18 years old? Here’s the thing you need to hear.
First of all, happy birthday! In my country, 18 years old means we graduate from high school and ready to face the world (university, work, or... marriage, yes).
If I were able to talk to my 18 year-old self, I would give the same advice to you what I give to her:
1. It's okay if you haven't figured out your dream(s). Some people need more time and more experience to figure something out what they want to do in their life. You're not the only one, dear!
2. Maybe you are trying to date for the first time. Honey, if you do want to date, listen to your instincts. I hope you only meet good people in your life--but if you do meet bad person, please get away as soon as possible.
3. Just because you're now legal to do some stuffs, doesn't mean that you have to do it. Some things just don't suit you, and you don't need everyone's approval if you don't want to do it.
4. You're amazing and will do more amazing things in the future! Try to believe in yourself more!
5. Don't forget to give yourself a me-time! It's important to keep you content and sane; it works for me.
6. If some people told you your hobbies are childish, don't listen to them. It's your hobbies and you feel happiness from it. Again, you don't need people's approval for your own happiness.
7. In case it isn't clear, you can't please everyone.
I hope you have a happy year ahead!
Our Happily Ever After
We talked about it, remember? We would live in a house with a mountain view; green and blue, cold weather, and us snuggling under the blanket. I haven't told you about it, but I hope we have big windows and perhaps a balcony so I can spend my mornings just to stare at the view. We can drink coffee-or tea, in my case-together once you wake up, then enjoy the silence. After that, we will go down to the kitchen and try cooking together until I skip some steps, or you decide bothering me is more fun than cooking. Of course you won't say it's 'bothering', because you love me and you can't keep your hands off to yourself.
It's such a simple life, but something we would want for the rest of our lives.
It's more than enough to fulfill our happily ever after.
When he held my hand for the first time, I felt warmth for the first time.
When he patted my head gently, I felt like my heart would burst from a sudden giddiness.
And we hadn't even told each other about our feelings.
I often felt lonely, numb, and sad all the times. Not that anyone sees it; they see me as someone who's too picky and high up in their self-made pedestal for me.
I wanted to say that I just didn't feel the connection. Didn't feel anything--and it's rich coming from me who feels numbness everyday.
Why would I settle myself with that?
I was convinced that I would be alone for the rest of my life. I was ready to grow old as a cat lady--until he came into my life, unexpectedly yet so gently.
Since then, my heart is full. Content. Happy. I now understand the word 'love'. I also now understand the way my favorite characters being in love. It is full of warmth and tenderness, feels real and yet unreal at the same time--but also the sureness of that person being The One or some shit like that.
He's like my sun. He gently wraps me in his warmth and comforts me when I'm feeling blue. He brings life again to me, who had given up too many times in the past, and just makes me feel alive.
If my parents were asked what their daughter is like, they would definitely answer with, “She is a quiet and shy child who loves to read.”
I devoured everything that have letters on it. Even reading newspaper where many words are difficult to a young girl. I began to think that I want to write. I didn’t know there are many jobs that require writing skills, so I only had the vaguest idea: I WANTED TO BE A WRITER.
I still remember the day I got praise for my writing. I was in my 5th grade, and we were asked to rewrite an article in our own way. I was so happy that I finally had a chance to write something, and finished it quicker than anyone else in the class. The teacher then said my piece was the best, and I was so happy and also embarassed over the loud claps from my classmates. The young me began to dream further after that historical day, and I resolved that I would be a best-seller author someday.
But, a young girl’s dream clashed with the harsh reality. The society had its own standard and the young girl’s wishes did not fit it. So she resigned herself and strove to work hard to graduate well.
The dream, however, still stays in the back of her mind.
The young girl doesn’t know yet, that writing will help her to keep on moving forward. That her writing is LOVED by many people, even if it’s only in the form of fanfiction. That she would find a peaceful place just for herself when she writes.
The girl doesn't know yet, that she will feel lost over years of writer's block, and then finally get to try again writing small things, just for her enjoyment, and receive praises and encouragement after 2 years of nothing.
But the present me knows, and have told myself to set aside some hours to write. Writing has kept me alive, and so the simple me wants to cling on it to make myself happy.
I learned that happiness is quite simple.
There were gruelling months of me living like a ghost in my own home. My job kept me away from my family, especially on Sunday when I should have been resting and socializing with them. Alas, I was trapped in my work. I couldn’t go to the beach with them on some Sundays, and caused them to not have birthday parties unless I was there (which, predictably, I wasn’t). My daily routine was wake up - eat - shower - work - sleep. I was stressed and tired that my family forced me to resign, which I was only able to do after almost a year of working there.
Now, to have time to open Twitter and interact with my friends makes me happy. To be able to open YouTube and watch videos of my favorite artists makes me happy. To be able to sleep in on Sundays makes me happy. To be able to talk with my family makes me happy. To be able to drive a little more slowly makes me happy. Every little thing that I could not experience during my previous job makes me happy and grateful.
These little happiness might not make sense to some people, but I have never been a normal person myself. Yes, I might be poor, but it teaches me to be happy over the simplest things.
When I was young, I thought running was something you only do for sport. Now, in my 29 years old, I have learned there are different ways of running.
I started ‘running’ from logic when I dated my ex. He was relentless in pursuing me, and against my better judgement, I eventually gave in. It was a series of emotional abuse and bigotry that I was blinded to. For two years I was trapped in a toxic relationship.
My second ‘running’ is when I slipped into depression right after my graduation. I ‘ran’ from my responsibility as a young adult, who should’ve find a job and be the filial daughter. I still feel guilty until now when I think of those dark years when I could have done something more... Asking help, perhaps. Or talking to my parents, maybe. I didn’t do anything of the sort and let myself be seen as a lazy bum who holed herself up in her room doing nothing.
My third ‘running’ is when I finally decided that I had enough. I needed to get better, I told myself. First thing I did was finding a job. I wasn’t confident in pursuing a job that suited my major since I hadn’t been active and it could bring out questions of the gap years after graduation and the present that I wasn’t ready to answer. I finally settled a job as a Customer Service slash Admin slash Marketing in a company. When I received my first pay, I was happy. I felt good for earning money and be able to buy my own things. However, the working hours took a toll on me and I eventually resigned after working for 11 months there.
I am still ‘running’ until now, even if I wish I could have a better paying job so my family won’t live off of debts here and there. I try, every day, to not ‘run’ away leaving them but instead ‘run’ harder and faster so that I can help them. It is hard, to live as minimally as possible while around me my friends have settled down with high pay jobs and even married. But I tell myself over and over that this will soon pass and we can finally live a little more comfortably.
And maybe, someday we can go traveling like the old days.
We just have to keep 'running', no matter how exhausting it is.