2022

We’re just turning a page into a new year.

How’s your 2022?

Mine was pretty much fine. Some struggles remain the same..like emotional, physical, and financial. As well some people are consistently being assholes. 

Having had no hints of excitement with a so-called resolution to begin, I found 2022 was quite a hopeful year. There were some episodes of breakdowns where I felt like giving up for feeling stuck, but I pressed on, kept on living, and made personal progress I’m deeply grateful and proud of.

Is this going to be the new-year-new-me story?

Nah. I’m not really into summing up the whole year, taking a trip down memory lane of 2022 for self-contemplations, yadda..yadda..because the melancholy part of me, in some senses, whether the memory was good or bad, died.

Life is too short to be miserable, and I just can’t afford depression.

And if we’re speaking of memory, the reflective aspect often leads to an overly fanciful imagination, resulting in delusions. Hence, I ain’t looking back and glooming my heart with false hope.

Needless to say. My 2022 came to an end like any other.

Shit often happened, but it ain’t all bad.

Leaving the cynicism aside, there are a couple of amazing things in 2022 that are worth reminiscing about (for I need to write it out and keep this blog on its feet for whatever reasons).

1. Birthday Trip

The funny thing about the pandemic, life chaos aside, was when I decided to create a new happy ritual against the angst about turning a year older.

I don’t have that mixed emotions over getting older (what a lie!).

Okay, well, there is this tiny crack in my defense toward the fear of being old. Let alone the increasing intensity of loneliness, loss, and regret once you realize that you are getting older can come in waves.

A birthday somehow turned out to be an intimidation rather than a celebration (who’s with me?)

Well, maybe because my birthday falls in February, the big day often came with a dose of melancholy, is it? (I see Pisces people raising their hands).

And, while we were being exposed to the challenging year of the pandemic, I asked myself how I could bring back the joy on my birthday.

So, for me, with a lifelong passion for wanderlust, what could be better than a birthday trip?

Sunset at Gili Trawangan (personal doc)

This year I went to Lombok Island, located in the east of Bali (note: different province). It was a girls’ trip for around a week and nothing (well, for me is after a winter season) makes a holiday season more exciting than a beach!

I visited Gili Islands and stayed for three days on the island called Gili Trawangan. And, because it was February which is obviously not the ideal month to visit for sunbathing goals the weather was not much friendly as we expect. It was raining and windy almost every day. But luckily the storms that roll in didn’t last for long – typically just a few hours and when it’s stop, the weather is back to sunny and hot with warm breezes and a tropical feel.

Cloudy day at Gili Trawangan (personal doc)

There were also hardly anyone crowds, the beach was much less packed (which is quite a blessing for my introverted soul), and many stores and restaurants were still closed.

Lombok’s tourism has yet to be fully recovered on Gili Islands (note that as of September 2018 Lombok can’t be considered completely safe following the earthquake aftermath) despite the international event of MotoGP coming hold.

But still, it was a fun girls’ trip, and we enjoyed biking along the beach, taking lots of photos, and loading unstoppable carbs onto our tummies.

Happy tummy, happy life.

Sadly, I couldn’t make time for diving and island hopping. I need at least ten days for exploring the Lombok Islands. The island is less heavily touristed than Bali, but it has more tranquil spots to offer and unspoiled nature to enjoy.

I’d come back for sure for diving and hiking.

Maybe I’ll later write about my diving trip?

2. Daily Cook

Cooking.

This is one of the least expected stuff coming from me.

For most of my life, I always proclaimed myself good at eating, not at cooking. I accepted my limitations in the kitchen, but now I would go so far as to say that I’m pretty good at cooking.

It started when I decided to live by myself last year, and I needed to dwell on my diet menu plan (before I quit dieting and surrendered to the hunger games now), which led me to explore the world of Youtube cooking channels, watching Netflix cooking documentaries, and finding daily cook on Instagram and TikTok of people sharing their recipes.

