Alright! I think I’m ready to summarize all life lessons I get this year! Or is it too early? Anyways, since I’m so ready to finish this year and start the new one, I’ll post my annual reflections earlier than usual and perhaps update it next month in case I learn something new.
Above is the paragraph I wrote for this post’s prologue because the majority of this post was written back in November 2018. Well, jokes on me! Turns out I wasn’t yet finished taking lessons from 2018! Plus, I also happen to have a pretty hectic December 2018, thus I had to postpone posting my draft and save it for New Year. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Disclaimer: the word ‘love’ will be repeated numerous times from this point onward, please bear with it. Still, no worries, the loves I mean onward aren’t those cheesy ones!
This year, I learn lots of things, but if I should summarize it into a sentence, I might say:
Thank you Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan for this beautiful movie I watched years ago, but still remember the lines until now.
The year 2018 is the year I bear responsibilities for the decisions I made back in 2017, the year I get to know beneath the surface of many people, the year I let all my guards down and be vulnerable to a small group of friends, the year I tried some new things (and failed miserably on some attempts), the year I do nothing, and the year I fall further for those worth falling for. From all those experience, I learn that:
1. The difference love makes has a p-value less than 0.05.
Ahahahah, pardon my wry humor, statistics has enchanted and repulsed me at the same time. To say it in a human language, love makes a significant difference in everything we do.
This year, I’m having activities with so many circles with different kind of people with different values being uphold tight. I befriend a group of people who accommodate others to learn more. I befriend a group of extraordinary talented people who never seem exhausted in their effort of upgrading their capacity. I befriend some people who do everything so religiously, and perhaps have reached the ultimate phase of detaching themselves from worldly needs. And there’s many more which makes me sure that this post won’t be enough to mention all.
But shortly, in the process of interacting with them, parts of me were drawn into many directions. I’m obliged to at least follow their paths to catch their pace, and that my friend, is very tiresome. Switching into different versions of yourself in order to blend with your circle—and do some activities with them—for every now and then is not an easy job. But somehow, for some occasion, it turns out that it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I zoomed out and investigate on why it is easy to hang up on something or someone while it is not on some others (yeah, sadly, I develop the habit of being unresponsive to some people until I’m in the mood to deal with them this year; I’m truly sorry if you’re one of my victims). As a result of my muse, this year, I learn it in a hard way that the difference is made possible by love: it’s easier to do things that you love, or with the people you love, instead of doing the opposite with the opposite.
This may sound harsh, but in reality, we invest ourselves wholly only on the things we love. As a practitioner and a surveyor, I can say that love is the only strong thing that keeps us loyal in a long run. It’s nearly impossible to be 100% on what we don’t love fully. It may sounds unprofessional of us, but yeah, it’s true. One can keep professional on what they’re doing even if they despise it, but I believe there’s a lot of sanity being sacrificed out there. The question is: do you want to sacrifice your sanity? As someone who seeks happiness, I’ll say no. Thus, the lesson I got is to get involved only on the things you love in order to perform and function 100%, and in order to stop disappointing people for your lack of loyalty.
But then, does that mean we should limit ourselves to interact only with the things we love?
2. Love is a seed; it is something we grow.
I don’t believe in love at first sight. If there’s any, that wouldn’t be love, that’s just infatuation. As a matter of fact, I believe that love develops overtime. Love is something you nurture to grow, or to wither due to unforeseen circumstances.
For “Life is like a box of chocolate, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get” (thanks Forrest!), it is very possible of you to be thrown into the middle of strange novel things. You always have at least two options: escape or settle. Flee from the scene or make it your home. But before you decide, try to love it. Flesh it out from different perspectives. Fill out that pros and cons table, and see which column is fuller. Listen to the drums of your beating heart; do you love it? If the answer is yes, then congrats! Keep going on! If the answer is no, then perhaps it’s time for you to seek other things to love.
In my case, this year, I think I’m in the process of growing my love for the field of knowledge I study. Nutrition is a bizarre world. It’s easy to get the hang of its major lesson (spoiler: “live a healthy life if you don’t wanna die early and if you want to leave a better offspring”), but it’s goddamn hard to understand it thoroughly. I mean, talking about nutrition is talking about how molecules affect your body and how that could affect the whole world! I’m not kidding, there must’ve been a relation between your daily green leafy veggie intake and the world’s economy! But thanks to my great inspirational lecturers (one of it being the ma’am I used to hate for her sharp comments, but then I love for her work ethic and achievements), my love grows. A little side-note: if love needs fertilizers to grow, perhaps a person can be one.
Talking about growing love and people,
3. Small acts of kindness sustain relationships between people.
Relationship withers, that’s an undeniable fact. For boredom and destructive prejudices can slip into one’s mind, love must be maintained within the relationship. How to maintain love, then?
