Ten Years Later

I hate the thought of having to feel weird about coming home. I have here in my flat a pair of luggage, a box, and a backpack; and it’s strange to see them all ready for my flight in the next ten days. I’m half excited, half anxious because this time, it’s gonna be “for real” and I’m bringing with me ten years of my life back home. It’s not as if I’ve been living in the other hemisphere – not even out of the country – but I’d love to exaggerate things a bit, so I will.

When I left home for university ten years ago, I had a grandiose plan. I brought with me some big dreams. I’d be this, I’d be that. And I dreamed and daydreamed of them at every chance I had. I did imagine gathering flattering titles and then landing on a really nice job in the metropolis, where I’d have to always put on corporate clothes and talk big things with big people. Sooner, I’d be rich. I was ambitious. In fact, very ambitious and it was a good thing, except that life, surprisingly or not, didn’t go as planned.

I thought…I thought…I thought of so many things…of a different kind of life – one that’s different from what’s coming home with me. 

Ten years later, what have I become?

Precisely not how I imagined it. I look at myself in the mirror and I am ordinary and life’s definitely far from grand. No titles garnered, no flattering awards, no overwhelming place that I personally own, no car, no hacker-friendly bank accounts. Oh, and not yet married, got no kids! But I managed to work for a company though small was award-winning, and where I had to look business-y when talking big things with big guys. It somehow made me richer – at least a bit richer than when I was just imagining life after school. That’s basically the story.

When I think of all those years and chances gone, it’s only failure after failure I could see. Errors, I’m made of errors. The beautiful token expected of a ten-year story turned into a rusty trophy made of brittle pieces. Many times I asked myself, “What have I done?”

Then I see my bags and boxes all packed with my story of ten years away from home. “Who have I become?” I smile a pretty one because there are so many things to be truly grateful for. I had my plans but God had a story to tell.

My purpose for leaving home was university but life took me to a maze full of right and wrong turns. I made it a point to be always different but I found joy in sisterhood, friendship, and belongingness. I prayed so hard that life be grand but I bumped into its simplicity and I felt the bliss.

I was wrong to believe that this decade-long adventure was all about beating expectations and chasing dreams. Nobody told me I was to live a story to make me understand who I am, accept what I am not, and be grateful for all that there is.

Thank God. It’s been lovely. Now, fly me home.

Love,
Ayna

 

Ten Years Later

A Promise of A Goodbye

“Maybe because some things have changed.”

Nah, it’s not some things, love. Everything has changed.

You wrote down your promise, now I have to tear it up. Every strip I make of it will bear every bit of hurt that lingered – the hate that wakes me up midday and midnight, the joy that steals me from what’s real now, the stories we’ve made, and the last few questions that will perhaps remain unasked. All of them gone as I kiss your promise goodbye.

Because we are now at the end of our forever. This is where I let all of it go – the dreams we daydreamed together, the so many nights we skipped sleeping, the so many days we chose to rather spend alone than spend with the rest of the world, and all the times rather spent to sweet nothings.

Now, I free our love, let it fly somewhere out a space we will never know of and from where it will never find its way back to us.

Thank you for every bit of everything. It was worth a story after all. But it ends here, now. And I leave here my tiny hopes for us I’ve been holding for a while. And the only thing that I have to offer now is peace, and a wish for you. May you find the love you’ve long been looking for.

Goodbye.
Ayna

A Promise of A Goodbye

Dreams under renovation

I had the answers back in kindergarten…but they were neither right nor wrong.

It doesn’t matter where I am: under my blanket, in the shower, aboard the metropolis train, walking to my office, guiltlessly devouring nutella sandwich at our lone table at home, or out somewhere a space only I knew of. My kindergarten teacher’s question would haunt me like a creepy mischievous shadow, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?” And in like a snap, I’d see an imaginary canvass, white and clean. Empty.

I had the answers when I was a kid – a pocketful of confident answers. And I must have told my teacher of them with a wide grin unveiling my carefree broken smile. Now that I’m a grownup, I would usually catch myself in chunks of introspection and retrospection, and how the thoughts weave themselves together often throws me a full-blown smack kicking me out from my own life. Mind-boggling realizations, often irritating, but a fairly good way to kill time.

At this point in my life, where [perhaps] I’m supposed to have already figured what I would want to do for the next half a century, I’m only finding myself stuck with a fair display of options, not with a headstrong decision. Admittedly, I would want to become all of my many options: a fashion designer, a wedding planner, a businesswoman, a novelist, a marketing director, a professor, a performer, an actress (kidding), a photographer, a surfing champ, a painter, a diva, an all-genre dancer, an interior designer, a genius and all other versions I’ve imagined of myself. But fine – there’s no way I can be everybody, that’s absolutely and regretfully understood.

