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Breathe, keep breathing. Don't lose your nerve" -
Radiohead



Page 364: On Being a Good Friend

/ Saturday, March 31, 2018 /
One time I shared a story with one of my good friends, about a guy who didn’t understand why his childhood friends cut his out of their lives when they were a bunch of teenagers. The writer never knew the real reason(s). He explained his assumptions, although he didn’t label them as assumptions. What he emphasized was how he got through it by investing his disappointment and time into something positive. He didn’t try to find out why his friends abandoned him, or so I assumed based on his writing. My friend and I then talked whether we’ve done the kind of stuff, I said I’ve never done it. I guess with me, it usually happens organically, it’s about two other people growing apart and decided to take different paths. I’m not saying it’s not sad, it’s just..it happens sometimes. And maybe it’s sad because I was the one who got cut out by. Haha.

Sometimes I ask why, just to make sure whether the person pushes me out or not. Because I realized reading emotion is not where I shine. Sometimes I don’t. Because it’s obvious. As obvious as when there are only 3 people in the room and you’re the person C and the person A only asks person B what s/he wanna eat and what’s new in his/her life and ignores person C a.k.a you. Haha.

But as I get older, just like that dude, I invest my disappointment and confusion into something positive and to be more empathetic. I see a condition from a different perspective while trying to be a better friend. Even if it means to let some of my friends go.

Because right now, to me, being a good friend is more than just the amount of time you and your friend(s) spend together. What more important – and probably my #1 rule – is that you’re there when your friends need you the most (and ask for it, because it’s easier that way since we’re not Professor X): a shoulder to cry on, a drinking buddy who tries to stay sober to keep them safe, someone who lifts them up when they’re down, be happy for their achievements and happiness, someone who lends them money when you have more than enough while they’re almost broke. You don’t have to be the funniest, the most fun one, or the smartest. In short: be the tool to help them find peace. Even if it means that they want to keep the distance from you, because they think that’s the only way they can be content and happier, for whatever explanations they have. Sometimes, that’s all you can give. Sometimes, you just have to let them go to help them grow. That’s the gesture of kindness too, and it’s not wrong to put it first.


Page 363: On Acceptance

/ Wednesday, February 28, 2018 /


Sadness has its elusive way to attract some sort of creativity, I think. At least for me. Maybe because when we’re sad, we need to get rid of the burden, and by expressing it – hoping that it will help us to understand the issues better – we also enable the disposal. Or maybe because it simply pushes us to do something, an effort to take our mind off it, too. To me, sadness makes me to produce more writings. Not all of them were good, of course. Haha. But some of them were beautiful.

This morning I read my writings in 2016, the most turbulent year in my life so far. And despite all the curses here and there, they’re beautiful in a way. It’s the year that made me decide that 2017 should be about acceptance. Just go with the flow and open myself up to any possibilities.

It’s 2018 already and I realized that 2017 was indeed a year of acceptance.

I accepted that self-love takes time. That the road to learn that you’re enough can be rocky and daunting. That as much as recognition from other people can help you to understand that you’re enough, the acknowledgment comes from within. I learned to remind myself over and over that “I am enough, but I can improve myself on some things. I want to improve myself”. It took a heartbreak, a journey to self-pitying abyss, the “I wish I was prettier, funnier and smarter” repetition to understand that I wasn’t the only one to blame for exhausting relationships I had in the past. I learned that you can’t be everyone’s favorite and that’s okay. I learned what matters to me, and what’s in me that matters to me.

I accepted the fact that I used to spend a lot of time thinking of the past or future, more than I should have. Sometimes, subconsciously, I dwell on intrusive memories of the past - a vortex of things I could've or should've done. Sometimes, I also let myself to frantically think about what may or may not happen in the future. As much as I'm aware that sometimes preparing yourself for the worst isn't completely a bad idea, I also have realized to some degree, it can be unhealthy. That instead of motivates you to be a better person, it makes you to not being grateful of what you have right now – of things that other people wish to have. I accepted that there will be imperfection on each journey, there will be exhaustion and obstacles. But there will be experience too. There will be lessons. And by not living in the present, I may never harvest them because I don't realize when I'm encountering them.

I accepted that my concept of fun may not fit with what others have embraced as fun. Haha. For example, I learned that gossip session filled with petty judgment is inconsequential to me, that talking about other people’s flaws is different from discussing human behavior and problems and learn from it. I admit that in the past, I did judge some people based on their social media posts, but in 2017 I learned that it’s my insecurity and perhaps jealousy that spoke, a manifestation of lack of self-love, too. I’m glad I found a way to tame it.

I accepted that it’s okay to be seen as not so smart when I’m involved in a discussion. And to admit that I don’t know or not familiar with some topic. As an INTP, it’s hard, because this breed really values intelligence therefore it used to be my way to see that I’m worthy. But it made me forgot that what’s more important is to grow and learn. A person who seems not so smart in the present may not be like that in the next 2 or 3 months.

