My 2018 Greatest Lesson

I initially planned to close this 2018 with writing my personal kaleidoscope along the year, but then I found that this time, I’d rather write something more useful for my blog readers. After writing a confession about my depression in the previous post, here I write a post about the greatest lesson I learned in 2018.

In this year, I’ve come to learn that I should never let bad moments in life diminish the value of the good ones happened to me along the year.

Just because some people don’t feel the same way like I do, it doesn’t mean they don’t care at all. They do care about me, only in different ways.

I also learned that just because some people do not appreciate me, it doesn’t mean the whole world refuses to see my efforts.

And just because the people I care about didn’t seem to want me in their life, it doesn’t mean that I’m completely unwanted by anyone else. I have to accept that I am just not everyone’s cup of tea.

I won’t ever again let one bad event in life overpower the good memories I have ever had. And I won’t let the people who hurt me leave the most marks in my heart over the ones who were always there for me to support and help me with the little things.

It also means, just because I stumbled upon a few disappointments in 2018, it doesn’t necessarily make the whole year as a failure. Apart from my problems, in 2018 I managed to make a good progress on evolving myself, I made another milestone in my career, my life was merrier with all the new people I met, and most importantly, I feel so much love… Love from my friends, my colleagues, and my teammates at work. I guess I had no luck when it came to romance, but it doesn’t mean that all the love I got from other people were not as valuable. It feels good knowing how I played an important role in someone else’s life journey and I’m touched knowing how they appreciate me for that.

It’s such a relief that I close this year with all these positive feelings. I finally realized that even though I didn’t always get all the things I really wanted, but instead, God has given me all the things I really needed. The things that I never thought I need in life. And to me, that’s even better.

Thank God for this year! Thanks for all the good and the bad times! This year was insane! This will definitely be a year I will never forget.

Happy new year 2019 to my blog readers and I wish nothing but a wonderful year to come!

How I Got Out from Depression – Only in a Month

How do I know that I was depressed? Because I started to show the symptoms. It was still the early stage I guess, but still, it was really the worst one month of my life!

In the beginning, I refused to admit that I was depressed. I was one of the happiest persons I knew and depression was just never my thing even in the hardest times of my life. Until one night in the office, I felt so alone and so upset for no reason. I decided to Google the symptoms of depression and there I was… having to admit that I had problems with my mental health.

Here are what I felt during my depression phase:

  1. I tried to avoid crowd as much as I could. I only wanted to be alone. I didn’t even come to my niece’s birthday lunch just because I didn’t feel like spending weekend with anybody. I isolated myself from the outside world anytime it was possible for me to be alone;
  2. Lost interest in doing all the things I always enjoyed to do. I still wanted to travel somewhere in the first week of my depression, but then when I really had the chance to solo travel, I decided that I didn’t want it anymore;
  3. I started to question why I should live longer. It’s not that I wanted to die, it’s just that I was not interested to keep living like this anymore. I was sick of the same old problems over and over. The thought of having to deal with those nightmares in my entire life had really killed me from the inside. I didn’t feel alive anymore, somehow;
  4. I felt empty, incredibly sad, angry to myself, and what was even worse, I felt hopeless. I started to stop believing that things would ever change. I started to think that maybe, happily ever after was just not meant to be for me;
  5. I started to find how worthless and unlovable person that I was. I was trapped in that dark thoughts blaming myself for keep failing in so many past relationships (in friendship, romantic relationship, and even at works, sometimes). It felt like I had tried everything in my power but none of it took me where I wanted to be; and
  6. Someone else’s compliments didn’t please me anymore. I was very much inconsolable.

I am thankful that I quickly recognized that I was depressed. The first step of every problem solving is to admit that we have problem in the first place. Started from there, here are the efforts I did to get out of that depression:

