2016 might not be a year missed after all

During this week, the time between Christmas and New Year, I have come across many great reflective posts, funny memes, people’s new year resolution as well as people’s complaining about this moment – when the theme is always “new year, new me”.

To tell you the truth, I am often not among people making new year resolutions either, and I am kind of anti the cliche vibe: new year, new me as well. This is not to say I have never been like that in my entire life, so I am not here to judge or criticise anyone. In fact, I like this period between Christmas and New Year. It gives me the impression that holiday is not yet over, there is still one day to look forward to: the very moment our past 365 days went into burning flames in the sky. I have felt unsettled inside, as if a wave is rising up or an a bird is dying to fly out of her cage. That usually is a sign for me to write.

I think my recent posts have been much about what silver lightnings I saw within the dark days. They have fulfilled enough of reflection. Hence, right now, at 11am Finland time, on New Year Eve, my post is simply about inviting you all to join me in this one task. Are you ready? Okay, close your eyes. Ah, actually, no, I am kidding, that step comes later once you finish reading, because it does not make sense if you close your eyes now *awkward laugh*.

What I love about this last day of the year, is how emotional you can get. I might not be all for the cliche “New Year, New Me”, but I am all for the cliche “damn, how fast a year can pass”. You hear that often on this day. It is hard to believe the year is ending, on the very last day of the year. But 2016 to me is fast, insanely fast, in like a blink of an eye.

I don’t know how 2016 has been to you, but to me, I have not had many big milestones or achievements to count while looking back at this year. All I could see was the painful moments. Before Christmas even came, I got the most nervous thinking about today. I couldn’t get myself to actually believe 2017 is so closed. I did not know if I was ready for it yet. I did not know if I had gained enough energy and stability for a new start or a new chapter. Like everyone else who might share this feeling, I was scared 2016 has been a year missed for me.

But my alone Christmas gave me tons of time and space to think, to actually look back at what really happened this year. And as many of us, I think I have overlooked my own small milestones too. Do you recall the difficult days of this year, when you thought you could not continue anymore, whatever that “continue” means to you? You thought you would give up, perhaps a job, a task, a project, friendship or relationship. You thought something was too hard for you to do, to get over. You thought you could not do it alone. You thought you were a failure. You believed the future to you was blank. And remember the highly exhausted moments? Today, on this day, let’s rewind back to those times mentally, and you give your past selves a hug, a pat on your shoulder or simply say with a smile: “You have fought enough, relax a little, it’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to feel beaten down. But you will not be beaten down for long, you will fight it through”.

The best part of New Year Eve is this ability. We are now in the future moments our 6 month ago version desperately wanted to reach to. 6 months ago, I also desperately wanted someone to give me a hug, tell me those exact things. I wished for a person who could just do that without me even asking. I did have a person being there for me. It was just a bit not the same as I wished for in my mind. I realised the reason for that is because no hug would be better than the hug from the future me, the only person who truly understand what I went through.

I don’t remember if I have ever done this in other years, but I guess this mental hug is the most revolutionary for 2016. Be prepared to feel a little sad, guys. It is not supposed to feel so easy as it sounds. It took my breaths away when I wandered back to such moments, to look at myself crying in pain and hopeless to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever I might have been avoided sometimes not to think about, I wandered back there too. It is the last day of 2016, what the hell, right?

I guarantee you though, after such journey, after sadness comes relief. Isn’t it unbelievable that you successfully fought through? Do you feel like a superhero? Well you should. Be a superhero on this very last day, you are soon about to be the champion in 2016. Join me in embracing your winning moments on this last day, before you get prepared for another 365 days to come.

Tonight, when the fireworks are burst in the sky, give all of your bad memories into those flames and look at them burned. I always see the fireworks as the tool for me to let go of things briefly. I can imagine the very bad things of mine turn into such beautiful things in the sky. The light will take over me, let me to treat the firework as a personal gift for me. Right there, I also think about the good days that I normally forget. Even if 2016 has been the worst year I have lived, I would be too selfish to forget the small rare good moments keeping me alive. Those moments are the ones worth staying closed with me.

You see, we as human, we are very strong and persistent even if we think we are not sometimes. We are not given many chances to appraise ourselves for this, but New Year Eve is one of those chances. So I hope you party hard tonight! I hope you go out and see the fireworks and most importantly, you have done the mental comfort to your past selves!

Last month of the year, seems like the time to write again.

