Women and Their Choices

One of the things that I’m grateful for is to be surrounded by inspiring women. A friend at work, managers and director in the company I work for, good friends of mine, people I follow in social media, family members, and of course my own mother. What makes it interesting is that all of those women live a different path of life. They are inspiring and successful in their own way.

That makes me realize that there’s no single ‘right path’ for women to follow in this world. But, there are some paths that are accepted by the society (and maybe the norms of a culture). As consequences, there are paths that aren’t.

Men also make choices, just like women. However, they rarely get questioned by their choices. Unlike women. Women and their choices are often (if not always) questioned. As if there’s a rigid rule that women should life this way and not the other way.

In fact, there’s none. Some women choose to get married young, some choose later. Some women choose to have kids now, some choose later or even not at all. There are women who work, some others don’t. And the list goes on.

I know we can’t shut everybody’s opinion. There’s always someone who doesn’t have the same perspective, who see things differently. It doesn’t mean that they’re right and we’re wrong or vice versa. Just because something works best for them, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best thing for everybody.

What we all can do, just like what we all do to deal with differences, is to respect each other’s choices. Don’t judge. Don’t stereotype. Don’t measure success only from one perspective. Always try to look for the best thing in a person and respect her. Appreciate her. Compliment her for her ability to reach the position she has now. Congratulate her for getting a PhD. Compliment her for raising a brilliant kids.

There’s a reason why a woman chooses particular path, and who are we to judge if we haven’t been on her shoes? Women who don’t get married, maybe they really want to but there’s just seems to be no man that fit to their criteria. Mothers who work, maybe they want to give all her time for their kids but they must support the family. Wives who haven’t got kids, maybe they have tried all their best to be a mother. Those awesome women who pursue high education, they just love learning and in the future their knowledge maybe very useful for the next generation.

Seek for a good thing and say only kind words (and we can give constructive advice and feedback, too. Constructive, not destructive). Because for a woman, to live a life with their choices is hard already. Thus, to be able to live a life she’s chosen is actually an achievement. Respect her.

All women are struggling hard to make a life worth living, to contribute as much as they could to the world (just like normal human being). Insights that I got from reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is that no woman is living an ideal life. We all are juggling all our responsibilities, trying to maintain the expectation of the societies. And for that simple reason, it’s clear enough that we all should be considerate of each other instead of destroying each other’s choices and values.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

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Thoughts on Finding the One Part IV

I’m done with guessing how would it feels like when we finally meet the one. The ‘you just knew’ or ‘your stomach fills with butterflies’ is an abstract description and I hardly find anyone that makes me feel that way. Therefore I have to say that I’m going to stick with the idea that when a guy wants to be with you, he’s going to show it. He’s going to make sure that you know how he feels and it should be crystal clear to you. He won’t make you wonder.

He lets you destroy the perfect plan he has made initially and manages to squeeze you in to his life agenda. And your life together will start as soon as possible.

If all other things are checked, I guess that’s how I’m going to finally find the one.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Life in Constant Gratitude

2017 has been beyond awesome. There’s no other way to best describes the year other than: life in constant gratitude. God, life, people, and the whole universe have been so kind to me throughout the year. I would be such a terrible person if I don’t end the year feeling content and happy.

On Passing the Storm

Life is an endless series of trials and challenges. We all are created in such perfection and complemented with all the skills and ability to conquer the storm that life throws us. Or at least to survive it. Once in a while, life surprises us with unexpected and unfavorable circumstances. Failed at a test, missed a deadline, trapped in a job we hate, unable to get what we wanted the most in life, and all the things that are off the plan (our plan, of course).

I’m lucky that my parents raised me very well and I have such an amazing support system around me. They all have helped me went through all those unfavorable situation and what’s even better is that they all have accompanied me in every best moments of my life. I’m grateful for my ability to control my emotion during the storm, to stay positive, to remain calm, and to finally sort things out.

On Friendship

As we grow older, our inner circle gets smaller and smaller. We become less comfortable with too many people around (well, I am). I choose the people I want to be very close to and I keep them around. I am very glad that my closest friends are those who are kind, who bring so much joys, who encourage me to be a better person, who share their stories and their knowledge, who have been there for me, who discuss all the important things in life with me, and who have stayed and kept up with me all these times. I truly treasure the friendship I have now and I am fully aware that we might grow apart at some point in life, so I just want the guys to know that I can’t thank God enough that they have been for once a very close friend of mine that I love very, very much.

