The Rollercoaster Life – Part 2 (Reflection of 5 Years in Real Life)

roller-coaster of life

Is every moment of our lives built before we’re born?
Maybe…I don’t know for sure..
But in life, there’s always ups and downs..
And they make life worth living..
We’ve never realized how high we’ve gotten,
without the perspective of how low we had actually been…



So, let’s continue this story. The first part is here. Well, in the summary, the first year after my graduation was the phase on a transition from college life to real life. It mostly about trying hard to figuring out how to be grown-up man, and trying to figure out, not necessarily who I am, but how to be who I am.

And, like I said, I felt thankful to experience the assignment to Field/Site at the first year of my career, because I was forced to learn faster about engineering. And yes, not only about technical things, but also in regards to personal development, because I also involved to work with many types of worker (blue collar, white collar, client/company man engineer) and many different character of people.

The 2nd Year – Back to Square One

Well, after long struggling & lot of hassle, harsh reality, and sometimes bully (again, you can imagine, as fresh graduate engineer working at Field/Site on small company with very tight schedule of EPC project nature, working 7 days per week, for sure it’s tough), then I decided to leave this first company when project almost completed.

Besides that, the harsh reality about working on EPC Project with project contract-basis, there will be no certainty once project completed. I mean, once project completed, I have to find other project to work. It was good experience in terms of technical though, but of course, I need something better, something stable.

I needed the better things in terms of compensation, more established company, and more stability concerning my future career path & career growth. Therefore, it means I was back to square one, become unemployment again, and I have to find other job.

Okay, this time was the lowest point of my life. It took me around 3-4 months to get a new job. During those 4 months, actually it was harder to find good job compare to “my fresh grad time” one year before.

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The Rollercoaster Life – Part 1 (Reflection of 5 Years in Real Life)

RollerCoaster Life

We can’t design our life like a building.
It doesn’t work that way.
Just take the leap, have faith to live it,
and it will design itself.
Well, It may become like a rollercoaster ride,
but we always have a choice,
to either scream or just enjoy the ride…

Well, life is really just going so fast. Somehow, I can hardly believe it. ‘Cause it felt like just yesterday that I graduate from college and being “thrown away” to a so called “Real Life”. And as this year kicking-off, I sort of forgot that it’s been more than five years since the day I got my first job, back in the end of 2008.

I think, this is surely a good time to reflect on what I’ve done for the past 5 years. Especially, I’m surprised at where I am at now, compared to five years ago. It may a long post, but personally, it’s worth my time to write & share it, as such I’ll write it on several part, and this post is the first part. As the saying goes, “It’s our experience that shape who we are”, right?

The Beginning

Back on October 2008, after recently-graduate, like any other recently-graduate, I was endlessly searching job, took job-test & job-interview in various companies, attended one job fair to another job fair, traveling from one city to another city. Starting from Bandung, and just in the space of two months, I went to visit several cities e.g Jakarta, Cikarang, Karawang, Bekasi, Depok, Cilegon, Pekanbaru, Duri, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, even to Balikpapan.

Sometimes, I went from one city to another (faraway city) just in space of 2 days time. Even, I experienced one time where I was trying to rest in mosque, because I didn’t have time to find affordable place at the city I had never visited before. The harsh reality I had face at the time was it that, after countless job tests and all had the same ending, “no concrete job contract/offering”.

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27 Years Old – The New Chapter of Adulthood

Your greatest achievements of life,
are moments in time when what you’re doing,
allows you to see how wonderful your life already is…
Of course, the truest test of anything, is time..
And, the new chapter of my life story,
is about to begin..

27 years old!! Hmmm… It is kind of an awkward age — I’m not young anymore but also not too old, or still before the looming 30. It’s inbetween. So, 27 just sounded like a good time for things to happen. That said, 27 is going to be a year where a lot of things come together, and a lot of the foundations laid down since I was 22, come to fruition.

Some people say that, time changes everything. I think, it’s completely NOT true. It’s doing things that changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were. Because, the thing is, life always gives you two options, either you choose to put action “living your life”, or you choose to be a passive audience to your own life.

So far, 27 has been the strangest combination of courage, confusión, uncertainty, and happiness. But I like it, I think it went pretty cool. I mean, for these 27 years, there’s always a “surprise”, a completely unexpected things that happen beyond my wildest dreams, both good things & bad things.

As what I’ve experienced on living in real life since 5 years ago, life can take me for a ride and then drop me down. But, it is how to rise from there, and take steps towards, taking a ride back again towards where I wanted to go, is all that matters.

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The Reality of Living Overseas – Part 2

Eventually, a new country starts to feel like home.
But, the only way to really know if it’s for you,
is just to go for it…!!!!
Just say, “why not?” Life is beautiful…
Make choice to live your own life..
Live out your dreams before they turn into regrets…
Because, if you want it bad enough, you will make it work…

(~ARM)

Well, it has been officially one year that I’ve been living & moving abroad. And, I want to continue my writing on this topic (You can see Part 1 here), just to reflect from my own experience on living overseas. Like I said before, what about the realities of living abroad – do my dreams match the reality?