  1. Find a friend to talk to. Yes, I was sitting alone on my bed at home, but I still tried to reach out my friends (phone calls and WhatsApp) just to talk about my feelings. And it really helped me to gradually feel better;
  2. Keep doing what I always do best: my job. I tried to stay focus and stay on top of my works knowing that I would only feel worse if I screwed up that one thing I was always good at. I just couldn’t afford anymore failures and apparently, all the positive results I got from my hard works eventually made me feel positive about myself. Little by little, I earned my self worth back to me again;
  3. I tried to dig the root cause of my depression. And this was the hardest part because apparently, it didn’t always take one big problem to make us depressed. The accumulation of small problems I tend to ignore was piling up until at some point, I just couldn’t take it anymore;
  4. Piece by piece, I started to find similarities between all those small problems that gradually irritated my feelings inside. And the funny thing is that, the root cause of my depression was already happening since one decade ago! What happened ever since only worsened that one problem I buried deep in my past;
  5. I started to make a solid plan; a plan that will take me a couple months just to get it done. It will take times, but still, coming up with a good plan already made me feel much better! I felt better and better as I started execute my plans with a great determination to get done with my unfinished businesses;
  6. Until I complete all my plans, I decided to focus more on all the good things in my life instead of the bad ones. I started to redefine my value and I told myself, “No matter how much flaws I have in me, it doesn’t diminish my value as a person.” When I was depressed, I judged that 2018 was a bad year to me. But then as I started to see at the bright sides, I quickly realized that I had good times in 2018 a lot more more than the bad ones. I started to wonder, “What am I complaining here?”
  7. I started to reconnect with my friends and families. I decided to go out there and I had a lot of fun along the way! Having great times with the loved ones has really distracted me from all the sorrows. I was just too busy to think of my problems;
  8. I started to sincerely let go of the things I couldn’t control. I didn’t want to insist, I’m just too tired of fighting something I cannot change. If my very best effort was never enough and there was nothing more I could do about it, then I just need to move on. I have to know that just because I’m about to close my problems with my past, it will not automatically solve my problems in the future. I will lose again, and I only need to be okay with it;
  9. I persistently pursued to close my problems back in the past even when I already felt a lot better about myself. That unfinished business is like a ticking bomb… sooner or later, it will only explode and hurt my feelings again. Just wait until I have another trigger and I will only fall to that dark place again. I hope by solving my unfinished businesses will help me to get through the hard times that are inevitable in my life; and
  10. I prayed, and I felt better. A friend of mine talked to me about her problems and she said, “I couldn’t imagine how I would feel right now if I didn’t even believe in God. My prayers have strengthened me to get through this rough times in life.”

For some cases, meeting a psychologist will most likely help. It helped me once, but this time, I knew that the only person who can saved me was myself. No matter how hard other people tried to drag me out of this depression, it would mean nothing unless I was determined to help myself. I knew I could help myself and I couldn’t be happier that I was right.

One other thing I’ve learned from this phase is that depression can happen to anyone of us. No matter how happy and successful our life is, it doesn’t mean we’re depression proof. And in fact, people who have achieved a lot in their life are even prone to depression because they had to deal with many obstacles that might have left wounds deep in their heart. I don’t know if there is anything we can do to prevent this episode in our life, but at least, now I know what to do when I get to that dark place deep on my mind.

Now it’s not a shame for me to admit this episode. I’m even proud to tell the world, “I was once depressed, and I pulled myself out of it.”

Tu Me Manques

Frustrated with writer’s block, I opened drafts folder in my WordPress blog and I found a lot of unfinished posts inside that folder. I didn’t find much interesting stuffs (if it’s good enough, I would have finished the post and published it) until I found the following post. It was beautifully written and the only reason I didn’t publish the draft because it would reveal how I truly felt of someone I cared about back then. I’ve moved on from him for more than a year by now but I still want to publish this just because it’s too beautiful to be kept to myself! It’s also a beautiful reminder how I once genuinely cared about someone else.

April 7, 2017

I miss the moment when everything was right. When I still had hopes and thought, “What’s next?” When this feeling was beautiful, when I could smile alone as I thought of you.

I miss the way you look at me. A deep and warm look on your eyes. I miss the way you never took your eyes off me when I spoke to you. That kind of look in your eyes that made me feel like I was the only one.

I miss the way you took care the little things for me. I miss our long chats. I miss your jokes, our jokes; that only the two of us could understand.

I miss seeing your smile behind your lens when you took picture of me. I miss listening to you singing a song that made me felt like you were singing for me.

And did you know? I also miss your cranky face. Your cranky voice. It never ceased to amaze me how some random guys could turn your mood upside down, just like that.

