2019 is the year when I question everything: my current life, my past, my hopes and dreams, my choices, my circumstances, my friends, my lovers, my parents, my brother, society in general, and perhaps most of all: myself.
This is the year that really found new ways to break my heart.
Before delving deep into the layers of this year, let me start with a confession:
I had a strong intention of getting married by the time I’m 27 years old.
This was set way back when I was 10. I had these life goals etched into my childhood diary:
- To never be out of top 3 in class every semester
- To get into the best SMP and SMA in Bandung
- To spend college life in ITB
- To work in an oil & gas company
- To get married by the time I turn 27 (I had my own reasons why this number was chosen)
and that’s it. It stopped at number 5. Because my 10 y.o. self was intoxicated by the promise of living happily ever after, so she didn’t know what would happen once a girl gets married to her prince charming.
I have to say, she was either a genius or a seriously flawed human being. In one fateful afternoon in Bandung, she made a self-fulfilling prophecy. Only 1 life goal remains, only 1 life goal misses its mark.
It’s one thing to adhere to society’s standard, which I never really cared for anyway, but it is also one thing to see myself failing on my own big picture. The thought of missing the execution of this life-long plan haunted me the entire year. This year, not only society or my family sees me as a failure, but I also see myself as a failure.
This year, I broke my own heart.
That never happened before.
I have a beef with number 7 and its multiples.
My first fight with other kids was when I was 7 (I’ve always been a good kid). My worst teenage year was in 2007. My worst year career-wise was in 2014 (2×7 = 14). Now that I think of it, 27 is also arguably the worst year of my 20s.
Whatever is happening between me and number 7, the symptoms have always been similar.
Five out of seven days, I feel worthless. I cry almost everyday, sometimes without any particular trigger. I tend to avoid going back home, this time it’s made easier by the fact that I don’t live under the same roof with my parents anymore. My sleep is not peaceful – I very often dream, whether it’s a good or bad dream. I have a hard time waking up because every day feels like another battle I want to avoid. My faith in religion takes deep downturns. I eat junk food. Things also escalated into an alarming state, something I’ve never seen or felt before, to the point where I decided to seek professional help.
I was a mess this year. I really was.
On the contrary, work has been going exceptionally well in 2019. It’s always happened this way: when one aspect of my life fails miserably, another one compensates. 2007 introduced me to the world of English debating, the most cherished part of my teenage years. In 2014, I had a very good boyfriend who helped me go through major twists and turns of my early career. In 2019, I have a great boss, a great job, surrounded by great colleagues, and keep getting compliments and some awards.
It didn’t happen without losses. 2019 is, after all, a “reset year” for my company. Looking back, I lost many of my colleagues this year… 16 people in total. I also couldn’t stop working – there were times when I took calls in between bathroom breaks; had night meetings 3-4 days a week; and covered up for colleagues who left. This exhaustion and constantly high stress level led to 7 days of being hospitalized, of which I commented on my first night in, “Wow… I really can sleep at 9 PM now?”.
I applaud my country team for going through this tough year. Maybe we are not the best team out there, but I can say for certain that I’ve witnessed an amazing teamwork right here in Jakarta, this impression that I will always carry with me wherever I go professionally. Against all odds, through literally sweat and tears and countless martabaks, we made this year possible. Maybe I am just a small part of it, but I have an unwavering sense of pride for my country team.
My passport got less stamps throughout the year. After spending more than half of 2018 up in the air, this year I was “grounded” (pun intended :P). It wasn’t without a couple of flights, tho! I spent New Year’s Eve in Brisbane’s Southbank with my aunt’s lovely family. The first days of 2019, we went around Queensland’s beaches then flew to Sydney. I made a mental note to come back to Sydney… not because it was super interesting — I prefer Melbourne 🙂 , but because traveling with a family with kids meant less time spent outside, and I needed to be a bit more adventurous next time.
Right back home, I switched suitcases and flew to Kuala Lumpur for a week-long meeting, after only <10 hours on the ground. That was one large internal meeting – I got the chance to meet so many functions from Engineering to Vertical teams. Truly a networking chance not to waste.
Mid-year, I went back and forth to Surabaya to close a contract. That was one hell of a difficult negotiation. We didn’t always get what we wanted and now I know which skills I need to upgrade myself on.