I accepted that I had distorted thought about a better romantic partner. That s/he is simply not the one who’s richer, more successful in a conventional way, or better looking than your previous partner(s). [Although my new one is cuter than my old ones, heehee]. But the one who supports you to be a wiser and more content person and has the same intention to be a better person, too. And holds the same values. I know the feeling, when you want to get a partner who makes other people think that s/he’s a catch, because somehow it reflects that you must be special, too. I’ve been there. But I’ve learned my values too and what kinda person I need, what makes this person special to me. And I’ve learned that to be wanted is different with to be loved. I once misread my own feeling towards this guy. I thought I fell for him. But then I was lucky enough to realize that it’s just part of me that wanted a story after not having one for long, because moving on from him was easy and fast. And although I liked him, I never felt the warmth and tranquility like what I feel when I’m with my boyfriend.

So, cheers to 2017. I don’t know what to call 2018 yet. Maybe it’s the sign that I should stop labeling year. Just improve myself, channeling negative feelings to something positive whenever I have them, and stay kind. And hope that each step I take will lead me to fascinating journeys and help me to grow, and find pieces of serenity.

Page 362: Her Morning Elegance

/ Thursday, November 30, 2017 /
The beautiful song that always calms me down yet somehow makes me contemplate a little bit during rainy day.


The thunder makes her contemplate

She hears a noise behind the gate
Perhaps a letter with a dove
Perhaps a stranger she could love

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain as it pours

Page 361: Perjalanan Singkat ke Dua Kota di Thailand

/ Thursday, November 23, 2017 /
Dua puluh tujuh. Usia ketika kali pertama saya memutuskan untuk memulai tradisi “birthday trip” di minggu yang menyelipkan tanggal kelahiran saya. Pengingat bahwa hidup harus terus melaju. Bahwa hidup bukan hanya Jakarta, kota tempat saya lahir, dibesarkan, dan kembali ditempati selepas kuliah di kota lain. Karena hidup tak lain adalah perjalanan, di mana bukan hanya kaki yang melangkah dari satu titik ke titik lainnya dan menuai lelah di raga, tapi juga pikiran dan jiwa yang mereguk pengalaman dan pelajaran. Lewat tempat baru, situasi baru, orang baru.

Bagi saya, ada kenikmatan menjadi orang asing di tempat asing. Berinteraksi dengan orang lain walau sejenak. Namun yang paling saya nikmati adalah interaksi dengan diri saya sendiri. Tentang memori, tentang perjalanan yang sudah lewat, tentang hidup. Kontemplasi, saat melihat wajah-wajah yang saya tidak tahu namanya di keramaian dengan secangkir kopi yang saya tangkup dengan kedua telapak tangan. Kadang saya teringat kata teman saya kalau mungkin saya sudah bisa punya rumah dan mobil sendiri kalau penghasilan tidak dikeluarkan untuk jalan-jalan. Kalau saya sudah seharusnya menabung untuk masa depan dan mengurangi “hobi” itu. Haha. Karena walaupun tradisi jalan-jalan pada saat bertambah usia baru dimulai lima tahun lalu, jauh sebelumnya saya memang sudah menikmati aktivitas menjelajah tempat baru.

Mungkin teman saya ada benarnya. Tapi kalau saya tidak melakukan perjalanan ke Bali di pertengahan tahun ini mungkin saya tidak akan bertemu sosok itu. Dia, yang mengajarkan saya untuk berani lagi memulai komitmen baru dan belajar untuk mempercayai orang lain, tapi terutama diri saya sendiri, bahwa perjalanan yang kami mulai akan membuat kami menjadi dua individu yang lebih baik. Dia yang akhirnya menjadi rekan saya menjelajah tiga tempat terakhir yang saya kunjungi: Penang di Malaysia, lalu dua kota di Thailand, Chiang Mai dan Pai– meski bukan untuk merayakan ulang tahun saya. Dia, yang juga menyukai secangkir kopi hitam hangat di pagi hari.


Bisa dibilang semua berawal dari Traveloka. Semenjak 2016, traveloka selalu menjadi bagian dari perjalanan saya. Proses mencari tiket pesawat menjadi lebih mudah karena user interface appnya tidak membingungkan. Menurut saya tidak perlu ada panduan karena semua jelas di situ. Favorit saya adalah fitur best pricenya karena mempermudah memilih yang sesuai dengan budget. Cara menggunakan fitur ini juga sangat mudah. Cukup masuk ke aplikasi traveloka, pilih penerbangan, tekan tanggal, lalu aktifkan fiturnya di bagian bawah layar, harga tiket paling murah di tiap hari nya akan muncul. Perjalanan ke Bali waktu itu pun juga mengandalkan traveloka. Senang rasanya kalau melihat angka-angka berwarna hijau yang pas dengan kemampuan kantong. Haha. Merencanakan perjalanan jadi lebih sederhana dan bisa dipersiapkan lebih matang. Terutama untuk para pekerja yang harus mengajukan cuti dulu.