I enjoyed all the little things, the ups and downs, the struggles, the hopes, until it’s all gone the day you told me that I was wrong. The day I started to think that everything I cherished, all the things that made me miss you like this, was not real.

Everything is broken and I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how to come back from the pain. I don’t know which parts were real. I don’t know what I did so wrong we ended up like this.

I really want to be so angry with you, hate you, and just walk away. But no matter how much I despise everything you did, there’s always a part of me missing you. The old you. Or maybe, the illusion of you. I don’t know. If my memories were wrong, then I miss being wrong.

Tu me manques. I miss you.

Back to 2018: I read this and I told myself, “Oh I’m a damn good writer, hehehehehe.”

When People Tend to Forget that I am Only a Human Too

Sometimes it hurts knowing that some people don’t consider how I might feel as an impact of the things they said or did. Just because I’m a tough person, that doesn’t mean I’m a superwoman with superpower! I’m only a human with feelings too. The truth is, I’m hurt when they hurt me.

When they bad mouth me behind my back.

When they choose to protect others or even protecting themselves even though that only means they hurt me badly.

When they keep me in the dark.

When they lie.

Or simply when they don’t tell me the truth that I desperately need.

They think I will be just fine. That I’m used to it. That I’m strong enough to get through all that s***. That I’ll move on and I’ll leave all that behind. And that I’ll be a survivor on my own.

Oh yes I will be all that. I don’t want to be permanently bent and broken no matter what. But is that really necessary to let me fight all those nightmares on my own? Is it really necessary to push me to deal with pain, or wonder, or disappointment over and over again? What did I do so wrong I deserve all that?

Just because I’m strong, it doesn’t mean I’m happy to be hurt.

Oftentimes I wish I could just look them in the eyes and tell them how wounded I really was. How I wish I didn’t have to deal with another heartbreak. And how I desperately wanted to let people know that I was not fine. Not at all.

Do you know what’s even worse from all these? It’s knowing the fact that the people who let me go through all these pains are sometimes the people I care about. The people whose opinions do count to me. The people whom I thought would always be “my person”.

I still remember a few years ago, I read this quote saying that the strongest people are mostly the most wounded. And now I find it so true! The more I look fine from the outside, the less people really care how I feel inside.

I also find it so true that everyone is fighting their own battle. Because so am I! Hence if you can’t be kind to me, at least, be kind enough not to be cruel. It’s not that I want you to pity me, it’s just that I want you to treat me as human with feelings inside. And to me, that would be a luxury.

Wanted: The Next Big Thing in Life

My birthday this year was quite a story. Two weeks before my birthday, my mood suddenly dropped and it felt such a hot mess inside. Just went back from an incredible holiday didn’t make me feel any better (I even thought it might be what people called as post-holiday blues). I tried everything I could do to cheer me up but none of it was working. I kept wondering and I asked myself, “On my birthday, many people will wish me a long life to live, but for what? What else do I want to do in the rest of my life?”

November 30 around 3 PM, in the middle of a meeting in the office, my teammates entered the room singing a birthday song with a birthday cake and three candles on it. Right before blowing out the candles, I made a wish. I simply wishes that life would find me a reason to live longer. Something that excites me to wake up early in the morning, something that brings smiles and big laughters on my face, something that makes every step I take feels lighter no matter how hard this life gets.

It’s not that I’m not happy with my life. I am happy with my life. It’s just that it feels like I’ve been living the same old life, dealing with the same old dramas, and winning the same old battles in the past 10 years.

Need some examples?

I’ve had enough guys coming to my life just to watch them leave not so long after that. I’m sick of wondering how they truly feel about me. At this point, I’ve started to think that maybe, happily ever after is just not my thing.

Need another example?

A promotion at work doesn’t feel as good as it used to be. Yes, it keeps me proud of myself but that’s that. I’ve went through 6 promotions in the past 10 years and I’m thankful of that, but somehow, the euphoria was just not there anymore. It’s like no matter how delicious a food is, I’ll eventually get bored eating the same food over and over again.

Traveling still feels as good, but I can’t travel everyday of my life anyway (and again, once it becomes “regular”, the hypes will fade away!). What about writing, shopping, watching movies and all the things I always love to do? They are all still fun, but still, they are not sufficient to become a good reason to have a long life, aren’t they?

