Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Year of Starting All Over Again

This morning I woke up with excitement as I have appointment for another “mentee” that will join the career consultation with me. After the first mentee yesterday, I am getting more thrilled to listen to the stories from aspiring career fighters/fresh graduates. I told Najwa, my today’s mentee, that this kind of interaction is not only beneficial for them but also for me. They are keeping me updated with the world of job-seeking nowadays, and I also learn a thing or two from their journey. 

After finishing the consultation at 7:10, I walked at Kemang Village, and masyaAllah.. The feeling of immerse gratitude warmed my heart. On my birthday this year, I “lost” everything – I know it might not be the right word to portray what really happened, but like many people know, that time I was angry, sad, devastated, and clueless. 

I somehow cannot believe, that in less than three months: I have a new amazing job, stay in a decent comfortable place (with a swimming pool that I can say almost private because it is only me and another housemate who use it), and already fostering a lovely cat. Some people would say I am lucky, but if possible I would be screaming to their face, “you have no idea what I have been through to get here!” 

2022 is an exhausting year, indeed. I began this year with the detailed plan of Gathering Nasional Bojonegoro, and in the middle of the preparation, I got COVID-19 which effects lasted for weeks. I got tired quickly, no matter how much I eat or how consistent my workout is, even in the times when I do not work that hard. Ramadan, although making me joyful as usual, but we started to do “buka bareng” and tarawih in the mosque. “Mudik” was also not giving me a refreshing feeling, as people are no longer can wait to gather with their family. Getting the tickets was a hustle, not to mention the trips with a packed train or plane. 

With the rest of the energy, I crawled into September, and just like what I have written here, I eventually knocked out much earlier than I expected. 


Okay, this is a lot different than what I planned to write, lol. 

What I actually wanted to say was, I do not want to sugarcoat everything. Skip all those motivational and inspiring quotes, when sh*t happens in your life, it just happened. There is nothing you can do right at the incident time, other than accept and surrender. Just like how you swim in the ocean:

Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current. Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current's pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore. – US National Weather Service 

Thus, I guess that this is the first progress I made during 2022. I learned to accept, surrender, and let go faster than in the last few years; and I believe it contributes to “the better life” I am currently building. To be fair, I did not have many energy to journal, but whenever I pushed myself to write, I kind of release negative energy from my body. With the help of guided sleep meditation, I can sleep a bit more peacefully; and one of the biggest wins of the year was meeting a psychologist whose vibe align with my prayers along the years. 

On the other hand, a much more visible progress which I can be proud of, can bee seen in my career journey. There is a slight uncomfortable feeling I am experiencing as I am writing this, probably because as a woman I am raised to not acknowledging my achievements straightforwardly, but anyways.. after dozens of applications, I went to several important interviews, and landed one job in a relatively quick time. When I asked my network to share the news that I am searching for a job, they helped without any doubt; and I got recommendations from anywhere. 

On top of everything, I came to the end of year accomplishing one book draft, yay! After leaving my blog idle for two years, I am glad that I still be able to pour my experiences and thoughts into pages of writing. However, to be honest, I am not satisfied with the result, so I am entering the phase of reflection and consideration to transform it into a different form of writing. Based on the wisdom of publishing two previous books, I want to take it more slowly this time, although if I can launch it at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2023, that will be awesome!

Initially I thought that I will close this year with a ready-to-submit application for PhD, or an establishment certificate of my own foundation, but Allah is the best scenario writer. Valerie in her podcast, The Mindful Babe, said that sometimes you do not get what you manifest simply because God knows better that it is not what you NEED. This year I wanted to be in control of many things, only to realize that I focused too much on the outcome but neglecting the action and implementation. 

Therefore, my theme for 2023 will be UNLEARN, UPSKILL, and RESKILL. I am more than ready to empty my cup, grasp more meaningful lessons from inspiring people, and walk step by step… to be arrived in December 2023 with a solid plan in my hand, whether it is to really pursue Ph.D, or take a certification in community engagement, event organizing, public relations, or human resources management. 

I embarked on my journey in 2022 feeling like have to force things in order to obtain something, but as I close the pages, I comprehend that sometimes, all you can do is open to God and trust the divine timing. Laa hawla walaa quwwata illa billah. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022


"Change is scary but so is staying the same."

“Don’t you want to move to Jakarta?”
“So that we live closer.”
“If I moved to Jakarta and we live closer, what would YOU do TO ME?”

He didn’t answer. He didn’t say a word when he drove me to the train station, and even though I told myself to not look back, I knew he took my pic as I walked by.

I never expected that it would be the last time we saw each other.


Falling in love is never easy.

You have butterflies on your stomach constantly. You feel your body goes hot and cold when you text him and wait for his response. You giggle as you remember the silly jokes and flirty chats. You cry when you cannot see his face more than three days.