Autumn, third one in the list of seasons: spring – summer – autumn – winter; makes us feel like new chapters usually happen in spring when new years start, and summer is when we free us from attachment and “let’s have all the unforgettable memories“;

autumn should be when things are slowly getting quiet before winter comes with its beautiful coldness. But somehow, Autumn always carries within it lots of chaos and changes. In reality, autumn is when schools start again, new classes, new groups, new friends, new parties, new jobs; or turning back to old jobs with few new faces, and turning back to old unfinished things we put off during summer, facing back to problems we cannot run away as we are adults. Adults are stuck. Adults cannot always escape. Adults should know life does not hand out the permanent luxury to hide in comfort. 

So this Autumn, as everyone else, I simply had to attempt being an adult again. 

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I returned to the place I ran away from.

Honestly, it was not a moment of glorious recognition motivating me to decide for returning. I returned because my plan B for staying in Europe worked, despite it being done at very last-minute. As every newly University graduated students, plus under-graduated ones in their last years (okay perhaps not every single ones then), I could not be more unsure of the next step. It was neither because I did not try to think of any plans during my school years, nor because I was really irresponsible for my future. I had plans. Some plans were dreams I nurtured ever since I was a little girl. Some plans I did not even recall how I had them in the first place, but I knew I wanted them. They looked so hopeful and shining in my imagination when they come true.

But plans broke. Life changes every time you plan something, even with little things daily. The first thing appeared in my head almost every time my plans got erased away, is:

“People plan, God laughs”

Seemingly, I am not the only one realising this. I am certain I am not telling you anything you have not yet known. I reckoned I might have ben a little too hopeful to be late in realising how unpredictable one’s life can be. And that’s how, being alive is definitely a bless, but also, one hell of a challenge.

As you can guess at this time, I have stopped planning, at least planning “the big plans“. As ironic as my life can be to me, even the small details I plan daily are as unpredictable as the big ones, and perhaps only little less disappointing. You know, I assume one of the big reasons for me  to yet being disappointed at the plans not working out, is due to my planned-out upbringing. I thought my journey to my dream started when I shipped myself off to another continent (with my parents’ help, of course). I didn’t know such milestone might have been only 5 bricks on the very first wall I had to pass, before my journey can be activated. I don’t know how many bricks I have broken through already. I do know the two things so-called “my journey” and “my dream” are evaporating though.

I didn’t get a tiny bit closer to getting a stable job after graduation. That was my original plan when I was on the plane the very first time. During my University years, surprisingly, I was much less sure than that 17 year-old girl who was about to be on her own, for also the very first time. At my last year in University, admittedly, “my journey” and “my dream” were dissolved into liquid form. Then, with the Finnish winter assistance, it must have been frozen because I kept slipping off, and fell on my bottoms (not so metaphorically). Without jobs or any solid plans, my time in Europe can become a ticking bomb. I didn’t, and in fact, still don’t want to return to my home country. I know I am making this option sound more melodramatic than it is. Returning home, perhaps a little bit strange with the changes, but how can it be so bad to be back with your culture and your family? you might think, or some of my friends have said.

I agree. But I myself cannot wrap my head around it, as if I am trying to fit a cube into a circle. It will be closer to my family, which is the only benefit I can actually see from this option. I know I cannot live with them anymore, in the same house. I have lost touch with many friends ever since I left; it was partly my fault but also partly due to the natural way of living, you lose touch when you don’t have anything in common to talk about. Deep down, I know, it would cause me a lot of patience, effort and adaptation to fit back to the society and culture there; which are the things I am unsure they are worth my energy.

So, in my last year in University, I knew two things absolutely for sure: I had to finish this thesis and I had to stay in Europe.

At last panic minutes, with my determination and worries, I applied for Master Degree. I got in.

Continue reading “Last month of the year, seems like the time to write again.”

And, not or.

The blog’s inspiration is dedicated to #Millennials podcast and the book I am currently reading, Alchemist. 

If you ever know me outside, I think your impression of me here will be shattered. 

I don’t usually share so much with others. I do appear as a happy girl. Many times when I actually sit down and tell people (whom I actually trust enough) what really is going on with me, they claim to be quite surprised. So, okay, I don’t share much. 

I wrote before how I started my writing and my blog here. I did explain to you quite in details how I chose this online environment to be my sharing corner, with people I don’t even know. I probably don’t even tell my closed friends these many thoughts. Heck, they don’t even know I have a blog. 

That was what made travelling appeal to him – he always made new friends, and he didn’y need to soend all of his time with them. When someone sees the same people everyday, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear ifea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.  – Alchemist book, Paulo Coelho. 