When you’re twenty-something, it seems like your best friends are the only one who understand you the most. And that’s a valid reason enough to be grateful for their presence.

On Life Lessons and Staying Inspired

I remember during an interview I was asked “how do you see yourself in life?” and that time I spontaneously answered “I always learn, who I am today is not who I was one or two years ago.” For the sake of keeping my own promise, I continuously seek for lessons in life. In fact, it’s not hard and life lessons are actually everywhere. The things we see, people we meet, things that happen to us, etc. I am blessed with such life that teaches me lessons everywhere it takes me. In 2017, I learned especially self-value and inner peace. Self-value is different from being narcissist or snob. Self-value simply means acknowledging ourselves and know how much we’re worth so that we will never settle for less than we deserve. When we value ourselves, we will love ourselves and do what’s best for us. For instance, start to control the sugar intake, take care of our body, etc. It’s simply another way of being grateful to God. Inner peace is something everyone has to master. Or else we will get easily pissed off and things will get messy very quickly, we’ll end up regretting. Having an inner peace (although not all the time), I found myself living a more relaxed life. In the midst of everything moving in such a rush, I feel utterly relieved to be able to slow things down.

Life lessons help us grow. Stay inspired, too. It keeps us motivated in life. I am surrounded by amazing people that inspire me to achieve great things in life and in the afterlife, to be kind, to live healthy, and to live the life in the best way possible. Inspiration does not come from other people only, we can read a book and be inspired. Or watch movie. We just have to keep looking for it, because things like motivation and inspiration are not given, they are earned.

On Love

One of the greatest things in life is to love and to be loved. I have sooo much love around me this year. I’m grateful that love is here all along and for once I took the chance (and the risk) to love again. No matter how it turned out, I’m glad that I opened my heart and I’m glad it happened. I’m still being very careful at loving, but I know now that I’m capable of loving again.

On Travel and Adventures

I didn’t go to too many new places this year, but I do have some great adventures. I went to my very first caving experience in 2017. One hell of a activity – probably won’t do it ever again. I also went to Labuan Bajo and Palembang, both remarked my first time to step my two feet in Nusa Tenggara and Sumatera. Since my everyday life has been pretty much mediocre, time-off brings such pleasures and recharges my whole self.

 

I’m overwhelmed with all good things that happened in 2017, I can barely remember things that pissed me off or made me sad. I’m very hopeful for 2018, as I have sooo many wishes I would like to come true next year *fingerscrossed* 🙂

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

The Truth

“Isn’t there a danger that you’ll get so good at being single, that you’ll miss out on the chance to be with somebody great?”

There is a bliss in solitude. There is a pride of being independent. And only once one can feel joy out of solitude, she can feel joy out of being with someone else. But the question remains. How good at being single does one has to be?

Some people have been living a tough life, some others are having a rather easy life. Several conditions in life (and in love) shape people to be strong, independent, and maybe cold. The characters reflect on their face and the way they behave. It somehow creates a barrier for other people to see through. Independent person is often avoided by other people (especially by those whose looking for a partner), people who enjoy solitude are sometimes avoided too because other people think that they are already happy and not keen on having a relationship.

Should we not try so hard to be good at being single then…?

What they don’t know is no matter how good someone is at being single, there’s always a room for someone else. There’s a blank space that is waiting for someone to occupy. There’s a secret longing of being with someone. No matter how much independent a person is and how much she can sort things out on her own, she’d love to have a company; a partner to go through life.

Humans are created in pairs and we’re by nature a social creature. There’s a need and a desire to interact with other people, to start a conversation. One can never always survive alone. There is a point in life where a person finally decided that he/she is ready to collaborate with another human being and survive life together.