It’s messy.

As much as I believe that happiness and sorrow are two main fuels in writing, I don’t like it when I start loving a guy. I am not myself when I care too much, I realize I cannot make a guy loves me if he doesn’t want to, and this uncertainty puts me – most of the times – in bad mood.

However, being a hopeless romantic and a full-of-rainbow Energizer rabbit, if you ask me if it is still worthy to love and lost, I will firmly say yes.

"Coincidentally", he published this book moments before meeting me.


You see, even a guy cannot changed my mind to leave everything and start over in Jakarta. It was January 2019, one week after his mom passed away. Both of us had no job, he resigned when his mom entered the fourth stadium of breast cancer, and I just finished my contract in Ubud (later on that week, I got the contract renewal and went back to Bali).

It was a battle in my heart and mind. I know I love this guy and we could make good partnership, but I also know that it is an unrequited love. My gut said he will marry soon, although that time I was the only woman in his life other than his mom and sisters, then yes it came true. 5 March 2019, he texted me that he is about to propose a girl… in which I used that text as an opening for my second book.

So why would a simple girl whose daily rituals included performing morning walk while waiting for the sunrise in Sanur and sipping coconut while watching the sunset in Seminyak or Uluwatu; packed all of her stuffs then transform her lifestyle to adapt with hustle and bustle in a metropolitan city?

Yes, she fell in love.

But this time, she didn’t fell in love with a guy. She “fell in love” with FOUR guys and their dreams. She believed in their vision and mission; and wanted to take a part in actualizing this noble purpose.

She has been taught by her parents and big family, to surround herself with people who fight for the prosperity of the people. She has been “branded” by her friends, that whenever she accepted a job to work for, she is not looking for money. She lives for His blessings, so as difficult as it was to get out from her comfort zone: she made a prayer, put her faith in God, and off she went.


I can assure she had so much fun.

Although she faced so much confusion as well, but the days went very fast, leaving no space for her to overthink like she usually did.

Even before officially working, she already got introduced to the facilitators and seniors. She also got calls to resolve issues among the volunteers! And the more time she spent at office, the more she feels energized! She finally found her place!

Some people experiencing different duration for honeymoon, but for her it lasted for at least ten months. She is having a platform to create, connect, and contribute – just like her life principles; so if she could stay at office for meetings and doings, she would. She argued, supported – and got supported, joked around her teammates. For her, everyone is just like her younger sisters or brothers. She likes to see them growing to become better human. Boy, when it came to performance reviews and she had to let go somebody, she lost her appetite for days.

After a few months, we can see that her popularity is rising. Volunteers started contacting her not only to ask advices for social projects, but also to hear her opinion about their love life.

“Yooo, your Director is single as f*ck. How dare you come to me for suggestions?”

So many smiles. So many laugh. Just like a quote on the cover of a monthly journal her best friend gave her before starting the new year.

Slow but sure, physically exhausted but mentally still want to pursue the goals, she began to feel insecurities crawling inside her body. There is a voice inside her head saying she is not good enough, and eventually she will fail. She held her tears so hardly in a brainstorming session with a senior, as he said, “if you even failed, so what? Nobody in this world who is never failed.”

That’s when she found another quote, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” She internalized these words like a mantra. Now whenever she heard those doubts, she told herself that she is a farmer, and someday there will be a perfect time to harvest.

But patience is not her best trait. She wants a result – a BIG one – RIGHT NOW. She is having another battle to be win for. She poured over herself, more, more, more, until nothing left for herself. Silently, she talks to psychologist, psychiatrist, and career coaches, because somehow she is convinced that she is a bad leader. Her performance slopping down, although on the other hands, people still congratulate her for making some breakthroughs. She believed they tell lies just to make her happy… she cannot comprehend why people still compliment her for what she took as failures.

Eventually, that day arrived sooner than she predicted.

The day she lost her confidence.

One mistake.

Became THE trigger for all the destructions.


Three weeks, she struggled with anger, disappointment, and guilt. NOT to anyone but to herself. She wanted to fight harder but she could not even think straight. She was, and still – until this writing is published – in love with all of this, but she doesn’t know if the other side wanted her as well. The joy disappeared instantly, she lost her appetite more severe even when she had dinner with a guy she really likes, she said, “please finish, I will stop.”

In contrary with what people might be thinking, she blamed herself for everything that happened.

“You should have been more patient.”
“Yes, you should have fought harder.”
“You are a Communications Master but very, very not communicative.”


Three weeks, she journals every single day, often. On her diary, on her phone. Tried to rationalize and making sense.

At one point, she found herself sick. Indeed, like a friend made an example for her, “you must be feeling like a tree that being revoked until its roots, leaving a big hole on the surface.”