I recall the main point of Dr. Meg Jay’s book, The Defining Decade. It implies that the twentysomething stage is so crucial in the sense that the decisions one makes at this twentysomething period are what would stir up all the succeeding decades of one’s life. It may not apply to everyone but it makes sense, doesn’t it? Reading that book added a lot of pressure to my self-evaluation. In fact, it got pretty scary I wanted to shred the pages to stick-thin strips and burn them all to ashes without a chance for revival. Scary because if my kindergarten teacher would come asking me again, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?”, I would only see myself laying down the cards – my many options for my future (which has now arrived as the present); one card representing each of my dream figure – and I’d stop there. “I don’t know.” Bad news is I’m most likely just a few days away to my future. Maybe even too late to figure my shit out.

Such an anxiety-infected circumstance ain’t new but is rather ironic coming from someone adored for being smart, gifted, multi-talented. That’s the picture (with no intentions to brag, just a little bit) and perhaps the problem of indecision rooted from the burden of having multiple choices. I recall an artist mom mentioned that to me and I also recall agreeing to it right then and there. My family, friends, workmates and my boss recognize my skills and it does flatter me to know so. How could I not feel grand about being praised, sometimes even overly? My heart would swell up, but true as well that the praises would oftentimes make me lose my breath – and palpitate. Maybe it’s just me, but they often come in as overwhelming I could barely handle. Then that would set me off questioning myself again, “So which one do I do best?”…”I don’t know.” But I honestly want to do all. But knowing that I just can’t, there is then the fear of missing out on all the others in favor of one. Or two.

Then there were Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, name the all-time geniuses. They were all over the early society, each of them an authority in almost all disciplines, the renowned in every profession. They were everybody that they wanted to be. Nah, never mind, my argument would surely come invalid though. Apparently, I’m no genius, end of story (and that’s f$@#-all-geniuses frustrating!). 😀

Now, after many times of skimming through my brain lobes, nodes and membrane – I actually just mean my thoughts – I realize I have been looking only at my dreams with the challenges prerequisite to them, but not at every possibility that could unfold like a red carpet that would lead me to my glory days. Because honestly, I doubt my own gifts. And I bow down to my fears, which is equally the same as poisoning my enthusiasm for my dreams. Of course I know all that. I apparently, have this mistaken love for my own fears.

Tomorrow I still won’t have it all figured out. But the thing I’m quite sure of is that I don’t need a time machine to go back to kindergarten and collect the answers I once had. No, that little kid didn’t know much, not even enough. Perhaps a few more twists and turns, then I’ll get myself an answer as to who I would want to be for the most part of my life.

It’s a whole new world I’m in now, totally different from my playfully colorful kindergarten. And it looks like I’m going to need a whole new set of answers.

Wish me well, folks! 🙂
Love, Ayna

Dreams under renovation

A Year To Myself

February last year, I became single after ending an 11-month long relationship, which was beautiful enough to last for a time but not forever. And funnily as if there wasn’t any better time, on that perfect lovely day when exclusively (or not) dating young men and ladies, boyfriends and girlfriends, engaged and married couples, and all other kinds of lovers were celebrating their love – February 14, 2013 – I declared to all my systems from my split ends to the callouses on my toes that at least for one year, I will have no other lover than myself. That was a deal.

And I made it to a year all to myself.

During little gatherings with friends or side chats with officemates, a usual question would make its way to the conversation, “Don’t you miss dating someone?” Damn it, of course I do. I miss that feeling, you know what I’m talking about.

But the question, though tempting and strongly suggestive, also appeared to challenge me as to how far I can go with the deal. And I’m glad I managed to keep myself at pace.

Through this period, albeit relatively short, I believe I’ve come to understand a lot about loving myself and the lessons keep coming.

1. Love yourself and love it more each and every day. Because it is wise to realize that if in case no one else will be there to love you, you have your very own self who will never leave you come what may.

2. Those who leave are not meant to stay. So please don’t allot an eternity to mourn over a breakup. You don’t have forever to fool around a drama not worth crying for. Always be ready to get your shit together and love again, with a little bit more caution than before.

3. If you love yourself, you become a sturdy foundation of a lasting relationship. Otherwise, your lack of confidence, trust, and respect for yourself might even cause your partner to question him/herself how s/he did even come to like you.

I know it sounds like I recommend staying single. Well, up to you. We all have our own preferences in life. Go figure it out. 😉

Love,
Ayna

A Year To Myself

Planning Out A Few Firsts

I don’t quite understand how I should feel for 2014. YET. Because it’s going to be the year of the great Quarter Life Crisis…for me, and of course for those my age, particularly those who will be experiencing QLC on time like poor me here. I’m expecting much of driving-myself-crazy and troubling my friends with emotions I couldn’t possibly contain, oftentimes uncontrolled stress eating and then feeling stupid for having eaten too much, crying quiet and out loud, decisions, decisions.

I’ve felt QLC even when 2013 was yet ending and I found myself looking kind of stupid staring blankly somewhere. And then I had to realize as well that I was looking like I’m in deep thoughts, like deciding whether to pursue a crime or planning out how to end the year in a way nobody could have imagined. This is a weird world, haha!

So…so…so before more of this QLC take me to I-Wonder-Land, I thought I should list down a few things I wish to do for the first time. 🙂 Down there.

