To live or to life.

I always get inspired most to write when I actually have assignments due. But these are the times I actually think the most about life. Yknow Life? Like why do we invest so much time for a future that is not definite? Why do we lead a life where its such a rarity to do something you actually love? Why is life like that? Who made it that way? And why do all of us conform?

I was debating these questions in my head in a long train ride back from London to Nottingham. After an eventful Easter break where I delved myself to living. I took a long deep breath of life, and let go of all responsibilities. We’re still lucky, you and I (assuming that you’re students as well), we get long breaks of holidays, mid sem break, exam break – we get it all. In Malaysia we’re lucky enough to have a hella lot of public holidays. But what is it about life that makes it so hard to live sometimes? Why can’t everyday be a holiday? Why wasn’t life fixed that way? Weren’t humans the one creating societal routines? Maybe I’m just going waaaay deep into this, but it made me realise the importance of having a future career that would make me happy. That wouldn’t be such a drag or a task to wake up to. Not necessarily a holiday everyday, but enough for me not to want to quit.

I haven’t really been motivated to do work, or study. I was so goal oriented in Pre U and so determined, I don’t know where that all went. Was it a short term goal that I had? Was my motivation only external rather than internal? Amirul calls it the Second Year Syndrome. It’s when your motivation is at a slow decline, and you consider dropping out due to forgetting the purpose of why you’re taking the degree. It’s exactly what I’m feeling! (not the dropping out part I would be slaughtered by my parents). I forgot the purpose of studying Psychology. I haven’t seen the wider picture, I don’t have a set goal of what I want to do with my degree. I mean there’s so many routes you can take. Let’s list the options.

  1. Continue to Masters (which is still an open field) I can either :
    1. focus on Special Education Needs
    2. focus on Autism or Down Syndrome
    3. focus on developmental psychology
    4. study for marketing (I’ve always been interested in marketing )
    5. counselling?
  2. be a researcher in Malaysia
  3. Work in HR?
  4. Work in Marketing?
  5. Find a route to becoming a psychiatrist or a psychologist

I don’t know which I should take. The easy route is HR or marketing. But I want something bigger than that, I want a purpose in life. To help others, an individual or a group of people on a greater scale – thats why I took on Psychology. All of this vision was blurred away and hidden behind the pile of assignments and revision I had to do. I need to find that intrinsic motivation that got lost along the way. I want to make a difference – that how I want to mark my life. It doesn’t have to be big, start small maybe it’ll grow. But with how Malaysia fails to see the importance of mental health, I aim to change that. I want to do so much, I want to help so much. But one by one Alina. Let’s graduate first. Pray for me.

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Selfish almost.

Sometimes I’m so focused on my own personal growth I don’t notice the growth that’s surrounding me. Once we immerse ourselves in our minds, we become selfish almost – more accurately egocentric. Who can blame us? We only feel how we feel, we only know what we think and we can only imagine what others are going through. Is that selfish of us? To function as we’re meant to function? To live our life for ourself, is that selfish? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself lately.

To start, I’ve been growing to see life in a more egocentric point of view. I’ve been focused on my own goals, and my own journey that I don’t think even think about other people. I use to believe this focus I had was great, the right kind of focus (Jangan pijak tepi kain orang kinda focus yknow). But this way of life that I’ve immersed myself in drowned me whole. I only care about me, me, me. Mostly focused on my personal growth that I fail to realise the growth of those close to me – My parents. It took me to stand behind an old couple struggling to go up the stairs of the tube to realise that my parents are growing too. To see a recent photo of them from what I used to know, to realise their hair are getting greyer and their wrinkles are setting deeper.

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Have you ever felt like time stops around you? When I was younger and I would always be asked how old I am by aunties and uncles and I would always be aware of my age, and know how to answer correctly. However, when teachers or anyone else ask me how old my mom was I would say 43 years old for 3-4 consecutive years. I would do the same with my sister. I would tell people she was 16 for years. This serves as the earliest evidence of egocentric behaviour from myself. I wouldn’t notice other people’s growth as I would with my own growth. Though we would celebrate my mom’s birthday every year, it just doesn’t register to me that she too grows old. Especially when you’re growing so fast and each year is such a huge step, what is 43 compared to 44 right? You get me? Looking at old photo albums, I only notice difference in appearance when it’s half a decade apart. But looking at my old photo albums, I can see the difference within months of the pictures taken. Who would know you better than yourself right? There’s nothing wrong with that.

But now to see the growth that I’ve missed of my parents because I was so self centred, it’s something I can’t take back. We’re all aware that our parents’ observe and document our growth; they know every firsts, and everything you’ve done. They can map out each scar, and tell each story. They were there for your whole life, and we came only half way through theirs. What scars can we map out? What stories can we tell? How well do we actually know our parents? But while we’re growing to achieve our own personal goals we shouldn’t lose touch with the growth of our parents and those surrounding us. Time doesn’t stop around us, I know that by now. Time goes on whether we like it or not and time with our parents, are ticking whether we realise it or not. You’re not the only one growing, they’re growing too. With their own personal milestone like, my dad retired last year and my mom started wearing the hijab. They’re growing and we should just be there to observe and document in any way we can while time continues to tick.

