Random Act of Kindness

Living in a big, metropolitan city, I learn a lot about being independent. Drive alone, eat out alone, even I know some people that go to the cinema on their own. I begin to think that I can do it all by myself, no need to depend on other people.

The frequency of having interaction with strangers is minimum, even though there are thousands of people in this city. One because we are told to be cautious of strangers. Two because we’re busy with our phones. Three because (related to the previous paragraph) we don’t think it’s necessary, we can live on our own. As we’re independent, we also think other people are too. We don’t need them, they don’t need us. So we don’t talk or even smile. We live our own lives, separately.

Yet my experience yesterday has taught me a different thing. I can do many things all by myself, I am independent. But it does not at all decrease the value of interacting with other people. Random act of kindness done by strangers still warms my heart. When someone shares something I don’t actually need but she shares it anyway, it fulfills my soul. Amidst the crowd of people who don’t bother, there are people who still care. We get very used to be independent and ignorant, we forget how good it feels to care for people. It’s like finding a rare gem.

My mom once said that we have to pay attention to our surroundings. Maybe someone actually needs our help. Maybe they don’t. But offering a helpful hand or asking “are you alright” or giving a quick smile, it touches someone’s heart. And we definitely don’t know how much a small act of kindness can change a life. So, let’s be a part of it?

♥️, Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

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All I’ve Been and All I’ve Learned

It has been such a long time since I sat still and wrote, contemplated. I feel like I’m losing my muse – even worse now I feel like the ability to control my inner peace has decreased slowly. But I won’t let that happen. That’s why today I dedicate this very time to think and write. A blissful, serene moment I have missed for months. Why? Well, maybe because my life has been rolling with a very fast pace that I become so busy trying to keep up with it. And today I will look back, to where I’ve been. And hopefully I can find something I have learned throughout this time.

Life has been good. By good, it doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Good means despite of all the unfavorable things that occurred to me, I haven’t – even for once – thought of trading my life with anything else. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Life moves really fast, sometimes I want to slow down. Embracing things I have now and letting go of everything that’s now gone. ‘Me time’ is hardly experienced, or maybe it’s not. It’s just me who has not spend it wisely. Work, social life, family matter, has consumed most of my time. My mind is always fully occupied with stuffs. The only time I have for myself is when I’m sleeping or going to the gym.

I’ve been going through a life which should be familiar for grown ups; full of responsibilities. Everyday feels like juggling from one role to another plus trying to stay sane. Sometimes it’s really chaos and messy, but I’m glad I survived. I’m glad I managed to stay sane, too.

Lately I just go with the flow (I don’t know if this is good or bad, some people are obsessed with life goals and I just couldn’t care so much about it right now). I’m doing my best, that’s all I can think of. And if it makes me happy now, it’s all that matters.

Now the hard part.. what I have learned. Not doing any reflection and contemplation does not do any good to myself, really. I feel like I’m missing out the lessons God have put in between the problems, the successes, the failures, and the everyday life. I managed to collect some, though, I hope it’s enough – at least for the next couple of weeks.

It’s amazing how much we can learn when things don’t go our way. Every time we struggle to deal with unfavorable thing, we are learning. We drill our patience and ego, for example. It’s up to us, whether to choose learning or yawning and complaining (or maybe we can just choose all three).

We only know so little about someone, be careful of what we’re going to say to them. If it’s too late, then apologize. It’s better than being ignorant.

There are still good things in this world. Though it’s not ours – yet. Cause maybe it’s ours tomorrow, or the next day after tomorrow, or anytime soon.

We don’t need to tell everything. Big challenge for me because I like to tell even the tiniest thing that happens in my life. But I know no one wants to hear about it forever, so I have to learn to be enough with myself. No one needs to know everything about my life.

It’s okay. I used to be quite hard on myself, I have to always look at my life in the best way possible. I have to response to anything in a positive way. I have to be happy 24/7, fake it till I make it. But lately I just can’t. I once felt so miserable that can’t think positively. I let myself be miserable and angry and sad. I let myself be less friendly to people for a while. I let myself be super sarcastic. After that moment I realize that it’s okay. It’s okay to let our guards fall sometimes. It’s okay to let the negative side of ourselves out sometimes. It’s okay.

Endurance requires lot of efforts, but it will be good for us. When I run, I always feel like I want to give up. I hate running so much. 5 minutes run is way too much for me, while I can survive 2 hours zumba. So I challenge myself to be able to run longer. The same goes to everything that I hate but is actually good for me. Like letting people go, controlling my crave for food, and saving money. They all are hard but I have to endure, somehow.

That’s all I’ve been and all I’ve learned.

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

 

 

A very honest post

It gets lonely sometimes.. when the day ends; I get home, crawl into bed and hide under the blanket.

It’s amazing how being busy can make us ignore disturbing thoughts. Yet every night, there’s a solitary moment we all have to go through.

Having nothing to take care of, all the brain can think is about the matters we have been neglecting all day long. It goes round and round until I get so tired and finally sleep. And that seconds before I close my eyes, is the time where I feel lonely.

I wish there’s someone I could rest my mind to.

Since there’s none, for now, this solitude should be enough. Myself, should be enough. Keeping everything that pops and wanders on my mind to myself has to be enough. Having myself is enough.

When the loneliness tries to break in, I know it’s time to sleep.

The Lonely Rhino

The last male northern white rhino has died. The species will soon be extinct. What is more saddening is that his daughter and granddaughter will never meet the love of their lives. How sad it is to live alone… knowing that there will be no friends, no one to share anything with.

I don’t want to be that rhino. I don’t want to feel lonely.

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

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