Spare time and go an extra mile for your loved ones. You’ll never know how big the impact of your presence for someone is. Perhaps your friends’ tranquility comes from your hug, your lame jokes, or your will to listen. You’ll never know.
In my case, I received two notable gestures that melted my heart. First, is how my friends spared their precious time to keep me accompanied. I’m fully aware that time is precious, thus I highly appreciate those who spare their times for others. Second, is what have been said to me by my friend once I told her what I was doing that time: “May you find what you’ve been looking for.” That sentence struck me like a lightning, washed me like a wave. Girl, I don’t even know what am I exactly looking for, and now you’re hoping for me to find it?! I felt touched, like, for real. You see, you’ll never know the impact of what you do to others! Even the smallest thing can give a ripple to the surroundings!
Other thing—perhaps the most important thing—to maintain love in a relationship is of course to wish your loved ones a good life in your daily prayers, but I’ll skip that part on this reflection.
I could never thank God enough for giving supportive people around me. This particular lesson, the number three, is a tribute for them, the people I go to to forget and to remember. My getaway. My reality.
4. The hardest fall is falling in love with yourself.
Falling in love with others is easy. You see their surface, you get bewitched. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover what’s beneath their skin. If you’re very lucky, you’ll even know their inside organs. The depth you’re allowed to dive into depends on his or her permission, whether he or she trusts you with his or her worst parts or not. Thus, it’s easy to fall for someone, moreover if we only see their surface.
However, once we dive deeper and get exposed to others’ flaws, doubts may arise. It gets harder to fall for them because it becomes harder for us to accept them. But still, loving them can still be considered as an easy job. Why? That’s because we don’t have to face their flaws 24/7. You’ll hate them for their awful behavior, but then you’ll miss them again once you’re separated. (However, thanks for God’s arrangement, falling in love is an act of magic. For some people to some others, against all of the odds, even the worst part of others can still be lovable, but I’m not going to discuss this further here).
How about loving ourselves, then?
This year, I recognize that loving myself turns out to be harder than loving others. Myself turns out to be the hardest thing to love. This is because I know my flaws inside out and I have to deal with it 24/7. There’s a constant battle between the expectation of an ideal me versus the brutally frank reality of me going nonstop within my head and I can’t mute them. Knowing that I have high expectations whilst knowing that I have hard-to-mend flaws is quite frustrating. I disappoint myself. This, to no surprise, could make maintaining a positive self-concept 24/7 becomes hard.
In my attempt to resolve the battle, I found out that defeating one of them is impossible, and is actually not necessarily important. The two of them turn out to be the pedals and brakes of a moving bicycle, which is me. Diminishing one of them would disturb the balance. Later on, I figured that shadowing one or another every now and then is a way to control them, to maintain a positive self-concept of my self.
To shadow one of them once in a while, I do some things. I give my self a break, and congratulate my self for the little things I do. I force my self to take some things easy to maintain my sanity. After all, you are your number one supporter. If you don’t love yourself first, who will?
And, oh! Sometimes others’ opinions about you might help boost your confidence! I cannot recall on how many times I recite great-motivational-hopefully-honest lines people have told me over the course of my life to cheer me up—I probably have even chanted them like a spell! The way they express their trust on you while you don’t even trust yourself feels like an antidote; I feel replenished. So, for those who have send kind greetings and warm messages, thank you so much, you don’t know how much it means to me!
5. No fingerprints are crafted with the same pattern, and so is life.
As I mentioned before, the year 2018 is the year I do nothing. It is a hyperbolic expression because of course I do something this year, but I honestly don’t feel like I’m doing something.
On the year 2018, I often felt quite sad when I realized that everyone is moving somewhere whilst I was just standing still on where I was standing. I watch friends and strangers are hustling forward to achieve great big things whilst I.. I don’t do much. I would love to blame circumstance, fate, or destiny—any extrinsic factor that exists—for my static life, but that would make me a very ungrateful person and that wouldn’t solve the problem. So, to overcome my situation, I mused, and realized trivial facts quite long after:
- Everyone has different life paths, so never compare yours with others’. (this should be very trivial and I do agree with this since long time ago, but it is so hard to abandon others’ life and to not compare yours with others’)
- Keep moving forward by doing something your past or your future will thank you for.
- Baby steps are ok! Later on, if you zoomed out, those baby steps would also seem like a giant step. Carry on!
Wew, I think this is the longest annual reflection I’ve made so far on this blog! To not make this post any longer, I’ll wrap up just by now. Arrivederci peeps! This time, I have plans, and I’m so ready to hustle! (hopefully, hehe)