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In 2017

 

I learnt a lot about gratitude this year. To be grateful, is to look at what you have instead of what you do not. I’ve been really grateful for a lot of things in my life, from the simplest thing of having all 4 limbs attached to having the opportunity to move to the UK for my studies. I’m grateful. In Islam, Allah said be grateful and I will give you more. I believe I was drowned in blessings this year. Although it was still a challenging year. I had a lot of things stripped away from me, mainly my home and my comfort. However, that was the catalyst that taught me to be grateful. That’s what taught me to look at all the things I have instead of all the things I did not have. So this final blogpost of the year is a list of things I’m grateful for.

 

I’m grateful for …

 

1. My skin clearing up from acne. Having a full face of acne was really challenging. It ruined my self confidence and really affected how I saw myself. It made me focus on who I was inside instead of how I look like. Although I’m grateful for clear skin, I’m also grateful that I experienced acne, it really emphasised the saying that beauty comes from within for me.

 

2. My family, my parents first and foremost. For sending me off to the UK and settling me in too. For spending their money just for me to experience studying abroad. Be real, they get nothing out of this! They could’ve spent that money on a vacation or anything else that’s more worth while. It demonstrated to me that the love parents have for their children is not only selfless, but full of sacrifices. And not to forget my sister, who has been the nicest to me ever in life – for giving me pep talk through my breakdowns and pushing me to venture out and grow.

 

3. The challenges I faced this year. I’m thankful for all the shit that came my way that forced me to grow. Without being pushed, excused me..SHOVED ( to be exact ) out my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have grown as much as I have this year.

 

4. My health. My community service experience during summer holidays truly taught me to be grateful for what I was born with. For the things I’ve always taken for granted and never thanked god for having. You never know when they can be taken from you, yknow? So I’m thankful for having these blessings for as long as I have.

 

5. The Boys and the leechers of Beeston. I’ve never spoken bout the boys (and Nina) in Nottingham that has taken care of me and reminded me of home while I’ve been here. They made nasi lemak to cure my homesick and more importantly they opened their home to me. Made me feel like I have a family here. To Mario, Hamzah, Haziq, Jack, Mag and Alif (not to forget Nina). Thank you for being family and making me feel like I’m at home.

 

6. The people at home. For never losing touch, and always being there for me no matter the timezone. The late night calls, 5 am FaceTime. Sometimes the accompanying me to walk back home at night calls. The good news and bad news call. Thank you for using technology in the most beneficial way.

 

7. Amirul. To have grown with me, and to continue to grow with me in the future. I can’t thank God enough for giving me you.

 

I want to end 2017, with a massive final Alhamdulillah for every little blessing and unspoken prayers answered.

Character Development

I’ve always screamed “I’m a strong, independent woman. I can do it myself !” This was just referring to carrying a lot of groceries bag to the house from the car because to go back was for losers. Ammirite? I would always joke about it. I took it as a joke, calling myself strong and independent and a WOMAN. I’m a child. Let’s be real. I’m learning to realise that. So that’s step 1.

 

When I turned 21, I felt young. I felt like I have my whole life ahead of me. Funny, because I was dreading the official premier to adulthood the whole of my 20th year. I’ve always thought I was growing up when I was paying for rent myself. I thought I was growing up when I started to drive myself around. I didn’t realise, all these were just the first few milestones of many more. But I wasn’t grown up here *points at head*. I’ve been told that I was wise, but really tho, I’m not. I’ve just realise, a whole new aspect to explore.

 

Let’s say my life is like a book, I realise my character lacks development. I want my character development to be as strong as Rachel’s from Friends. From being a clueless baby to independent and successful. I’ve been stationary in my growth for a long time. I can’t say I haven’t grown, I have. Just not dramatically enough, and also not independently. I’ve grown with the people I’ve surrounded myself with. My friends, and my family. Decisions were never 100 percent my own, there were always external factors that I had to take into considerations – mostly the permission of my parents. #asiankidprobs. I thought I knew myself very well, to a certain extent I did. I knew what I liked and did not like. But I just stayed in my comfort zone though. I would never do anything that would completely push me off the edge of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t try anything new without analysing them first, and consulting with my other half or my friends who knew me well. They would go “oh no you wouldn’t like it.” and I would be swayed by what they say and not do it. My self identity was defined by who I was hanging out with and, how they described me was how I would describe myself. I had no sense of independence at all.

 

Being completely alone, and placed in a completely different scene feels like a blank canvas almost. I can splash any colour, and write anything. The fact that I’m only here for a year, makes me want to make a mess! I want to define who I am as I wish, by myself and for myself and definitely not for anyone else, nor is it to fit anyone else’s expectations of me. I’m here to explore my options. Try new things and keep the ones I already know I love. My sister keeps giving me a Pep talk about being alone – “Mak and Ayah raised you well enough to be strong.” True. They did. So next time I’m saying “I’m a strong, independent woman.” I’m gonna fucking mean it.