This new year, I don’t have a resolution.
I just vowed to be a better person, woman, Muslimah and gained new skills along the way.
But I do want to talk about my 2017 journey that have both strangled my neck and hug me warmly at the same time.
2017 was a year of twists and turns, where I experienced one of the most mesmerizing love, disappointment, confusion and finally found peace. Here are a few amazing moments that I lived through:
Razka Zidan Kramadhira
2017 started charmingly with a new addition to the family. A nephew. A little boy that popped out from my sister’s belly became both the unity and disruption in the family. I strongly felt the whole momentum of how it feels to watch a little human grow up and recorded of how special they mean to our family, especially to both of my parents. Zidan changed our life drastically even. He is such a cutie pie who I get to watch grow month by month, watch his facial changes, new skills and brain development. He is adorable! And I don’t wish him anything else other than to become a wonderful and useful human being who adores life and grateful to Allah SWT.
Heartbreaks & Career Struggle
Towards the end of 2016 I started a new life in another part of Jakarta, where I got a job as a Content Creator for an e-commerce website. As it was a struggle daily commute with the Jakarta traffic, I decided to rent a room nearby the office. Ngekost as we call it in Indonesian. I love having new friends and gained new ideas in the new office, but failed to succeed in making my heart happy with this job. What especially made my heart sick was the distance and the fact that I can only come home once a week to see my nephew 😦 and it was always lonely at the Kost-kostan. The job itself wasn’t as satisfying as I thought either. Oh, the end of 2016 was also when I failed my 1+ year relationship with a man whom I adore but our relationship was a challenge in the real world, hence we always used to joke: “in another life, ok?” Then when that expires, the beginning of 2017 felt like walls I keep bumping into at every corner I walked in. I was lost hopeless and helpless. I held onto friends and family that was there, but never brave enough to talk about it.
Maturity and Bravery
Mid year 2017, I was still holding on to my life ashamed and hurt. I thought the idea of traveling can maybe cure the pain. So I went to several places this year, starting April to Medan with my best friends, then Ujung Kulon as a tour leader and Belitung with my mother. I enjoyed every places as there are always beautiful new stories to tell. However, it didn’t cure me.
I turned to Allah SWT many times during this dissatisfying part of my life. I used Ramadhan this year wisely to surrender to Him. I was ashamed that I felt this way, because compared to many other people out there, I should’ve been more grateful. Yet here I was, crying and hurt feeling sorry for myself. Then I braved out and convinced myself that I have a problem. I thought to myself out loud (it was my 2017 resolution), I was depressed. That was an issue I realized due to not having anyone understand my heartbreak, my disappointment, my dissatisfaction and loneliness. My best friend and close friends one by one left the country to study or was busy with their own life. I was lonely. But on the outside, I am a shell. A tough one. No one probably realized it.
I always thought it was the age 25 kicking in. The Mid Life Crisis, I thought. But soon after I told my best friend that I was depressed. I took to action. Somehow my life just turns to many chances that lead me to goodness by Mid year 2017. I was introduced to yoga (finally! – another one of my resolution written here) by a family friend who suddenly gave the contact of my now yoga instructor. I went to her class once, and suddenly felt cured. I finally understood that by listening to our own body, we could find peace and slow down our mind from thinking too much. Peace and the idea of focusing only on my breath could calm me down.
I finally realize that all those praying to Allah SWT was still hurtful because I was so focused on whining and complaining about ‘Why? Why me?’. Where I also needed yoga to turn my mind back to calm, collected and positivity. This finally opened my mind bit by bit and slowly trust His plans for me.
Since a few months after the new year, I kept thinking to leave my job and pursue other things, such as business. I needed to do that to release all of the negatives that’s been clouding up the office. Then right before Ramadhan, suddenly my life just magically turns again. I was braving myself to quit my job, told my boss and somehow ended up getting laid off instead. The whole company went downfall just right before Ramadhan. It was a shockingly sad moment yet I felt a breeze of relieve too. And made me feel grateful because I got to focus on spending Ramadhan wisely, surrendering and be surrounded by family. After all, it was a fortunate downfall because we were all still paid for the next 3 months ahead.
Learning and Gaining
By this part of the year, I couldn’t stop praying for everything that Allah has given me up to this moment in my life. During Eid Fitr break, my family and I went to a wonderful part of Indonesia, in Tanjung Puting, Central Kalimantan. We went to see Orang Utans in the wild and watched how wonderful people are taking care of this human-like creatures. After the break I vowed to solely focus on learning more and more about business and working for myself. Simply because I think it was part of Allah’s plan that I got laid off and can finally focus on how to build my own happiness that’s fulfilling.
I got in touch with my old colleagues, friends, and mutuals of my sister that could possibly give me a freelancing job to gain a few bucks here and there. I was booking and attending workshops; from social media management, how to start a business, introduction to finance, travel writing and photography, foreign language gatherings to short movie screenings just make a positive and beneficial outcomes for my time as an unemployed person. I even went to Penang to become a volunteer in a travel conference event, ZafigoX and met so much wonderful people– sisters that I stayed in touch with until now. I was exposed to so much learnings and gaining networks I never thought I needed and it was making me feel a little more and more useful to the world. My heart was happy. I was ready to feel alive again.
