Saturday, October 29, 2016

To Grow A Little Older

You know you're getting older when you start focusing on things that matter. When you stop caring about things that look cool but you're not really keen on. When you care less about what people think. When you spend more time with people that you know are going to help you to be a better person. When you are no longer obsessed with being accepted by people who aren't. When you start accepting your flaws and embracing your strength. When you feel proud about who you are, regardless of who you're not.

So I know I'm getting older when I'm no longer the girl who worries about raising her hand in the class. The girl who has nothing to say. The girl who regrets not answering a question in the class when she turns out to be right. The girl who's afraid to be wrong. The girl who's afraid to be judged, to be looked down upon, to be laughed at, to be stared at. I've changed a little, and I think my maturity has something to do with that, along with the experience I've had in the real world.

You know you're getting older when you can't help but ruminating about your life and the future. Over and over again. It gets worse when you're an overthinker like I am. Even worse when it's only a few days away before you turn a year older.

I used to be a little obsessed with getting older, as I had always been the youngest-girl-in-the-room for the last 7 years. I thought and acted like a 23 even before I was 20. I grew up too fast, some might say. But surprisingly, when I finally (almost) become 23, I feel a little scared. I'm no longer excited to be older. It's no longer hypothetical now: I really am 23. Just two more years before 25 (though inside I feel like already am). I mean, where did all the time go?

The good thing is, I'm quite sure that I'm exactly where I want to be. Well, not quite there yet, but I need to give myself a break. It's still going to be a long, bumpy road, but at least the journey has been delightful. At least, compared to a few years ago, I'm making progress.

Some prayers are still unanswered, but I won't ever doubt His timing nor plans. He will always be with me, guiding and showing me the way. So why worry, indeed.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tentang Kembali Pulang

Minggu ini, saya kembali ke kampus yang dulu pernah jadi tempat saya berkembang dan menemukan diri saya. Rasanya seperti kembali ke rumah setelah beberapa tahun pergi untuk mengembara. Kelas yang sama, meja dan kursi yang sama, dan dosen yang kurang lebih sama. I'm the only one who's changed. Or more precisely, grown.

Beberapa orang, bahkan dosen di kampus, mempertanyakan keputusan saya untuk mengambil program magister untuk kedua kalinya. Kan sudah punya gelar S2? Kan sudah pernah kuliah di Inggris? Kan sudah dapat pekerjaan yang strategis dan disukai? Kenapa harus kuliah lagi? Kenapa nggak PhD saja sekalian?

Pertanyaan-pertanyaan tersebut punya satu jawaban yang sederhana. Meskipun mungkin terdengar klise, menjadi psikolog adalah impian saya sejak saya masih berusia sepuluh tahun - bahkan sebelum saya tahu apa itu psikologi. Setelah lulus kuliah, segala hal yang saya lakukan (termasuk kuliah di Inggris) tidak lain dan tidak bukan adalah untuk mempersiapkan dan mematangkan diri saya agar dapat menjadi seorang psikolog yang dewasa dan siap menghadapi dunia luar dengan segala keberagamnnya, sambil mengeksplorasi opsi-opsi lain yang tersedia bagi saya. So I tried being a teacher, researcher, consultant, and employee. And while I love those jobs, my dream hasn't changed a bit. Being a psychologist is still what I aspire to do. And when I want something badly, I'll do whatever it takes to get it.

So here I am. Leaving Sudirman for Depok. Going back to the place I once called my second home. I grew up there, and I'll grow again. I learned so much about life and about myself there, and I'll learn again.

Dua setengah tahun ini akan jadi perjalanan yang berat. Minggu pertama ini saja sudah terasa sangat berat. Gelar terakhir saya kemarin pun justru tidak membuat saya jadi ongkang-ongkang kaki, tapi justru memacu saya untuk belajar lebih giat lagi karena ekspektasi orang lain terhadap saya tentu jadi puluhan kali lebih tinggi, begitu pula ekspektasi saya terhadap diri saya sendiri.

Whatever it is that I'm going to face for the next two, three years, I know it will be worth it. If things get bad (though I hope it won't), I just need to take a deep breath and remember why did I want to do this in the first place.

Saya harus terus ingat bahwa setelah ini, saya bisa melakukan lebih banyak hal daripada yang bisa saya lakukan sekarang. Saya bisa melakukan hal-hal yang saya sukai. Saya bisa memberikan diagnosis, memberikan terapi, dan membuat orang merasa lebih baik. Saya bisa membantu lebih banyak keluarga dan membuat diri saya jauh lebih bermanfaat. Saya bisa merealisasikan mimpi-mimpi saya satu persatu. Jadi, ketika nanti saya mulai jenuh menjalani kuliah yang berat di saat teman-teman saya yang lain sedang bersenang-senang, saya harus ingat, bahwa setelah ini, ada tujuan besar yang akan saya capai. Ada kesempatan besar yang akan terbuka lebar. I know I feel happiest when I do things that matter, so there's that. Something I definitely should hold on to when things get bad.