1. Spend a weekend in a local island “alone.” Of course, I wish for some me-time. I’m a believer of solitude and that we need it from time to time. Nothing much, but to simply enjoy the comfort of being alone, the quiet, the space and everything in it – fresh air, bird songs, sea breeze perhaps, the greenery, and all that. Simple precious bliss of that kind.

2. Go out of the country “alone”. I’m not a loner, let me clarify that. But I believe those people who testify that traveling alone could reveal to you unbelievably many wonders about the world, the humanity, and one’s self. I want that experience. Badly enough. I could imagine myself somewhat lost in an unfamiliar place, figuring out where to go with the help of a handy-dandy map, smiling or nodding or “hello-ing” at strangers I’d find weird and amazing. I’d taste the local street food, visit public hubs and get a feel of how it is to belong to their community. I’d buy a few knick knacks as souvenirs, click here and there, just take photos of this and that. Make friends! Ohhh, make new friends, and see for myself how I would handle the strangeness of being suddenly friends with strangers. Lovely! 🙂

3. Mold a ceramic. I’ve watched fairly several movies and series with scenes where characters are making pots and vases. I remember one movie played by Demi Moore and a co-actor with a slightly intimate scene while doing pottery. Ghost? Or some title like that. Anyway, I want to experience the process of making something beautiful like ceramic vases. I love vases, that’s one. Because I love flowers and I love flowers in vases perched somewhere by the window or wherever the bloomers could bathe under the sunlight passing through doors and windows. I thought I envy the experience of your own hands’ grace shaping something out of mud, which has to turn out as something pretty. There’s one province just outside a border of the metro, which as I’ve heard is home to makers of ceramics. I don’t have to do this one alone. I could go with my sister and my brothers, mom and dad, if they’re here in the north by that time. I wish to learn it with my family, from where I got these bits and pieces of creativity. 🙂

So, good wishes to me and may I be able to add some more along the way so that by the end of this hopefully wonderful year, I will have been so done with my dear quarter life crisis.

Wishin’ you all the best,
Ayna

Planning Out A Few Firsts

2014: Project PLUS LOVE

While the new year was just about to take over, I swear I tried hard to formulate at least one resolution I could fool myself with round 2014. Surprisingly, I came up with…well, none. Indecisive at the time, or was I convinced and simply satisfied with my justified imperfection that I didn’t ponder on some things to change in my life, my self. Bad thing, definitely.

Cut short, just yesterday, I pulled off one broad idea, something yeahbsolutely beautiful for my 2014: Project PLUS LOVE. Uhh, it’s no serious campaign. Just some sort of emotional therapy for me, which the whole universe could use, I believe.

Allow me a very quick overview of Project PLUS LOVE. Nothing formal, promise. 🙂

Vision: A more loving me
Goals: To lessen hating by 50% come June, and will have mastered forgiving by the end of the year
Priority: Grow reasons for loving, calm the hate
Expected output: Everything better

Sounds possible, yeah? But true enough, things aren’t as easy as they seem. This will surely be a daily battle against myself, overcoming impatience, knocking out indifference, brushing off hate, accepting differences, learning to trust the uncertain, so on and on. Guess I’d be walking and talking myself through this project with some little prayers every day, every now and then. Not bad. Not bad. 🙂

Just a little bit more though. I’ll be doing some “sharing of words and thoughts” in Project PLUS LOVE, and I just came up with one activity: Fri-ed Love as in Friday Edition Love! Every Friday, I’ll post a thought worth sharing for my friends to ponder on over their weekends. Caution though, some may not necessarily make sense. 😀

That’s it for now. Happy new year, people! May we all have another year of love and bliss.

Love,
Ayna

2014: Project PLUS LOVE

A Love Long Overdue

I lost my best friend to the decision we made long past – to gamble such a one of a kind friendship for a love we thought we could survive. We made a pretty long run for it, and all seven years of giving up and fighting for it again, gone now and not a piece of that past seems repairable. Like every broken piece could only hurt.

I am uncertain as to what point I have for writing this. What’s undeniable though is that I miss my best friend [badly] and it hurts to realize that time, and perhaps all of the universe, has buried our friendship that was witness to a very lovely story in the past. I wish we could talk again the way we did, without inhibitions, just frank, but with hugs kept ready in case one had to cry or lose temper.

It’s safe to say that I was everything to my best friend and I liked it, only that I had most of my decisions shadowed by fears, hesitations, and my unacceptance of the reality I was faced with. I lost grip, gave up, and left my best friend fighting alone for nothing. I loved my best friend but this was often tainted with my doubts about the future, our future. I used to imagine it but each time I did, I would end up losing engine at a crossroad; from there I would stop. I chose to.

Now, what more could I ask for my best friend than the happiness deserved. I didn’t stand for what my best friend was fighting for. So maybe this time I could do good in wishing well.

I hope you are happy now. If we meet again one day, you might never hear the same words I used to say. You just have to remember that I loved you in some special way.

A Love Long Overdue