Yes, I love living in another country, soaking up all it has to offer. I constantly tell myself that these are the adventure that I’ll love telling my kids someday, that I won’t remember the downs nearly as much as I remember the ups.

However, as I always understand about life, there’s no such thing as “perfect ten” in real life, so still there is “but” somewhere along the line. I mean, that expat life isn’t glamorous as most people often thought it seem.

It’s Still Real Life, Not Vacation

I think, some people can fall into a trap thinking that, moving abroad is a piece of cake like “a long-term vacation”. Well, let me tell you honestly, you couldn’t be more wrong..!!! It’s a daily battle where you’ve been forced to adapt, and make things in new country become familiar.

You see, living overseas is nothing like vacationing there. 1-2 weeks of vacationing doesn’t provide a perspective on daily realities of living in foreign country. Vacations are a break from our daily life, they are NOT our everyday life. We still have to work, and we cannot spend money like on vacation. We need to watch our expenses, which limits us on all the activities like when going vacation.

The first 2 weeks after moving to a new place are, indeed, like being on vacation. There is so much excitement about being somewhere new and just seeing all the new places, people, and things. There is so much things to see and explore. Everything just looked shiny and new and wonderful.

But once “the honeymoon of being in a beautiful new place” has worn off, the reality of day to day life often sets in. Unforeseen difficulties and feelings of unfamiliarity creep in. I no longer know where to buy certain products, where to meet other people, where to go for walks or fun, etc. Familiarity is what makes somewhere feel like home and the absence of it, can be daunting.

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Self-Acceptance Part 2

Your life, with all its ups & downs you’ve encountered,
has molded you to be the person you meant to be,
exactly what it needed to be..
If you have the courage to admit when you’re scared,
the ability to laugh even as you cry,
the nerve to speak up even if your voice is shaking,
the confidence to ask for help when you need it,
and the wisdom to take it when it’s offered,
then you have everything you need,
to be the better version of your today’s self.

(~Marc & Angel)

This is the main foundation which I’ve started since more than a year ago. I’ve written the first part regarding self-acceptance in here, where my first step is, to give-up the control, or letting go the the thing that I can’t control in my own life. Because, life doesn’t design like engineering. Now, I would like to continue it, the thing that I mostly did since last year.

You see, sometimes, we just cannot force life to go in the direction we want it to. Imagine allowing things to happen naturally, and things work out, and all we did was smile and watch. We don’t have to worry about shaping things, about controlling something that can’t be controlled. We don’t have to push, and fix leaks, and put out fires. We just let things work on their own. They happen, at the right moment, for the right reason.

The Art of “Give-Up”

For this year, what I’ve been trying to apply, is “the art of give-up”. The thing is, I’m simply allowing things happened and I watch my life story unfolded, little by little. Surprisingly, the more I stop “trying so hard to force things to happen”, the more they just seem to sort themselves out. The more I let things happen, the less time & less frustations I’ve experienced trying to make them happen.

So, here’s the thing that I “give-up” in the pursuit of self-acceptance:
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The Question That Change My Life..

There are times in life when you need to just settle for less,
There are also times in life when you know that you deserve more,
And you need a push & courage to make a big changes for real…
And sometimes,
that came when you honestly question yourself..

(~ARM)

I remember this kind of week last year, (you can read it here), at the time, I felt indeed, my life was out of balance. Although, I’m ready to just settle for the kind of life that I was living at the time, as part of Self-Acceptance to the reality of life, but I can’t help myself to just wondering that I need big changes.

Maybe, at that time, I was juggling a lot. I know, at the time, things are (mostly) on track, and I can see progress in the different areas my life on career, romance, and other things. Overall, it is working. Yet, inside I feel overwhelmed, and some days – just downright tired from juggling it all. I felt that I should be split into different pieces to give the right amount of attention that everyone is asking from me. Yes, I felt, that there is something missing.

Well, I’m sure that most of us go through this at some point in our lives. You know that feeling that something is not quite right? That something is missing in your life? Maybe, we don’t really understand what it is, but it scares us. So much that we’re willing to do almost anything to make it go away.

Then, I asked myself to be brave enough to sit still and really listen to myself. That night, the tiny voice inside my mind, a voice startles me, just as I began to slide into sleep. “Go, dream, seize this moment”, it says. On other side, my mind stirs and answers sleepily, “Why? I already know what’s out there isn’t worth it that much. I have everything I need right here. My mind is suddenly filled with a thousand concerns and a feeling of looming uncertainty wells within me like a slowly draining battery.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. I heard the sound of my alarm clock, and I couldn’t seem to remember how long it’s been. It seems more like a dream — someone else’s life, not my own. The quiet metronome of the clock reminds me of the creeping complacency that’s slowly shrouded my life, like a cancer gone undetected until it’s too late. “I wasn’t always like this. What happened?”