In September, my brother had a graduation in Malang, so we ALL had to be there. He’s made such great progress from his years in college and it was good to celebrate with the family. My brother had also promised me to go diving together in Tulamben, Bali, but since he already started working, he had to cancel. As an opportunist, I couldn’t let go of the chance of diving in Bali while I had. So right after Malang, I flew straight to Bali to go on a solo diving trip. At first it was only Tulamben, then as it turn out my old colleague offered to dive in Nusa Penida as well, as it was “MOLA MOLA SEASON“! Saw the price and I couldn’t say no. To see Mola Mola in the deep was one of my bucketlist.
While I was in Tulamben and traveling alone in Bali, I gained so much respect for solo travelers in learning how to mingle with strangers and be trustful enough to let them help you out during your travels. I spent so much of my time in Tulamben and Karangasem area with the residents of the dive center, they took me to places I’ve listed I want to go, but they gave me so much more! So other than the beautiful under water heaven that I got to see while diving, I also experienced so much culture and nature just all around the area.
Bali was always a fun topic to talk about in my previous relationship. How wonderful it would be to live just across the beach, absorbing culture and traditions everyday, and the experiences that we had in Bali. My initial plan going to Bali was just to spend a whole week adding more dive logs on record, not until those forgotten thoughts took me back.
Instead of mourning about the thought and the loss, I let the memories absorbs through me and face it off. I let myself thought of him. I used all the photographic memories of him in Bali, all of our stories and experience to confidently walk it off. By the end of my trip, I said good bye. I left it there and had full closure. I never felt so light that whole year after that was done. It wasn’t until you finally had to face the fear that’s eating inside of you, you can finally let go wholeheartedly and felt relieve.
Fourth and Last Quarter
Deen Over Dunya
In September, a month before my 26th birthday I wanted to finish my life long goal which I started when I first started wearing the hijab. I want to khatam or finish reading the Quran. I picked it back up during Ramadhan, and vowed that I shall finish it by my birthday. So I read and learned the meaning slowly but sure. 14th of October came and I was still a few more chapters left to finish. It wasn’t an easy task, mind you. Because I didn’t want to just finish it, I was to read the meaning and try to understand Allah’s words.
It wasn’t until you read through it all and find lists of the things you took advantage of in this very life that’s not even eternal. Reading it got easier day by day, and the meanings got me to so many questions. I didn’t finish it until the end of October, but it was still good enough. At 26 years old, I finally khatam the Quran. I was left vulnerable and open and it just felt like all the angels were holding me in their arms, congratulating me. It was that big sigh of relieve and proudness of myself, and I dedicated the achievement to both my parents.
Allah SWT led me to more goodness before the end of the year, as I suddenly found my old schoolmates created a Muslim youth community called Nasr. I straight away contacted her and asked how to join. I didn’t mind the fact that we were not close at all back in school, all I wanted was to come together with other youths and learn more about Islam. Though new, Nasr has an active Quran reading classes and monthly Majelis Ta’lim or gathering and study. I felt connected and happy as I get to spend time with other youths that care and support each other about deen over dunya, in a more peaceful and mindful way. Reconnecting with the Almighty and helping remind others to desire Allah’s teachings is none but a fulfilling moment that grew in my heart.
As of career, 2017 was a lot of challenge, until this very moment in the year where my dream to become a digital nomad finally came true. In the beginning of the year I read an article about how a girl is making money by being a digital nomad. I had to read about it and loved the idea! Having to work remotely and get paid or still making money while traveling places! I had to share the article to my dad and told him “I want to be like that.” Then after attending one of the speaker’s talk in ZafigoX on Women Digital Nomads and how she lives, I was hooked. I got so much learning from Chrys Tan, the creator who is a Singaporean but have lived all over the world just by living as a digital marketing executive. All her works are done online!
After the first few success freelance jobs (I was involved in making Giant Pandas popular in Indonesia, by the way!), I gained more and more alhamdulillah. I finally come up with new ideas to build my own business based on my passion. I got it started, and know that it will have its hit and miss, but I am staying hopeful. By the end of the year, I was called on to a promising full-time remote jobs where I don’t need to be in an office but can work from home or from anywhere I like. Having these jobs, my schedule and time managing gone crazy and that’s exactly how I should be learning! There is no success to a dream without its downfalls. And I am trusted by Allah to handle this job, so I am to take charge of it carefully and not take advantage of it. I am super grateful, alhamdulillah.
If I were to draw a chart, 2017 for me could really be seen as a wonderful increment of life from crashing to winning, in just a span of 1 year, I am pretty lucky. I am thankful everyday and wished to never take advantage of what God has given me.
Here’s to a more fulfilling and positive 2018 and many more years ahead!