You know… writing all these has really made me feel bad about myself. It might sound like I’m not grateful for everything I have in life. But well, if you know me in person, for sure you’ll know how grateful I really am. I’m grateful but I need changes, the big ones, in my life. I want to have a brand new chapter in life. I was once unhappy with my life so many years ago and I don’t want to go back there! Letting myself feeling this way (empty, unmotivated, bored, emotionally tired and mentally exhausted) will eventually makes me less happy than I am right now. And to me, living an unhappy life is a nightmare!

I’m determined to figure out what is the real problem that leads me to this feeling and what I should do to make myself feel better over this weekend. If you guys have any idea, feel free to let me know! I desperately need an enlightenments at the moment. I hope this horrible feeling is just temporary and it will soon go far away!

The Problem with Many Relationships in Life: We’re Nicer to The Strangers Rather than The Loved Ones

The problem with many relationships in life: we’re oftentimes nicer to the strangers rather than the loved ones.

Need some examples?

We are hesitate to tell the hard truth to colleagues, but we feel like we can tell whatever we want (with no filter) to our families.

We try so hard to be a good employee but we are careless to be a good daughter/son.

We make times for our random cool friends, but we don’t bother to make times (a real good quality times) with our old best friends.

And this is one final example that I often find in married couples: they tried so hard to be a good husband/wife material before they get married, but then they stop trying to become ones after they truly get married.

A friend used to tell me, “Many marriage fails because they both stop trying to impress each other after they get married.” And I find it so true in many other relationships in life too! Not to mention, the closer we are with someone, the less efforts we put to not hurting their feelings too. We don’t hesitate to reveal the worst part of us to the loved ones without considering how it will break their hearts.

Can’t you imagine how awful it might feel? No more good things to celebrate, only boredom and problems to solve. In this kind of relationship, being with them ends up feeling like a burden. It doesn’t feel like home, it’s not comforting and it doesn’t make us a happy person anymore. Until finally, we end up feeling depressed with our own relationships. We either want to run away or we’ve got to hold on and bear all the pains for some things that we deem as “the good reasons”.

I know that if feels good to be surrounded by the people who manage to love us unconditionally. We want them to love and accept us just the way we are. It’s actually human… but then we forget that they are too only a human. And what’s even more concerning is that we forget how love is also a work and love has to be earned not just in the beginning, but also in every single day of our life. A happy relationship is a never ending works and it might be the hardest work we should ever do in our entire life. We only need to work on it unless if we find that it’s okay just to be alone, and lonely.

Life is all about a balance, and so is a relationship. A balance between the comfort of being ourselves and the hard work to be the very best of us for the loved ones. I know for a fact that unfortunately, reaching this “balance” is always the hardest one.

Everytime it feels hard for me to deal with the loved ones, I told myself, “I don’t owe anything to any random people in the office nor any people who only text me a couple times in a year, but I owe a lot of things to my families and best friends.” And then I prioritize my resources (times, energy, and wealth) from there.

From now on, let’s try to do better for our loved ones. If we’re willing to listen to the strangers, listen to our loved ones too. Hear them out! And if we’re willing to work hard just to be “employee of the year”, why don’t we work as hard to be son/daughter or husband/wife of the year too? When we keep trying to be the very best version of us in anything in life, we do it not only for ourselves, but also for the people we care about.

This Is One Example How Life Always Has Enough Lemons to Throw

I am that kind of person who is trying so hard to always stay happy no matter how rough things get in my life. Just like this proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

It’s always easier said than done though. There is always that unpredictable event, happening over and over, that eventually makes happiness seems impossible. And here is one good example how hard it is to have just one happy day when life throws you a lot of lemonades in a row.

A few weeks ago, I was so excited to finally have a few days off from work. It’s not that I hate my job, it’s just that I’ve been working very hard in the past 6 months. Not to mention it was my first vacation after starting my new job with my current employer. I was hoping that upcoming long weekend would be able to recharge my energy.

The day before my vacation went smoothly in the beginning. I woke up early, almost finished packing my clothes to my luggage, I had a great morning laughing with my colleagues, and I also had a very delicious lunch at Fish & Co with some of them. And then after that decent lunch, something annoying happened to me.

