – but because she loves God. If she was merely in love with God, she would walk away when God started to keep her in silence (for more than 20 years!). But she stays. She is hurt by the love that she has, toward God and people around her.

Mother Teresa

I am in the position where I have to love others that I do not love. For me, it is hard. Let me spell it for you: H.A.R.D.

Giving my care and attention to someone that I consider as undeserving is not easy. But then, somehow I hear a soft voice in my heart saying that I need to give even more – to teach me how to love sincerely. I did, and yet, the battle inside of me is not yet over, because the help that she needs is still there. She still needs help.

I can choose to quit at all time. That’s the lesson I’ve got from the society – why bother giving to someone that never gave to you. But then again, the image of Mother Teresa at our dining room (yes, a huge paint ordered by my Dad) reminded me of her saying. The paradox of giving and loving until it hurts will eliminate the hurt … and let love remains.

I am not yet there to understand, but I want to give it a try. Now. Today. It might be hard, but I could not find any reference to prove that it is impossible. So, it is hard, but it is possible to do.

So You Think I am Fat?

Here we go. The topic that society love. The number on your scale, the size of your hips and how much fat one can have.

Last week I had a day-trip to a beautiful Bali. I would like to stay longer, but I had an important meeting the next day in Surabaya. While I was working, one colleague offered me the famous Bali Bator (Babi Toreh). I thought it was just another crispy belly pork, but hey! It was a delicious treat!

So on my way to the airport, I decided to check their account online, got their number and ordered half-a-kilo to be delivered to the airport. All good. Or I thought so, until the taxi driver asked if I would consume the whole crispy belly pork myself. He said that I am already fat and consuming the whole thing would only make me fatter.

Fat

I shared that experience on my FB status and told some friends, including the one who offered me Babi Bator on the first place. Most of them would say that I should have reacted to the driver, said something to make him realize that his words were rude. I have to admit that I did not answer a thing, beside telling him that I bought half-a-kilo of crispy belly pork for the whole family (I counted 6 people). My reason was because I was all alone in Bali and had no awareness of direction.

After my son was born, I haven’t got back to my initial weight – which already fat for some people. I know that I never been thin or petite my whole life. I always chubby since I was a baby. A very few close people would asked me to step on the scale. Others would commented on how I dress up. Some others would curse my hair.

I had my hard time to let everything slip through. But now I have to … I will maintain my health and at the same time, watch my intake because I am still breastfeeding. I am hoping to be able to breastfeed my son for the whole 24 months. We are almost halfway now. I know that I need to exercise more now and most of all, be happy of who I am. So if you think I am fat, do me a favor – be in silence (Read: shut up!).

PS: I train myself mentally, in which I created two boxes in my head: important and not important. Whenever I hear people comment on my size or clothes, I would discuss with myself in a straightforward way. If that’s important – I would keep that advice to myself and be grateful. If not, bottomless garbage bin is ready to welcome them. I am happier that way.

Expectation and Heartache

It’s been a very long while since my last post! I just found out a few moments ago that my account was expired, due to technical issue on my automatic payment. All good now and I am in a good mood to write something here.

Expectation. We all have it. You just have to admit that you, me – all of us are expecting in many ways. We expect our spouses to be better, to treat us better. We expect our children to behave well, to achieve high. We also expect ourselves to be great, to be known. Is it wrong to have expectation? Is it right? Do you have the answer? Because I do not.

