It doesn’t mean you have to.

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Research shows that the more time you spend on screen scrolling down you social media accounts the more stressed you’ll be. Especially, when you look at your timeline and you see your friends’ updates: some got engaged, some got married, some got babies, and some graduated for their masters and even doctorates already! Then your heart starts to sink and think like you’re not getting anywhere.

This is the thing: you have your own timeline and it doesn’t have to be the same as your friends’. It is wonderful to be reminded that God never used cookie cutter when he created each person’s story. Here are some implications for you to put it into perspective:

When most of your friends got their second degree at the age of 27, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When most of your friends tied the knots by the age of 25, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When some of your friends who went abroad for studies found their soulmates there, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When most of your friends got their first baby at the age of 26 or even younger, it doesn’t mean you have to.

You are on your own timeline and you are fine! You just need to live your life as if you’re gonna die tomorrow. Don’t let those thoughts worry you. Don’t let those thoughts wear you down. Remember that God makes everything beautiful in its time. Your story doesn’t have to be the same as your friends’. Your story is special, specially woven by the hands of the Lord Himself.

Everything doesn’t have to happen now, rest assured that the Lord is at work and He will make it happen in His time.

Have great evening, great people!

Love always,

-superriska

People will always have something to say.

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Familiar with the picture? I bet you all are.

We always worry about what people think or say about us. We always worry that we sort of have to please everybody around us. But the truth is, we don’t have to. Just like what we can see from the picture, no matter what they do, others will comment. Well, that must be exhausting to live like that. Living a life that is bound to other’s perception and judgment. It is impossible to please everyone and it is definitely not your job.

In the beginning of her diary, Anne Frank wrote:

I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I – nor for that matter anyone else – will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.

To be honest, I had the same thought when I began this blog. Who will be interested in reading my writings? Who will be interested in my ideas? Who will bother reading my shallow writings? Oh well. Just like what Anne Frank said, “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” Then I started it and I will keep writing no matter what. I know that it is a practice and it is good for me.

So, if you’re thinking about doing something today and you’re afraid because you worry about what people would think about it? Better throw that thought away now. Do what is right, do what makes you happy, do not bother the hearsay. Remember, people will always have something to say anyway. So, do what you believe is true, you’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for you.

Love always,

-superriska

Just keep going.

I was talking with a good friend of mine about skin care tonight. We realized that we are kind of behind about this whole thing about skin care that in our mid-twenties we just started seriously paying attention to it. At the end of our conversation we encouraged each other that it is not too late to start now. We reminded each other that “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”

Yes, the expert in anything started from scratch as well. Just like you and me, they were not born great. They’ve got to learn and they did have a starting point when they were nothing but a beginner themselves. They kept going and they did not stop. They kept pushing themselves beyond their limits and they reached where they’re at right now. It took time, yes, years and years of doing. It did not come overnight. They worked hard to get to where they are. In between the beginning and the peak of their achievement, there are failures, tears, perspiration, and heartbreaks. But those are part of the process and it is normal to have them around.

So, this is an encouragement to all of you. If you don’t yet succeed, there is nothing wrong with you, those great winners have been in your shoes but they have passed it long time ago. It is fine to fail now, it does not mean you’re not gonna get there. You are just in a process of getting there and all you’ve got to do is get up and try again. Keep this in mind, nobody’s born great and winners are not built overnight. You need to keep going, you need to keep doing, you need to keep moving.

Whether you just start exercising or writing, learning a language or just anything, just ceaselessly tell yourself: “The more you do it, the better you get.” Don’t give up!

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Have a great week ahead, great people!

Love always,

-superriska

 

Because heroes are humans, too.

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Well, yeah, I guess we have excessively expected from our heroes. In order to be heroes, we subconsciously demand them to transcend their humanness. We want them to always look happy, we want them to always look pretty. We want them to always be successful and their business to always be fruitful. We want them to be always smiling and not failing. We set a standard for them like a superhuman.

But the reality is, such standard is unrealistically unreal. No wonder we are surprised that they are apparently capable of being sad, plain-looking, and also… failing just like we are! They also shed tears when life is rough – and yes, their lives get rough, too! They also look plain without makeups and those pretty outfits. And most importantly, they fail too, many times, just like we all do!

Well, our fallen nature has made us believe that in order to get acceptance we need to meet some kind of unreachable requirement – perfection. But the truth is: nobody is perfect. You and I are not perfect, neither the famous celebrities and heroes. We need to stop overvaluing our heroes and start seeing them as our fellow human beings with flaws and failures as well. Because just like me and you, our heroes are humans, too.

Jika kita tidak lagi berekspektasi terlalu tinggi, mungkin kita bisa lebih bertoleransi. -Fiersa Besari in Catatan Juang

I hope this rings the reminder bell in our hearts.

Peace and love,

-superriska

Why do you think you need to know?

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That’s still taken from my latest read, Catatan Juang by Fiersa Besari.