My colleagues and I left Senayan City heading back to the office after having that delicious lunch at Fish & Co. We took a taxi; just one taxi for 5 of us. It was wrong, I know, but I thought it should be fine as long as we paid more to the driver (I already planned to pay him two times the meter). I just wanted all of us to go back to the office immediately and that one taxi was the only option we had that noon.

Apparently, the driver was not happy having 5 passengers in his cab. He could just say it out loud and clear, but he decided to harass us with inappropriate jokes instead! He asked one of us to sit on his lap, repeatedly. I was so angry I decided not to say a word. I really wanted to pullover and left that cab but then it would make the situation even more awkward for my team. So I could only stay silent in that cab and apparently, that driver was not happy with my silence (I sat on the front seat, right next to him). That impolite driver asked me over and over why I stayed quiet but of course, I stayed quiet anyway. When we arrived, I handed over the money, I slammed the door, and I walked away.

I told myself, “This should NOT ruin my good day!”

I spent the next few hours in the office hoping that I could go home early that day (by early, I meant 6 PM sharp instead of a long night like I usually had). Right at 6 PM, I packed my bag and I went home… still feeling excited for my upcoming trip!

But then another lemon was thrown at me. Just a few seconds after I sat on the cab that was taking me home, I received a phone call that made me realize that I was just trapped in a very difficult position between two groups of people who were equally important to me. I spent the next two hours on the phone, I let the food I ordered online got cold, and all that I could do that night was just escalating their problems to some other people whom I know for sure could handle that problem better than I did.

I felt a bit relieved and I continued eating my cold noodle quickly so that I could finish packing my clothes to my luggage. I was still very excited to go on with my family trip, imagining that I was gonna meet my nephew and niece very soon, but then again, life threw me another lemon that night.

Someone texted me and I instantly knew another bad thing just happened to me. Just like before, I was trapped in another difficult position that night. I tried to help, but then this person who texted me ended up scolding me just because I stood up for the person he hated. He asked me through his texts to take side and I just couldn’t take his side because the way I saw it, he was the bad guy in that office war. He was upset and he told me all the things he should never say to me in the first place. I started to get angry, he started to get panic knowing that I was upset to him, he called me over the phone, and he said he was sorry for saying all those things to me in his texts.

After that phone call, I told myself, “Life threw me a lot of lemons just in a day!” Just three horrible events in a day, but they were way more than enough to kill all the joy and excitement I felt inside. The phone calls have stopped but I just knew that all those problems had not been totally resolved that night. Soon after coming back from my trip, I would be coming back to all those uncomfortable situations. It was such a buzz killer, wasn’t it?

With that being said, no matter how angry and upset I was, it was totally wrong if I let my bad mood ruin the whole trip. I didn’t want to make my families felt uncomfortable with my bad mood. It was none of their fault anyway. So there I chose to ignore all those problems for a while and I’m so glad that I did that! It was definitely one of the greatest trips I’ve ever had! Nice hotel, great foods, decent pictures to come home with, and not to mention, I got to spend a great time with my big families all over that long weekend! It was that kind of trip that made me feel even more grateful for all I have.

Life will always give us reasons to be upset and sometimes, we don’t even have any control over it. Troubles could just happened out of nowhere and even a total stranger can ruin our good days too. No matter how well we’ve been doing, s**t happens anyway. But well, no matter what happens, stay happy anyway. If the options are between having problem and get depressed or having problem and stay happy, I will always be more than happy to choose the latter one. Always.

If I Were Born Rich…

All these hypes about Crazy Rich Asian leads me to wonder… what if I were born rich? What if my parents could afford a fancy school abroad? What if I had a family business to inherit? And what if I grew up with many crazy rich Indonesians all my life?

When I was kid, I was a very lazy kid. I often got bad scores at school and I secretly hid my test results underneath the clothes in my closet. What even worse, I often went early to school just to copy my smart friends’ homeworks! No wonder if my parents were very upset with me back then. Not to mention I was also very lazy at home too. I hated doing dishes, cleaning up my room and all those domestic stuffs at home. My Mom often told me when she was angry, “You should grow up as a rich person, you know! Otherwise, you won’t be able to hire a helper to clean your room!”