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The Reality of Living Overseas – Part 1

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life,
but my life has never been ordinary.
I’ve simply failed to notice how extraordinary it is.
Likewise, I never imagined that home,
might be something I would miss..”

Well, 10 months have passed since I came here to Abu Dhabi. And, as I become more and more settle into my new life in a new country as time passes, now it becomes less a question of how long I’ve been here, and more one of how long I’ve been gone from my home country.

I know, having overseas career is appealing for a lot of reasons. And, living in new country, even just going to the grocery store — when in an exciting new place within a new language — is a thrilling activity. And having to start from zero and rebuild everything, having to re-learn how to live and carry out every day activities, fundamentally excited me.

And at my home country, people that I used to know, nowadays just see me in a completely different way, and different level of respect. After all, it’s all about, very well, having dreams and hopes and aspirations however.

After all, being in my 20’s, I really want at this age to be the time in my life when I try new things. New jobs. Living in new cities. Meet a new people, with different culture, and different mindset.

But what about the realities of living abroad – do my dreams match the reality? From my own experience, my answer is “YES”, for the most part. However, as what always understand about life, there is no such thing as “perfect ten” in real life, so still there is “but” somewhere along the line.

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Embrace The Uncertainty Of Life

We can’t plan life precisely.
Because no matter how perfect our plan is,
life has a way to rearrange it.
However,
If you could see a movie of your life before you lived it,
would you want to live it?

Well, I’ve been involved on several Engineering Project on the company I’m working now. Just like any other Oil & Gas project that I’ve experienced, there is similar pattern that I know very well which always happen. It’s called the uncertainty moments, where I didn’t know what, when, and how the best solution of Engineering Design shall be applied for the specific problems or issues on the project.

I know, it’s the uncertainty that life is all about. But, to be honest, you see, I confess that I normally hate to be caught on the bad feeling in those uncertainty time. The most difficult part of uncertainty, at least for me, is the inability to plan and feel in control, until I know all the answer.

But maybe, it isn’t the uncertainty that bothers me, it’s my tendency to get lost in my feelings and thought about it. The feeling where I’ve made speculation and speculation, that leads me to start indulging fear, then I get lost in a cycle of reactionary thoughts.

But, It comes to my mind occasionally, “If I could see a movie of my life before I lived it, would I want to live it?” As for now, my direct answer will be definitely not. The thrill of living is that, I don’t know what’s coming. In other words, uncertainty is what makes my life fun. My sense is that, that uncertainty rescues me from boredom.

It’s like this, “If you could see each future step along the way, you’d never get the chance to be amazed at what you can do”, doesn’t it?

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2013 : NOT “Walk The Path”, But “Surf The Sea”

After he hit the ball, he directly go to round first,
things that he never done before,
without realizing any other things..
Here’s what’s really interesting.
When he arrived on round first, people laughing at him.
Because, he didn’t realize the ball went over the fence.
He hit a home run and didn’t even realize it.
Yes, It’s a metaphor..

(~Moneyball Movie)

It’s already 2013 now. I’m brimming with optimism and happy to welcome this new year. Particularly, because what I’ve done back in 2012. I’ll always treasure the 2012 as the year when I able “to make things happens”, a chapter of dream come true, so to speak. And yes, it all look too perfect.

And truth is, I’ve never been in this phase of my life before. I used to live on “chasing the dream”, but once I got the dream, and continue living with all the routine in it, I felt that I need to adapt on actually “how for living in the dream” itself.

The thing is, previoulsy, I used to look at goal setting as picking a destination, then figuring out a path how to get there, trying to enjoy the ride, and be happy with the journey. Only, after I’ve arrived there, I realized that “destination” is not exactly like mountain that won’t move, but in reality, it’s the landscape that changing constantly.

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That “Someday” is Today

No matter what you want in life,
you’ve got to take that first step..
Regardless how much metawork we do,
or how much we talk about what we want to accomplish,
in the end, it’s our actions that define whether we fail or succeed.
Take a step, even if it’s a small step..

I remember when I was teenager, that I used to say, “Someday I’ll become that person, someday I’ll get everything that I want, someday, and someday”. Even when I was in college, this “someday things” became part of me also. “Someday I will be rich, someday I’ll go looking for better job, someday I’ll travel the world, etc, etc”..

The truth is, this someday things are growth with me, that make so accustomed that there will be a someday in my life where everything will finally come together. I have to admit it feels good to write today in these new ground rules. Because these someday things are lies, lies, lies… It’s seems almost unfair that at such a young age we buy into these lies and get stuck forever in this fairy tale idea of life.

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