The news about Ahok’s file for divorce from his wife has been spread tremendously quickly in only a few hours. I mean, of course, we are talking about Ahok’s divorce here, the former governor who is sentenced two years in jail for blasphemy. Up till now, there is no official statement regarding the cause of the divorce and public has been left curious about it. Since the background reason remains a mystery to the public, some speculations have grown. Some say it is the wife’s disloyalty, some say it is Ahok trying to protect his family, and many other stories that we do not even know which one is true. Even just a few hours earlier, one social media account published a letter containing details of the reasons why Ahok filed for divorce from his wife. Surprisingly to me, many people are buying it. I am not underestimating but I am just being skeptical of that letter. These days, it is really easy to create and spread fraud. People can easily claim something as a proof of truth in the media, but how can you tell? How can you be sure?

My most honest response to what’s happening is this: I don’t think the public has some kind of right to know the details of why Ahok filed for divorce from his wife. It is not something for public’s consumption since it is a family issue. I mean, seriously, this family is now going through one of the most perilous roads of their family life and you are feeding your curiosity by posting and sharing things that are not at all helpful to them? Why do you think you need to know the reasons why? You don’t need to know and they are not obliged to let you know. Will your knowledge about what is really going on in their family be helpful to them and you? Think about that. Why do you do what you do? Is it just for feeding your curiosity? Instead, why don’t we just silently watch while pray for the best for them?

Some of you may disagree with me but it is okay. I am just saying what I have in mind. I hope we can be a wise generation in the fast growing media world like today.

Jadi, lain kali, sebelum posting dan kepo tentang kehidupan orang lain di medsos kamu, coba pikir ulang lagi dan lagi dan lagi, biar apa?

Peace and love,

-superriska

My version of happiness.

Yang terpenting itu bahagia atas semua keputusan yang sudah kita buat. Ini bahagia versiku. Kenapa harus mengikuti bahagia versimu? (Besari 256)

That’s a quote from the last book I read, Catatan Juang by Fiersa Besari.

I realized that there are two types of life in the eyes of society: the so-called normal life and the one that is considered wild, weird, and even stupid. What is categorized as normal is a life that is comfortable, when you have good jobs, earn high salary, settled in a nice home, happily married, and raise nice kids. Such a typical life almost all parents I have met desire for their kids. To be honest, my parents are also included in that group.

When someone asks you about your plan in life and you answer them with a crazy answer like: “I am going to get my doctorate and then live a celibate life as a missionary in some third world country, building libraries and teaching the people how to read and write.”, they are going to think that you have lost your your mind. They think that your idea is insane and your education is wasted. They definitely are not expecting such answer. Instead, they expect something like, “Oh, I am going to get my doctorate and then work in a multinational company in some big city in America. I’ll get married and build my family there.” They will praise you and adore you. They will agree with your plan and they will say amen to your answer.

I always have hard times explaining to people what I have in mind. When I mention about going to some remote places to teach kids there, people roll their eyes. When I get emotional when talking about how miserable life in the streets is, they don’t understand. I don’t understand why people define success only by how much money you earn, how big your house is, how happy you look from the outside. They don’t even care about what you feel deep inside, right?

Well, sometimes we have to just shut our ears from people’s comments about us. Their comments are just words unless we let them define us.

Go get your dreams, friends. You don’t have to worry if society categorizes you as wild, weird, or stupid just because you don’t make decisions as they expect you to. You are not defined by what people say about you. You have your calling and live it out. You have the right to define your own version of happiness and it doesn’t have to be the same as theirs.

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love,

-superriska

Thankful for books!

What are you thankful for today?

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I am thankful for books!! I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. I remember spending my recess time reading books in the library when I was in elementary school – of course I went to the library if I was bored fighting with the boys in the playground.

Many people say that books are the window to the world and I’d like to say amen to that! Through books I gain new perspectives, learn new things, and get exposed to different ideas outside of my little world. Reading books can be some kind of a recreation to me and it feels good to be able to read for pleasure.

Another quote says that with books you can travel the world without moving an inch. Yes, I agree with that. Even with books, you can go beyond time and space. Reading books allows you to learn about what happened in the past in a place far away from where you’re from. Reading books gives you an opportunity to broaden your horizon about how other cultures view things differently from the way you do. Reading books also helps you gain insight from what other people have experienced without you experiencing it yourself! Isn’t that wonderful? Books can offer you more than you know. Books can give you more opportunity than you know. I am thankful for books! I am thankful that God created people with a gift of writing so that they come up with more and more books every day.

What about you? What are you thankful for today? Don’t look too far, just look around. Maybe it is not a grand thing but just a simple little thing that you have taken for granted. Like books, maybe?

Have a great night!

-superriska

A new menu: Through the Readings

I love reading and I have read quite some books in the past. Through the books that I’ve read – from novels to biographies – I have gained insights and learned new things. I have some of my reflections recorded on my handwritten journals but now I think it is a good idea to have them published here as well.

This new section is going to be a space to throw in my personal reflections on the books I’ve read and am currently reading. I am hoping this could be a discussion forum for other bookworms to share ideas, insights, and perspectives. It is always interesting to gain a different perspective; it is an enriching and enlightening experience.

I am also up for a reading challenge on Goodreads. I am aiming to read 12 books this year – a book each month. I think that is a doable number to achieve in the midst of my packed schedule. How about you? How many books will you challenge yourself to read this year? Join me in the challenge and also share your insights into the discussions if you happen to be reading the same book.