There is the reason. Because you don’t know me, except for me here through my romantic, long and over-shared style of writing. This is me. But there are also other me(s) in real life. There is also me who I am myself searching for still, there is me who I am waiting to rise up sometimes and there is me who I force to change. My friends know almost all of those versions, once they have certain images, it is hard to break. I am not sure if I even want to change how they look at me. 

Even so, I have a lot of other me versions to different types of friends. I can be emotional and cheesy. I can be the opposite. I can just be your drinking partner. I can also be the hard-working teammate/colleague of yours. I can stay quiet if you don’t like talking. I can also talk more to maintain the conversations with you. 

I work in Marketing, have had experiences working with social media promotion and I love researching about those stuff. Marketing to me is a combination of many evolving things that it becomes really difficult to catch up. To connect and understand your customers is another big challenge. With digitization, marketing now has developed much into digital marketing. My daily lives involve many hours being on Internet and in front of computers. When I used to work voluntarily for AIESEC Youth Organization, my daily life was 30-40 notifications on Facebook. That was quite brutal, I would say. 

I also dislike and get tired with Marketing. Because it is changing so much, everyone claims to know the best way to reach customers. Many advises and articles written on the topic remain to be from US perspectives. This rises a tough question for other different culture and environment, how to pick up and adapt for suitability to their own cases. Then, as a consumer myself, I cannot deny the fact that occasionally, marketing comes as manipulation and deceiving customers. I don’t like to be sold to; but I am also the person trying to make sales.

I don’t like to spend long time on Facebook but sometimes, I just have to. 

I am also a person who enjoy being outside, hiking, walking or running and not being tied down on a chair.

But on some days, I’d like my relaxing time, being cozy watching series, staring at computer and just typing down a new blog, maybe. 

I used not to like Marketing, but now I do.

I used to have everything planned out, but now I very much go with the flow and cannot handle the pressure of tight schedules. 

I love nature, I love silence but I also like cities and urban life. 

I’d like to read. I love words but I also enjoy going straight to the point, being simple now and then. 

I love the sea, I always felt like it was a part within me when I was in France even if I didn’t grow up by seaside. But I cannot swim. 

I used to think my blog is not going to be read by anyone anyway (which actually make me more reassured to have my writing published), but now, well I have 20 followers. 

The list goes on, not to mention about my changing mood. 

And that is how I changed my blog name to Contradictory. My blog domain still remains as randomwandering, as I have not yet reached moments to have to invest financially into this blog. 

I have told a few friends of mine what I learned from this one particular Interculturalist during one conference in Brussels. And since I have always been over-shared with you, I am going to tell you too. 

You are not this or that. You are this AND that.” 

If you are lost in knowing yourself, as much as I have been, I hope you will give this sentence certain amount of time to actually absorb. It has helped me a lot. 

Imagine on your worst days of life up to this point, you even recognize you cannot even understand yourself anymore. Anything you have done, have believed and have claimed to be you, is broken into pieces. As each of those things got you into this place – the place you would have laughed at anybody telling you that you would be here eventually. Well, because you were not supposed to reach here. You had plans of reaching somewhere else. 

So, the feeling would pretty suck, right? 

The sentence has helped enormously in a sense that I don’t have to be exactly one person. I don’t have to be that person everyone thinks I am or how I should be. I don’t have to be the person I promise myself to be. I just simply can be all. I can be outgoing but I am also very scared of starting conversations with strangers sometimes. I am brave to move to new places, getting to know new people, breaking out of my bubble but really, I only wish to have time just to be within my room and not socializing. Changing is a natural force of life. And if life changes, time passes, buildings appear and disappear, why do you have to be only one version? 

I know now, I am at such a phase in which I will feel lost continuously. You know, being 20s and millennials and stuff. Perhaps, somebody tells you to be very careful of what path you should choose to go in these ages, since it might determine your identity.

I will risk telling you, don’t be careful.

Our identity is not stable. And I would very much disagree to people always using their job as their identity; except when you got to do the job you always dream for. Just, the next time you introduce yourself to someone, how about not including what you do for a living to define you, and instead what you like to do in your pastimes? 

The only permanent thing might be a core value you admit to yourself when you were much younger, before you stumble upon many obstacles that push you over. I cannot tell you what this core value can be. I am one of you too, seeking for answers. But I do know, this value has to be something I would always go back to, and would never lose despite all odds.