Thankfully, being hospitalized didn’t deter my flights to Singapore in August. Extra care was taken on what I could and could not eat, but it was refreshing to to let myself be brainwashed by Crotonville once again, after that last ALJ in New York. My key takeaway from the training is this: Conflict is not always bad – sometimes healthy conflicts are needed to move teams forward. I was also grateful that mom could tag along by the weekend!
Towards the end of the year, there were more trips: Bali for Alexey’s wedding, UK for Sasfia’s graduation (also a much needed personal trip), and meetings in Kuala Lumpur again… this time plus Pekanbaru!!
I will let pictures do the talk 🙂
This year, I met new people… or met new “people” (you know, those you thought you knew but turns out you didn’t). Divorce has been a major theme being discussed throughout the year. I would rather not have any of my friends go through it, yet some of them are fighting this battle right this very second. I feel honored to have been trusted with the deepest secrets and thoughts of my good friends, albeit in the most heartbreaking moment of their lives. If my presence can mean something to them, even just a tiny reassurance that they are loved, I am forever grateful.
From friends who are going through divorce, I learned three things:
- The importance of self love, and equally, the importance to know yourself (and I mean really know yourself and what you are able or want to sacrifice by entering a shared life) before settling down;
- Hurt people hurt people, so at one point, someone (hopefully yourself) needs to step in and stop the circle;
- There are traumas and emotional baggages that just don’t heal. The ones you carry with you since you were a kid, and they often involve how parents treated you. If you are not ready to be a parent, don’t – because kids remember, and they should not be a projection of your unfulfilled dreams.
It’s humbling to see how everyone really is fighting, for better or worse, or sometimes for an outcome that nobody can foresee. A divorce is a whole new level of heartbreak, because, as my friend put it,
“I have built my home around this man for 10 years, and he is suddenly out of the picture. So I am now homeless, and leaning to myself is scary. Because if something goes wrong, I am the only one accountable”A dear friend
If anyone is reading this now, may I kindly ask you for a prayer for my friends who are going through this difficult time. I pray that God gives them strength, resilience, and most of all, a pure heart that can let go.
In 2019, dating, funny enough, took quite some space of my already overwhelming year. Dating was another mess I would rather not deal with. And sure, I’ve cried on multiple occasions because of bad dates, ghosting, or an algorithm failed me. Despite all this, I really have to give credits to myself. I chose to be brave. I chose to open my heart. And equally important, I chose when to close it.
I could’ve compromised my belief for an amazing man – except one bit. I could’ve continued chasing the ones who didn’t want to be chased. I could’ve messed up someone’s marriage. I could’ve been with guys whose values didn’t match mine, and surrender to the idea of settling down, without ever really wanted to be with them.
I could’ve chosen to end my singleness this year. But I didn’t.
Because my soul would not let me settle for less. Because my friends’ divorce have been a painful reminder that one should not ignore what the heart is saying, that red flags are there for us to see if we choose to see it.
Sometimes a prayer for someone is answered by letting that someone glides away.
And I don’t want anyone to feel like I don’t love them 100% because I experienced it myself – a loveless marriage is not the way to go, for any party involved, future kids included.
I learn to tune out the “Kamu terlalu pilih-pilih…” noise because, look, when I look deeper and examine what I want out of a relationship, 3 things are apparent: 1) My criterias, if I have any, are not rocket science. If anything, they are attainable; 2) There are legitimate reasons why I cannot fall in love with some guys, no matter how great they are on paper, which I tried to make sense by drawing a mind map; 3) I realize that I may not have any criteria at all. Guys I’ve liked so far are different. There are patterns, but so far my heart instinctively knows whether someone has a shot.
And for this, I trust my heart to make decisions for me.
Looking back, 2019 might have been a year full of struggles, but not without any valuable lessons. I broke my own heart, yet slowly found ways to mend it. Sure enough, the darkest moments of 2019 are omitted from this post because this is, after all, a public space, so I get that one may not have the complete picture of the magnitude of sadness, hopelessness, and disappointments I’ve felt this year.
In 2020, I will continue to dig deeper into myself to really know her. Because whatever and whomever is waiting for me ahead, it requires a different kind of attitude, understanding, and wisdom. This is the year where I have minimum expectation, but I do wish 2020 will be kinder in delivering its lessons. I doubt that I could endure another painful ways to learn. Sometimes, I just want to say that I can be tired too, and I hope the universe listens to my plea this time.
Thank you 2019. On to the next.