P.s.: I am currently reading Catatan Juang by Fiersa Besari.

Cheers! Keep reading!

-superriska

A lesson from a trip to Jakarta #2

What do you see?

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This post is still inspired by a trip that I took to Jakarta by train yesterday. I am happy that I got to fill my Christmas break with some trips that are full with eye-opening experiences and life lessons. What a great way to spend a holiday for sure!

Okay, this time is a lesson about perspective. See that picture above? Yup, I believe you guys are familiar with that kind of picture. There are a lot of perspective pictures like that and they usually go with the question, “What do you see?” or “What did you see first?” different people come up with different answer. Some will say they saw a dog and some others will say they saw a bird. I am not intending to go deeper with the discussion of the meaning of seeing a dog or seeing a bird, but I am using that as an example to convey my point. Different people can see one thing at the same time but have different interpretations/reactions/responses to it.

Yesterday, when I was on a train, I sat next to some young moms with their little kids. I believe the moms are around early twenties and the kids are around 4-5 years old. In front of me there standing two young ladies who were bank workers (I could tell because of the name tags hanging on their necks). The moms let the kids play on the floor and they looked happy with it. The same thing with the two young ladies in front of me, they seemed to be okay as well, they were holding on a handle and talking to each other.

While watching the scenes around me, I recalled a conversation with a friend of mine. He once shared with me about his reason of pursuing his masters in Urban Planning. He is especially interested in revitalizing the mass transportation systems especially in the cities. He told me that the precursor of pursuing the higher education is from his experience commuting with trains every day while he was doing his internship in Jakarta. He was inspired to do something about how the mass transportation systems in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, through his own experience as a passenger.

What I am trying to say is this: there are many people taking the very same trains every single day, but their responses to the experiences are varied. There are people like those young moms and young ladies who seem to be okay with the situation and they just accept it as it is. But there are also people like my friend who sees a situation and it inspires him to do something about it.

Isn’t it interesting? We may look at the same thing but we may see different things out of it.

Well, just another interesting thing to write about. Have a great one, everyone!

-superriska

A lesson from a trip to Jakarta #1

What are you thankful for today?

I realized that it is a good question to ask every day. Sometimes, we are just too busy making a living that we forget the gift of living itself, to enjoy every step of the way. I think it is good to just pause for a few minutes every day just to think about the good things we are thankful for that day. There must be bad days but it does not mean that there is nothing to learn from them. It is all about our perspective and how we respond to things in our life. So, I made that decision to take some time every day to think and write about at least one thing that I am thankful for that day.

Yesterday I went to Jakarta to meet with my friend. She is leaving for Australia next week and we thought it was great to catch up before she departs. So, off I went. I took a train to go to Jakarta because it is cheap and it doesn’t have to get stuck in traffic jam for hours like riding on a taxi or a bus. I left at 2.30ish from Bogor station. The train was not too crowded and it was great. However, it was a different scene on the way back to Bogor from Jakarta. Pardon me for not being really familiar with the scene but this is what happened. I was waiting for the train to get back to Bogor at Cikini station in Jakarta and I realized it was a Tuesday, a working day. I said to myself, “Oh, it’s pretty fine. It’s not too crowded.” I saw a couple of trains passing by and only a couple of people were standing. It’s not too bad, I thought to myself. Until I saw the Bekasi train passed by, I was like, wow that was crowded and I was thankful I did not have to take the train. Then came the train to Bogor, which was the train that I had to take to get home. I could not believe my eyes. It was full but people kept going in. I jumped to the train and tried to hold on to a handle. The train made a few more stops and more people got in to the train. I was like, seriously guys, it’s already full, there’s no way more people can come in. I could barely see the floor of the train. I put on my earphones and listened to some music, trying to enjoy the crowd. Then more people got in and I was blown away with the craziness. I asked a lady next to me, she was trying her best to reach a handle to hold on, “Is it normal? Like this?” She answered as-a-matter-of-factly, “Oh yeah, it is very normal. It is like this every day.”

It was terrible to get stuck in a train full of strangers that day. I just can’t imagine doing that for every day of my life. But for these guys, they don’t have much choice. They have to do it or they don’t get to go to work. Even right now, as I am writing this in my cozy room, the same people are still going through the same thing they went through yesterday. That experience taught me to be more thankful for what I have. Life is tough at times, but we have to choose to see the bright sides and not only focus on the dark ones. I have been complaining about how hard my job is – difficult students, coworkers, situations – but I forget how convenient my life is. I have an apartment on campus for me to stay that I don’t have to commute to go to work every day. I even have somebody clean my apartment so I can get home to a nice clean apartment. Yes, there are hard difficult times to my job. But they don’t have to blind me from the fact that there are also things to be thankful for at the same time. I mean, isn’t there supposed to be challenges to help us grow? That experience that day helped me a lot to see the good things I have but I often take for granted.

Lessons are everywhere and we are lifelong learners if we choose to be one. I learned something from my trip to Jakarta that day and I will not forget the lesson that I learned. There is always something to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today?

-superriska