Midnight Diner (深夜食堂, Shinya shokudō) is a Japanese TV anthology series based on the manga by Yarō AbeShin’ya Shokudō. It focuses on a late-night diner in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo (source: Wikipedia). There’s this satisfying pleasure of watching not just only the ordinary and simple Japanese food served but also the heartwarming connections between the mysterious chef known only as “Master” and his customers.

And, to my surprise, after lots of trial and error going on, I managed to create good food! Although, like a typical beginner cook’s accident, I once got the burned-oven experience. Lol. I thought I was about to burn down my place! (I even applied for a day’s leave to get through the trauma. Lol!)

I’m not that terrible at cooking, anyway. Maybe I never enjoyed the process because my Mom is a great cook and she’s always judging her girls who are far from the kitchen ideal.

Well, not all women are born to cook—although they try, and they had Mom who is a goddess in the kitchen.

But now being in the kitchen feels more fun; it’s a mini playground for experimenting and playing with frying pans and woks. There’s just something liberating and emotionally rewarding about cooking that puts me in a good mood, especially when I’m having a bad day.

Salmon en Papillote. The most favorite recipes to cook in 2022. I couldn’t get enough of eating it except for the hefty price tag of salmon.

Should I share my recook recipe here?

3. Study MBA

I knew that this year (2022), I shall start building my career life, I just needed to do something – anything–to get me out of my funk, which even means landing a new job (maybe in 2023?)

My career looks pretty impressive on paper – I graduated from a top national university, worked on multiple projects over a decade, joined a top 100 Forbes-listed company (from the point of view of the HQ office), have a healthy work-life balance, and make a good wage (well, it’s never enough, but still).

With a seemingly great job and a potential solid resume, I wondered why, then, did I have the sinking feeling that I hadn’t worked toward accomplishing my bigger goals?

Hitting by the fact that I’m already past the youth era’s glories, I couldn’t stop questioning:

Where am I going to go now? How far can I go at this point?

I’m working in the business field. This is my 3rd company, and I’ve been working for more than nine years in this place, it’s getting more like living in a comfort zone. Most days I would spend half the day trying to find a mental escape from my current reality. It doesn’t sound totally awful though. A comfort zone is encouraging but confining at the same time.

I did make several attempts to apply for new jobs around three to four years ago.

Some ended with rejection and many other offerings were doubtful. Once I got soooo much close to acceptance, but it was canceled. There were also some recruiters who approached me for a startup business. But sorry, I don’t do startups. I don’t know, I just simply don’t suit the adrenaline junkies that prefer stimuli over serenity.

I know a corporate job is sometimes perceived as boring and less inspiring.

While I wanted to do more. I still wanted to learn more. But the irony here is that I enjoy structure and stability. If I’ve found a job I love doing, I stick to it.

My mental appears to be corporate, but my passion is likely startups.

There’s always a gap between where you are and where you want to be.

This was exactly the big question I ask myself in 2022.

I’m a grown-up. I can’t blame the company for, let’s say, feeling stuck in a career. By any means of being stuck, I’m in a position to make a change; to decide that I want a different life experience.

I’m the problem, I might as well be the solution.

(No, I didn’t do any sort of meditation for a mental shift. It’s all about logic)

I began heavily invested in “building” professional skills related to my career, like signing up for online and offline courses, and certifications. It is costly, but I’d like to think that it’s worth it.

And the most epic learning investment I made was joining the executive MBA program.

Having no economics major yet working in the business field, I wasn’t that confident in learning a finance-related subject, I never thought I would find joy in the spreadsheet. It’s sometimes overwhelming but fulfilling once I got the formula.

I consider I could begin a good relationship with numbers. Starting now.

And, by the time I made this writing, I got informed my final project group won the best business project. We could even sign it up for a startup incubator program.

Knowing the project was using my business plan and finance projections, given hindsight, I have hope once again.

There’s never too late to reconnect with my full potential.


So, how’s your 2022? Was it a mental awakening enough?

Cheers!

K

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