Perjalanan ke Thailand awal November kemarin untuk melihat Festival Loy Krathong dan Yee Peng juga jadi bisa karena dengan adanya fitur best price finder. Pada awal pencarian tiket, saya mencari dulu jadwal penerbangan dan harga tiket yang tersedia dari Jakarta ke Chiang Mai, kota tempat dua festival tersebut berlangsung. Ketika ternyata melebihi budget, saya putar otak mencari jalur lain ke Chiang Mai. Pilihan akhirnya jatuh ke penerbangan ke Bangkok terlebih dahulu, lalu melanjutkan ke Chiang Mai. Fitur best price finder membantu saya melakukan kalkulasi dan komparasi. 


Perjalanan mungkin memang tidak terlalu nyaman karena harus singgah juga di Kuala Lumpur International Airport dan Don Mueang Airport untuk transit, sebelum akhirnya sampai di Chiang Mai. Tapi rentang harga yang cukup jauh dan kesempatan meluruskan kaki sembari bekerja di lounge bandara membuat saya bisa melakukan banyak hal sekaligus dan tidak merasa waktu saya terbuang sia-sia.

Chiang Mai mengingatkan saya akan Yogyakarta. Sulit rasanya untuk tidak mencari perbandingan kota di tanah air sendiri tiap mengunjungi kota di Negara lain. Otomatis saja saat sudah mulai melepas lelah dan mengobservasi situasi kota, bukan karena berjaga-jaga agar bisa mendeskripsikannya ke orang lain. Saya tiba 31 Oktober malam hari. Setelah beristirahat, esok paginya kami mulai menjelajah Chiang Mai. Tidak jauh-jauh, hanya di china town, sekitar tempat kami menginap. Terutama karena saya masih harus menyelesaikan beberapa pekerjaan, begitu juga dia. Hotel tempat kami menginap memberikan informasi mengenai acara-acara yang berlangsung selama festival beserta lokasinya, jadi kami bisa lebih mengatur rencana.

Sebuah kuil di Chiang Mai
Sekadar informasi, Festival Loy Krathong dan Yee Peng adalah dua festival yang berbeda namun diselenggarakan pada kurun waktu yang bersamaan dan kerap disebut Festival Cahaya Thailand (Thai Festival of Lights). Puncak acara Loy Krathong adalah menghanyutkan lentera di sungai. Lentera ini terbuat dari batang daun pisang dan dihiasi oleh bunga, lilin, daun pisang dan batang dupa. Puncak acara festival Yee Peng juga ditandai dengan pelepasan lentera, hanya saja tidak di sungai, melainkan ke langit. Lentera yang terbuat dari kertas akan mengembang karena udara panas yang dihasilkan saat sumbu lentera dibakar. Berdasarkan tradisi, mereka yang berpartisipasi di festival ini bisa mengucapkan permohonan sesaat sebelum menerbangkan atau menghanyutkan lentera karena dipercaya bisa membawa nasib baik selama setahun ke depan.


2 November menjadi hari pembuka festival yang berlangsung selama 3 hari tersebut. Tidak banyak kegiatan pada hari itu, hanya pertunjukan tarian tradisional Lanna di mana banyak perempuan – berdasarkan pemantauan saya mungkin jumlahnya mencapai 100 – memegang lilin yang menyala di sela-sela jari tangan dan berbaris rapi sembari menari di sepanjang jalan. Esoknya, tanggal 3 November, hari yang menjadi puncak festival dimulai dengan seremoni penyalaan lilin di kuil Wat Phan Tao pukul 18.30. Setelah menghabiskan satu jam menyaksikan festival, kami memutuskan untuk bergerak ke lokasi ke-dua yang menjadi pusat pelepasan lentera ke langit yang terletak sekitar 1 kilometer dari kuil tersebut. Di jalan yang saya lupa namanya, ratusan orang berkumpul dan siap menerbangkan lentera. Usai mengucapkan permohonan, kami melepas lentera yang untungnya tidak tersangkut di batang pohon atau terbakar.




Setelahnya kami beranjak untuk mengisi perut dan pulang karena esok akan melanjutkan perjalanan ke Pai. Tanggal 4 November pagi hari, kami berkemas dan menuju stasiun bus Chiang Mai. Pai adalah kota yang bisa dibilang sedang naik daun dan banyak direkomendasikan oleh para traveler dan warga setempat saat sudah di Chiang Mai karena letaknya yang hanya
 
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