The latest picture I took in UI with my brother and cousins. I've conquered it, and I will again.

And hey, I've come this far. Farther than I thought I would ever be. So whatever it is that I'm going to face, I'll try to remember that nothing is ever beyond what I can bear. I won't be facing it alone anyway, since there's Someone who will always, always look out for me and make things easy.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Well-Deserved Getaway

I have been wanting to go to Singapore for months. There are a few countries that are on my go-to lists, but I need one that's close and affordable, because I realized how much money I spend for vacation last year (in my defense, I only lived in Europe for only a year so it would be stupid not to travel around). Singapore seems like a perfect destination, especially because I haven't been there for 10 years at least. Then I looked for a friend who wants to come along as traveling in twos is my favorite way to wander.

I'm glad I decided to go to Singapore. It's clean and extremely well-managed, embellished with highly modern buildings but also old, traditional ones (I always love the juxtaposition of that), and supported with reliable and comfortable transportation modes. It's a country that's too tiny to be compared with mine, obviously, but still, I'm amazed. The only thing I hated about Singapore is the hot, boiling, humid weather (even worse than mine). Singapore feels like Europe, only more homey.

The color of Singapore

Penang was our second destination. It felt even more like home there. Penang was laid-back and artsy. A nice town to walk around, despite the weather. Not only the atmosphere, the food was also awesome. The whole city reminded me of Jogjakarta, and a little of York.

The historic Georgetown, Penang

Kuala Lumpur was a lot more mediocre. I'm glad we only spent 26 hours there and spent them to explore two great museums (Islamic Art Museums and City Gallery), Central Market, and just walk around the downtown area. 

Malaysian Batik at Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.

The highlight of my trip, though, was the parts where I can reminisce my life in the UK. The weather was absolutely a lot nicer in the UK, but I could walk around a lot (65 kilometers to be exact), use reliable public transportation, immerse myself into hundreds of people who don't speak my language, observe different culture, rely on google maps to get around and get lost once in a while, talk with strangers, and visit tons of museum with great exhibitions. I felt so energized afterwards.

Traveling is not cheap, but I learned from the last three years that every penny I spend during the trip is going to be worthwhile. It's something you do only for a few days or weeks, yet will inspinre you for years and years. While I agree with people who encouraged Indonesian youths to explore the mother country, I think traveling abroad once in a while is also necessary. It's going to open your mind, challenge yourself, make you deal with the unexpected and try to roll with the punches, and in the end, appreciate your life and what you have at home. 

So save up, and go. Once in a few years. With a small group of people. Plan. Near, far, wherever you want. And relish all the experience and the details you'll see.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

About Leaving Another Comfort Zone

Last Friday was my last day at work. I still remembered how inferior I felt during the first few weeks of working in PASKA Kemdikbud, because I have to work with talented, bright, young people who have more experiences than I do.

It turns out, there's nothing to feel intimidated about. Yes, they are smart and ambitious, but they're not condescending, nor do they make me feel stupid and unheard. In fact, I became the most assertive version of myself in the last few months, and I just couldn't be prouder.

The beloved, extraordinary team.

From them, I learned about politics, economy, education, policy making, and everything else that's happening on the news, thanks to our diverse background & their broad knowledge. But further than that, they taught me about life, too. That Allah's plans won't ever be late nor wrong, that sometimes we don't get what we want and we need to be resilient, and that we have to fight for the things that are worth fighting for. They taught me to be more assertive, to not (always) take things personally, to be ambitious in pursuing what I aspire to be, to do something and not just whining about something we don't like, to always make other people (even our subordinates) feels heard and appreciated, and so much more. 

Before I got selected to be a part of the team, I did expect meeting talented, smart, hard working people that I can learn from; but never expected good friends who would listen and accept me for what I am. I never expected having another support system whom I can trust and be myself around. Never thought they would enter the circle I kept small. And yet they did! 

Because even when I become the geekiest, weirderst, most gullible, most idealistic, or most ambitious version of myself, I'd still feel heard and accepted. Even when I felt immature and emotional, they would still be there.

Just in case any of you read this, I want to say thank you for the last 6 months (that actually felt like forever, given the work burden). Thank you for making my first working-at-a-company experience bearable and memorable. And thank you for your kind words at the farewell dinner, which I will definitely hold on to when I'm having a bad day.

I usually hate saying goodbyes, but after saying it repeatedly for the last three years, I don't anymore. Leaving means entering a new world, exploring new things, and meeting new people. It means enlarging the circle even more, and finding another comfort zone. Because goodbye means hello, and that's something I should feel excited about. And it's not even goodbye, anyway, because I believe our paths will cross again someday soon.

As cliché as it sounds. (Source: weheartit)

So even though I have been in mellow mode since the last two weeks, I feel grateful and delighted that Allah had introduced me to them. His plans have and will never fail, so why should I worry about the future, again?


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