I met one lady a few days ago. I have heard stories about her – she is a single parent with two children, her husband left her for another woman (she was also the ‘another woman’ in his previous marriage), and she has no formal work to support her life. But when you look at her, you can get the glimpse of her being ‘her ideal self’. The way she walks, she talks, the way she describe those fancy restaurants, those beautiful places that she ever been. The reality is quite different in her perspective. She looks at it as if she is still living in her ideal world. She loves to talk about her dreams in the past – how she wanted to go and live abroad (The Netherlands was a popular destination for Indonesian during her school years) and yet, her mother was not allowing her to go. She loves to show the pictures of her being invited by her friends at fancy restaurants and have a dip on those expensive menus. Somehow, unconsciously, she rejects the second-class menus. She tends to compare everything with her version of ‘the best goods’ that she ever tried before.

thestoryteller2

While she is trying to keep her ideal world up in the water, her son sinks it. One day, he went home and sat with his mother – telling her that he has a daughter with a woman that he had a fling with. He was aware that he had a daughter, but decided not to do anything about it – until he lost everything in a fire, got fired and left with nothing. He then realized that he needed to do something regarding his responsibility as a father. While for him it is a way to complete his least responsibility, for his mother it is almost the end of the world.

This lady – now a grandmother – talked to me in teary eyes that her son is not  supposed to live his life that way. He used to be so free and individual, but now he has to share his life with his wife and daughter. For her, that’s not a fair life.

When I listened to her, I was almost scratching my head – and about to scream at her. How on earth you think that way? That little boy of yours is now a husband and a father. He has to take care of his family. He has to let go his free life and be in order now. But of course I did not do so. I felt pity toward her.

Her life is so full of expectation, and yet she gets none of them done. She never had that chance of living abroad. She could only taste the great menus when someone is kind enough to pay for her. She never had the moment of preparing her son’s wedding properly, and yet suddenly given with a granddaughter. She was looking for love, and she gets loneliness instead.

What do you expect from life?

Through The Eyes of A Little Girl

There is a little girl who bears sincerity in her heart and willingly she lend her only tablet cover to her grand Aunty. She said that she could use the cheap cover for a while. She didn’t have any understanding that her mother spent certain amount of money to buy that original cover to protect her tablet. And she didn’t have any intention to just throw the cover away. She was just being nice.

After a few days, she asked her grand Aunty to give the cover back and she would lend her the cheap one. Without even looking at this little girl, the grand Aunty answered: Just wait until I can buy the original cover for myself – and she was back to her games right away.

What do you think of that scene?

For me, when I heard the story, I could not believe it. How could a grand Aunty at her 60s treat a little girl like that? I don’t have the answer for certain.

Guilt is seen in this little girl’s face because she felt responsible to her mother by lending the original cover. She was trying to fix her mistake by asking the original cover back and then, she was denied right away. Some people might see this as nothing, but imagine the lesson that this little girl has to learn.

She might be thinking that lending her stuff to other people is not a good behavior, that it might backfire to her or it might hurt her loved ones. She is learning to understand giving in a wrong spectacle.

I heard many times before that age is not a measurement for maturity. That even at young age, we can actually transfer some values and bring those youngsters to maturity at appropriate level. On the other hand, even those people with years of living this life might forget an important development of maturity. Just like the grand Aunty I mentioned above.

Age is merely a number. It keeps on adding itself every year, on the exact same date. Maturity is another thing. It has to be sow, trained and evaluated every now and then. Maturity is not growing accordingly with age, because it is a choice that one makes. Everyone has the chance to win one’s childishness, as well as winning one’s maturity.

I am hoping this little girl can understand the circumstances – that she meant well, sincere and true. That the rejection from her grand Aunty is not her fault, but it will give her one of the best lesson in her life. I had the chance to talk to this little girl and I said all the positive side of her good deeds. But I also stressed that the reaction from her grand Aunty was not acceptable because she didn’t respect other people’s stuff. That was not a lesson to be learned or followed.

Picture is taken from kushandwizdom.tumblr.com

Apps to Edit Your Life

How old are you today?

You answer marks the length of your life so far. You know exactly how many years you’ve been living in this Earth. You can flip through your memory photo album and seek your birthday celebration when you were 6, 17 or 30. You can see the smiles that you put in your face – and those people who celebrate your special days.

But, if you keep on searching through those albums, can you tell how many days or months that you’ve spent carelessly? Or can you check on how many opportunities that you’ve left behind – because you were afraid to take it? Can you see how much money that you spend for nothing, but instant gratification? I don’t think you can do it.