As painful as it is, she said it should stop. She still got contacted by volunteers, and she found enlightenment when they shared their stories…

“Kak Prima, hari ini kami dapat dukungan dari komunitas…..”
“Kak Prima, mohon doa kami akan antarkan bantuan ke pelosok…..”
“Kak Prima, minggu ini kami mau launching gerakan yang dulu kakak bantu inisiasi…..”

As much as she wishes to be given a chance to defend herself and fix everything; she chose to surrender and let go.

After all, just like falling in love to a guy, if he doesn’t want to be with you anymore, why would you beg him strongly?


Today, she will be returning to Jakarta. But most probably not to go back to that house anymore.

She really misses everyone, but she decided to close the page, and one day if they ever met again, hopefully what left is good memories only, nothing else.

Because the feeling that ruling her now is GRATITUDE. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger – or in her case, will become great content for her next book (catch the hint! *wink wink).

Almost two years, and it was just about the time that God taught her to be wiser.

Almost two years, she had her time to bring ideas to life. She traveled to places she never stepped her feet on. She got introduced to a lot, a lot of amazing people – who speak the same language: kindness.

For her, that is more than enough.

If she is a glass, she is full.

And she is ready to empty it again.

Learning new lessons.

Meeting new people.

Making new masterpiece.

She would be glad to correct what her friend said about a tree.
As she is now a taller tree, which has stronger roots.
Growth, that’s the big theme for the last two years.

And for her to unlock another prize, sadly she has to say good bye.

Because you know what Paulo Coelho once said, “If you are brave enough to say good bye, life will reward you with a new hello."

Sunday, September 20, 2020

My Prayer Has Been Answered

A  couple weeks ago, I changed my afternoon walking route and strolled through an area which I never passed before. Let me tell you this, what I get to love about Sanur is I have never shared it with anyone -- I mean, a guy. I did once had dinner with a date in Sanur (which ended with he left me on the street so I had to take GoJek home), but the beach is all for me and myself (well, for me and some good friends). 

But specifically that day, what I saw amazed me. My favorite part of Sanur used to be in the front of the Hyatt/Pizzeria restaurant because there is a vast clean yellowish sand area, a small part of it covered with shady trees, but as many stray dogs make it as their territory, not too many people like to sit there. I love it, I love dogs anyway, and once in a while I feed them. However, this part close to the Prama and Puri Santrian hotel is a lot wider and quieter. The water is so blue and the wave is so calm..... I have no idea why young foreign tourists or so-called 'digital nomads' don't like Sanur. Man, it's so beautiful, much more than Kuta or *uhuk uhuk* Canggu. As I barely see people there at around 4-6 PM, I would love to lay there and read books, but I don't know why I haven't done it yet...

At that moment, the thought of taking someone special: we will sit side by side, hold each other's hand, talk about our days and stuffs; crossed my mind. Look, I have been single for nine years, and as much as I embrace my singleness, I wouldn't saying that I could pass everyday smoothly. Some days are truly, madly, deeply hard. I am good at keeping the sad news to myself, but when something good happened to me and I have no one to share with (or I have to wait for my friends), I became a bit wrecked. As if I wake up in the morning and listen to Bruno Mars singing "Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now", only I had never shared my bed with anyone. "My heart breaks a little", and the good news is no longer good news anymore. 


Earlier this year, I wrote a status on Facebook: 

"Dear God, for this year's birthday may I please have someone to come home to, or someone who will come home to me? 10 October is still 8,5 months away. Thank You."

Some days ago, I got a call from a friend who works in a publisher, and we talked about my new book ideas. She encouraged me to write 'this one' and so, hopefully I will publish at least two nonfiction books next year, and another fiction which is translated into English. I was like...

"Allah, what did I ask you? Why more and more personal project? Excuse me, I prefer a 'collaborative' project, I am sure you know what I mean."

Then this morning I contemplated while doing my morning walk (just me being a normal Prima), tried to evaluate my efforts in acquiring a husband, one by one, what I have done, what I haven't done, what works -- obviously many didn't work...

But I have to start thinking about my new book, so I scrolled TED videos, typed "failure" on the search box (because I am going to write about it), and I stumbled upon this video below:


You will think that it's simply a coincidence that Elizabeth Gilbert' home is writing -- just exactly what I feel about writing.  I am nowhere close to Elizabeth, I am a mediocre writer: I have two books which was and will be published by myself, not by a major publishing. The sales of my first book was saddening, it could not even pay those bobas I drank while making the book came true. I am a slow columnist and blogger, I only produce very few pieces in a year. But. I. Have. Never. Stopped. And. Not. Yet. Plan. To. 

My point is that I’m writing another one now, and I’ll write another book after that and another and another and another and many of them will fail, and some of them might succeed, but I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.

So then, I realized that Allah has answered my prayer. 

I have been home all along.

He granted it even before I asked.

And now I am content.  

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