I hope when the time comes, despite how good I am at being single, I don’t miss out the chance to be with someone great. Ever.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Books I Read in 2017 (a Short Review)

Never did I take record of books that I have read in a year. I think it’s the right time now to start doing it because I read some great books and they deserve a short review. I finished 8 books in total (fail to finish another 3 or 4 because they didn’t hook me there or because I couldn’t follow what the book is saying). Here’s the list of the 9 books I read and maybe it can be your list for 2018!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

It was my second Haruki Murakami book. I still enjoyed how the author wrote the story and most importantly, how the book contains a lot of inspiring quotes. Typical to other books written by Murakami, the story of Norwegian Wood is dark and deep. As expected, the book also bluntly describe all the occasions in the story. It tells a tale of a man who can’t let go of a woman in his past. Even though in the present there’s a very attractive woman that loves him. The book taught me (and perhaps other readers too) that we should open our heart, never cling to the past, and never take anything we have right now for granted.

Favorite quote from the book: “what a terrible thing it is to wound someone you really care for and to do it so unconsciously.” It reminds me to always be considerate, especially for people i care for.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason

This one I definitely recommend. The title might sound a little bit rude but the content is awesome. In life, we often give a f*ck (read: throw our mind) to things that actually don’t matter. As a result, our happiness reduced. We become easily pissed and feel exhausted all the time because we let little things bother us. The book tell us how not to give a f*ck unnecessarily. We ought to choose the thing we deliberately give a f*ck to. The book underlines that we all are going to die anyway, this life is temporary. So why spend a single time overthinking and bothering about things that have very little value in our life? I feel very positive after reading the book. I stop thinking too much about what other people say and I try to keep looking for little things that makes me happy instead of the other way around. I’m a person who get pissed quite easily but now I can regain my inner peace rather quickly.

Happy Little Soul by Retno Hening

Who does not love Kirana? A very famous toddler on Instagram who will brighten up everybody’s day. In this book, her mother shares the journey of raising Kirana until she becomes a very happy toddler. Although I am not a mother (yet), I learn quite a lot from the book. It emphasizes the importance of quality communication between parents and children. For instance, how parents should really pay full attention the their children when they are having a conversation. There are many other useful parenting tips that we can learn from the book. At first I don’t expect the book to be very enjoyable to read. It turns out that Kirana’s mother has a good writing skill. Plus, the book comes in full color.

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Another Haruki Murakami’s book. This time, the book consists of several short stories. All the stories take place in Japan, after (or near the time of) an earthquake. I’m honestly not a big fan of this book. There is this one story about a frog that can walk and speak like human, trying to safe the world.. and I don’t like reading fantasy (that’s why I watched, not read, Harry Potter). Unlike other Murakami books, this one does not leave me any moral message.

L’art de la Simplicité by Dominique Loreau

The initiative of tidying up or decluttering has been popular this year. There are massive books that discuss how to declutter and how it can benefits us. I did not have any intention to apply this way of living, to be honest, because I found it pretty extreme to some extent (also because I pretty much declutter my wardrobe regularly). The book is divided into several sections, from social life, wardrobe, and healthy lifestyle. I have to both agree and disagree to whatever the book is saying. For example, I completely agree that it is better to buy one expensive cardigan with fine quality in neutral color that is versatile and will last a lifetime than a cheap colorful cardigan that easily torn or will only be used once or twice. But I disagree that we have to limit how much we eat, especially dessert. So, I guess I will just take whatever suits me and leave the rest.

Crazy Rich Asian by Kevin Kwan

This one is a very fun book! Highly entertaining. It’s my type of novel, just like Shopaholic and Revenge Wears Prada. Easy to read, perfect for a laid back weekend. They will make the book into a movie as well, fyi. It tells a story about crazy rich Asian people and their jetset life, complete with all the conflicts. The plot is actually pretty common, where a very rich guy dates a girl from middle class family. But the conflicts around the main plot is very interesting. I’m currently reading the second book of the trilogy and I’m all excited.

Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan

Nouman Ali Khan is very popular nowadays and we can listen to his lecture on Youtube. The content of this book is not much different from the content in some of his videos on Youtube. In fact, reading the book feels like listening to his lecture. The way they build the sentence is as if it is a transcript or subtitle from the video (maybe indeed it is). But I don’t really mind that. The topics inside the book are very relatable to our daily life and I think the book is a good reminder for us all. Every time we feel down, we can reopen the book and choose one topic to read. Some people asked me where to buy the book. I’m not quite sure where to get it in Indonesia, as I got it overseas. I hope they import the book soon.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A very touching book that made me so emotional almost in every page. It is a story about a doctor who is diagnosed with cancer. He has to survive for as long as he could and he also need to rebuild his life and wisely choose how he’s going to spend the rest of the time that he has left in his life. I couldn’t hold my tears when I read the epilogue written by the doctor’s wife. I can’t remember any quote from the book but this has changed the way I see life and death.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg attempts to encourage all women to be in a significant position in their career. This book is about feminism, a very positive feminism. It’s not about woman reaching out a tremendous career and neglect all other responsibilities. It’s about how woman can have both career and life, to some extent. There’s a balance between the two, not perfect but manageable. What I like the most about this book is that the author does not think that one woman is better than the other (e.g career woman better than housewife or vice versa). The most important thing I learn from the book is to respect each woman’s choice and celebrate it. Woman, regardless of their choice, has to be beneficial for her surroundings and for the society. Either by having a good career, volunteering, or fully committed to raising brilliant children. To be able to balance their life, women need good life partner whose willing to co-work inside the house and equally take responsibility in parenting and household activities. The book is very encouraging and it’s not in the extreme side. It’s a must read (for both woman and man!).

So that’s my list for 2017. I don’t have a list yet for 2018 but surely there will be plenty of good and inspiring books to read 🙂

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Notes on Letting Go

Sometimes we fall in love and we try to stay in love but it just doesn’t work out. It doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, though. It shouldn’t be a sad kind of letting go. In fact, we can actually learn to appreciate things differently from it. Not all that ends are hurt.

Above all, we should accept and embrace that things don’t always go as expected. Yet it is still wonderful that we have once experienced love, even for only a short period of time. It was once there. We were once happy. It was once a good kind of love, a love that enlightened our days, that made us excited to see what the future would brings.

We ought to be grateful for the experience. For being courageous enough to open our heart and try. For believing, all over again, that all love meant was to be kind. It never meant to hurt us in any way.

Only by this time, we’re able to peacefully let go. And if one day it comes back, maybe it is meant to be. If not, better things await.

Have faith 🙂

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

It’s Okay, It’s Love

Falling in love was once easy. Two people meet and gravitate towards each other. The chemistry is built effortlessly and the emotion flows naturally. The two are happily committed to one another and foolishly think that the relationship they’re in right now will last a lifetime.

Falling in love gets harder, especially after we had our heart broken by someone we truly love. Someone we once thought will be our better half in some years time.

This time, not only the heart that decides. The brain gives it’s perspective too. It has a lot of considerations and unnecessary (or sometimes necessary) anxieties about us throwing ourselves to the same feeling that had destroyed us in the past.

It’s not merely about i like him and he likes me anymore. We start to think about whether it is worth all the risks. We ask repeatedly to ourselves if it’s truly the love that we deserve. We over analyze everything. We doubt our feelings. We become hesitant in falling in love. It is a tight war between denial and acceptance, we can’t seem to be honest about our own feeling because we’re too afraid of another disappointment.

Some people then choose to be alone and avoid falling in love.

A guard is built, strong and steady, to protect the heart from allowing another bad person to enter. Yet some people say that we will only get better once we open our heart. Let the new beginning comes in. So then we try, slowly letting other people come. And everyday we pray that this time is going to be different, this time the love will stay forevermore. When one day it feels different and it somehow makes perfect sense with this person, we have to be honest. If it’s love then it’s love. And it’s okay to love.

When we love, it feels somehow terrifying. But… it’s okay, it’s just love.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Thoughts on Finding the One Part III

Have I told you that I love wedding very very much? Well, if I haven’t, I do. I love how the ceremony radiates happiness to people and brings a warm feeling in their hearts. To me, it’s magical. There’s something about it that cannot be described into words. This weekend I witnessed the wedding of two of my best friends. It got me to think, again, about finding the one.

The story of how my best friends met their spouse is somewhat unexpected. The first best friend, he met his wife when he was traveling. Back then, one chance came to him. One little chance that he bravely took, which was to talk to the girl, brought him to his true love. Who would guess that a small talk can help you in finding the one? The second best friend is not much of a difference. The man she’s now married to has never crossed her mind before. Without warning, he came to her life and decided that she is the one. Then she said yes.