What if nowadays we can use certain apps to check on our wrongdoings and edit them as much as we want? Some of us might think of this idea as absurd. While some others might consider the benefits of having such apps – rewind missing moments, travel back to fix our wrongdoings.

I did some simple editing to the photo that I use for this post. I just need to download the photo editor that suits my purpose, click here and there, and voila, I have edited photo ready to be posted.

Unfortunately, life is not that simple. We can’t download any apps to measure our wrongdoings or to edit it further. But, actually we do have the gift to do so. It is embedded inside of us. We are given with the gift to realize that we do things right or wrong. It is known as our conscience. Even though it is given, we still need to maintain the loudness of its voice. Sometimes, we can’t hear what it has to say, because we are so deaf with the loudness of the world. We acknowledge that principle of white lies, of grey areas – hence it is no longer suitable with the voice of our conscience.

Therefore, measuring right or wrong is not an easy task. We can’t use apps to replace our conscience in doing so. We need to consider and re-consider our plan before we execute it. What will happen if I say something to someone? Will it bring goodness for that person, or will it damage one’s existence? We know what’s right and wrong – we just don’t want to wear our spectacles correctly.

Once we did a mistake, we have to admit it. Another hard skill to master – after knowing right or wrong. Once we admit that we make a mistake, we need to show our remorse. We have to take action and ‘editing’ our past steps by doing so. There’s no such an easy step of doing it. We don’t have an eraser to delete our wrongdoings. We don’t have any remote to rewind and skip the scene where we made mistakes. But we can ask for strength to feel remorse, to repent and start anew.

One lesson that I learned from King David was the fact that every sin bears its own consequences. He made mistakes by having an affair with Betsheba, and sent her husband to die in a war. After King David repent, he still has to bear the consequences of his sins – the death of his baby and the cruelty of his children toward each other. The King did not ask God on why did he has to suffer after he repent. He knew that what happened afterward was the consequences of his own actions. He didn’t need any apps to realize that he did wrong and editing his life as much as he can do.

Can we do the same – editing our life without any apps?

Are You Holding The Pencil?

When I see my little nephew playing around, I can hear the voice of his mom reminds him to be careful, not to climb on the couch or stop hitting the cat with his bike. It is as if his mother builds fences around him. He needs to learn what-to-do and what-not-to-do since very young, so he will have the guidance later on.

Fortunately, the same principle can’t be applied to adults. Imagine a 20 or 30 year-old who need to be told or guided by his mother – on what to do, what to wear or what to eat. The most common excuse is how much his mother knows about him. And that’s true! But … Isn’t it time for the used-to-be little boy to grow up and learn to handle the wheels himself?

Everyone of us deserves to write our own stories. The gift of life is not merely about strolling through life day by day, but it is about writing our own stories. We are given the right to hold the pencil in our hands and start drawing, sketching and writing the stories. We are given with the voices, to be told, to be heard. We are blessed.

But how many of us let others hold the pencil for us? It can be found in many different forms – staying in the same job for years even though we hate it so much, living with others who hurt us most of the time and many more. We build a mental block that we have no choice. We believe that it is meant to be – that we don’t have control over our lives.

We do. We have the options, we have the control – as long as we want to hold on to the pencil that has given to us. It wont be easy, because we will hear so many false voices accusing us, disagree with us and simply put us down. Why? Because the way they hold their pencils are different compare to ours. They can’t accept the differences, because they are afraid it will hurt them. They are afraid to change, to adjust. And they project their fear to us. They try to control our pencils and lead it according to their will.

My question is how long will you be able to stay? As long your heart beats? As long as you can make others happy?

You only live once, and sometimes that’s all you need. Take that pencil back to your hands and start writing. No matter how bad your handwriting might be, it is yours truly. And no matter how great the cursive of others, they don’t belong to you.

 

Picture is taken from @motivationalpage