It all changed little by little when I entered high school. I started to make a solid plan for my future (otherwise, as my Mom said, I would not survive my own miserable life!). And then in the college, I studied very hard and I managed to graduate with a very decent GPA. I started my career a few months before graduation and it went so well I couldn’t be more thankful for all achievements I’ve earned by far. Life has been great in the past one decade and I can tell that I’m one of the happiest persons I know.

Question now: would I be as accomplished and happy as I am right now if only I were born rich many years ago?

I honestly doubt that I could be the same person as I am right now if my parents were crazy rich. Why? It’s simply because I was born lazy!

Wanting to have a decent life, comfort bed to sleep, see the world, and wear a nice outfit was my greatest motivation in the first place. The only reason why I started to fight my laziness was to get myself the comfortable life I always wanted. That would never be the same if I already had all those privileges since I was a baby! I wonder what would be my life motivation after all.

It’s a lie if I tell you that I don’t envy what I saw in Crazy Rich Asian movie, but still, that movie doesn’t change the fact that I am grateful for not being born in a rich family. Telling people how I started my career from the scratch has always been my most favorite stories to tell! I’m not ashamed to tell people how poor I once was and how I worked day and night to turn my life to be a better place to live in. All those prides and satisfactions would never exist if only I were born rich 31 years ago.

Be thankful of who we are. We are who we are for a reason, and we are the only person who can make the most of out life path. It doesn’t matter to me how I was born, but it’s very important to me how I live my life, right now, as a grown up.

I hope… I really really hope… I can keep making myself feel proud of myself until the day I die, someday.

If You Ever Have a Self Doubt…

So many years ago, I met one guy who completely changed the way I live my life. My self acceptance, life direction, and even the way I perceive anything fundamental that surrounds me in life has completely changed. With that being said, all the hard works to transform myself was definitely just on me.

It was me who pushed myself to work harder, faster, and smarter. It was me who endured all the pains just to make all may dreams happen. And most importantly, it was me who worked so hard to fight my self doubts. I made peace with myself and I found my way to deal with my very own insecurities.

All these years I’ve been trying so hard to make many people I know to believe in themselves. Oftentimes, they fail to see how good they are somehow. I want them to see what I see but it was never easy to convince people to have some faith on themselves. Until at some point I realize… there’s nobody can change them but themselves.

That boy I met was just a beginning, and the long road I took to be where I am was merely my decision that lead me to “the ending”. I chose to be better and that was only because I chose to believe that I could be better. From all decisions I’ve ever made in life, that was the best of the best decisions of mine and not a second I regret that I decided to take that hard and long road in my life journey.

Hence if you ever have a great doubt on yourself, never ever wait and hope that somebody will come along to change you. Even if that somebody comes into your life, at the end of the day, there is nothing they can do to change you. The decision and the hard works after that decision should be made and done by yourself. Having that kind of person can even be such a burden if it ends up feeling like you fail them for believing in you.

What if you are totally unsure if you can do it? Oh well, fake it util you make it, remember? As shown in a Nike ad; “It’s only impossible until it’s done. Just do it!”

It’s NOT My Job to Be a Likable Boss at Work

A few days ago, I read an article about tips and tricks to be liked by subordinates at work and I asked myself, “Is it really important to be liked by everyone in my team?”

The way I see it, I was not hired to be their friends and to be liked or loved by each and everyone of them. It’s never been my job to be a likable boss in the office.

My job is to train them, to pass them the knowledge I’ve learned in the past 10 years.

My job is to develop the next generation of leaders at work, to build a solid and strong legacy in the Company.

My job is to support them and to stand up for them when they are wronged. They should never feel alone in their battles at work.

My job is to coach them and to let them know the mistakes they did so that they will be able to learn from those mistakes (it might make them hate me, but again, it’s not my job to make them like me).

And finally, my job is to make sure that they are well appreciated for their hard works and contributions. It’s not their job to ask for promotion, bonus, or salary adjustment that they deserve, it’s mine.

If somebody in my team hates me for doing the right thing, if they forget all the good things I’ve done for them just because I fail to entertain them, then it’s not me, it’s them. It might not come out pretty in the hard times, but sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Even with all those pressures and angers I throw, I’m just doing my job. And that is exactly my main job as a leader: lead my team to get the job done. And that’s that.