Love comes in the most unexpected way, some said. For the two of my best friends, it’s true. But I personally think, sometimes love comes to us and somehow we already predict that love is going to happen. So it’s also expected and pretty munch predictable. Because for some people, they have built a long and strong relationship before they decided she/he is the one. Some others are trapped in a platonic relationship until they finally realize that they are a match made in heaven. Every love story is unique. There’s no two identical love story. Thus, I believe, we have to be open to many different opportunities and possibilities. The expected, the unexpected, the ‘too good to be true’, the ‘there’s no way I can be with her/him’.. anything. And once we realize that we have settle our heart to someone, we should be truly honest with ourselves, admit and embrace the feeling. Because in any love story, whether expected or unexpected, all it takes is one chance and a bold courage to make it come true. Without being honest with ourselves, how are we going to see the opportunity and build the courage?

As Stevie Wonder said, for in romance all true love need is a chance.

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

What Stays the Same

I have been scrolling down through my old blog since the afternoon. It brings me nostalgic kind of feeling.. I have been blogging since 2011 and there were just so many things, so many stories and feelings. I can’t help myself to smile.

One thing I realize is that other than the style of my writing, everything else stays the same. I often talk about happiness and life. I always write a birthday post (except on my 22nd birthday, I don’t know why). Porridge still is my favorite food. Airport has always been one of my favorite places on earth. I was more open back then, I wrote pretty much in daily basis and I talked a lot about my life – which I actually still do, but I now wrap it differently.

After all, it’s good to know that some things stay the same and remain unchanged 🙂

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Keep Calm and…

This one post is rather spontaneous than planned. I was having a writer’s block before and then I decided to re-read my old blog, the one I wrote when I was in university. I found one article and I think it will be nice to re-write it. And though I can just copy and paste the words here, for the purpose of having a consistent writing style, I have to re-make the article. Please enjoy 🙂

Several days ago I re-opened my postgraduate personal development plan assignment. For that assignment, I had to create a survey and ask people (obviously those who knew me) what they see as my strength and weakness. I saw a consistency in the respondents’ answers. Most of them thought that calm, well organized, well prepared, very detail in planning, and a good planner are my strengths. I didn’t realize that I am such a person, until the survey. The survey was conducted a little bit more than a year ago. And today, during my visit to my blog that I wrote five years ago, I found a piece of writing about keeping calm. I was sharing how I learned to keep calm in that article. There were seven ways to keep calm that somehow worked for me. Guess what? The second one was to be well-planned. So, who I was in 2016 (I hope it is still who I am now), has been there since five – or many more – years ago. Characters and habits take a good deal of time to built, yes?

Here’s the 7 ways to keep calm (as written in 2012, but I edited the explanation a little bit).

  1. Pray. Before anything, pray. Sometimes we do everything first, then pray last. Well, it should be the other way around. God promises that He will not burden anyone beyond what he can bear. So this is a very good reason to stay calm and not over-worried about something.
  2. Arrange the schedule and don’t be a deadliner. There comes a time when we have too much on our plate. The only way to sort them out is to get all of them done. Make plans, set a priority rank for each task, and do it one by one. Having an everyday to-do list is a life savior. And never delay what we can do now because, as wise man said, later sometimes become never.
  3. Make sure to have some fun. Even in the most hectic time and the hardest situation, allow yourself to have some fun once in a while. It is important to keep ourselves calm and to release the stress. Don’t go too overboard, but do have fun.
  4. Self-assuring. Repeat to yourself that this too shall pass. Remind your self to be calm. Take a deep breath. And do it all over again every time you are about to explode.
  5. Be opportunist. This may sounds negative but what I actually meant was to realize when an opportunity comes and to know when to take it. This will get things done even quicker and solve problems too. Thus, no need to be anxious and worry.
  6. Focus. Multitask is the opposite of a catalyst. It will lower our productivity. We can handle so many things at the same period of time. But each of them has to has a slot time. Focus on one task at a time. This is why point number 2 is utterly important.
  7. Pray. Again. When we have put all our efforts, pray. ‘God, please do not make this world as our biggest concern.’ If nothing is a big concern, then why worry, right?

 

Keep calm, and… well, just keep calm because it feels good.

By the way, if you want to read the original article, you may read it here.

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia