How Do We Go From Here?

Where do I begin?

Maybe I should start with the situation that triggered it –

So a few hours ago, I was out with my family celebrating my father’s birthday (a whole day with the family; so blissful!). As my family and I sat together, joked around, just being the Burhans that we are, my family members made a few comments towards my behaviour – ACT LIKE YOUR AGE!

4 words, more than a few letters (yes, I am trying to pull the Blair Waldorf – Chuck Bass ‘Three Words, Seven Letters’ scene) have been revolving in my head for the past few hours. Okay, so I’m turning 26 in October but I’m still very much lost about this ‘act like your age’ thingy. At 25 plus plus, am I supposed to be poise? Am I supposed to sound somewhat matter-of-fact? Am I not allowed to be foolish? Am I not allowed to do a little jiggy whenever my favourite song is playing?

This all sort of…. hurts me? Because here I am, trying to be all positive, happy – basically being myself, and I’m being told to act my age. How is that supposed to work?! I am so confused. Is there a self-help book out there on how a 26 should because dude, if there is one, take all my money – I wanna read it!

I think this all goes back to what seems to be the society’s mindset about what an adult is. Not blaming anyone though – mindset is innate even though it can be altered.

I feel that society gives out the idea that a woman in her mid-twenties is supposed to be calm, very graceful – all this to woo a potential husband out there. You may say I sound shallow but I’ve witnessed a bajillion times about how a girl who is much more ‘woman-like’ at my age compared to someone like me, is deemed as ‘the ideal mid-twenties woman’. And the former ones are usually the type who ends up in a stable relationship and in the end, settles down to eventually have the perfect family. This, however, is a different story all together and requires another blog post, lol.

Going back to my behaviour – why am I, a loud, wacky, playful girl is deemed as childish? People forget that I, too, am rational in a lot other situations. That I, too, am emotionally and even monetarily stable. That I have a proper job where people respect me in the role that I am at work and I am able to make rational decisions.

This is where we all can safely say that…. no one should judge a book by its cover. I, too, tend to make initial judgments but I am working very hard not to do so. Why? Because I don’t want to be like those people who have judged me before they even know me.

I think why my family sees me like this is because after a long day at work, I get a bit playful when I’m at home. I honestly don’t blame them though – I don’t like putting on my work mask at home so that’s why they sort of don’t see that ‘serious’ side of me.

But then, maybe it’s also sort of… my fault too? I think I’ve been too in denial about being an adult that sometimes I tend to become very child-like. There – I’ve said it.

I have yet to come to terms with this adult concept so you can imagine how I’m struggling to even come to terms of accepting the fact that I’m supposed to embody the so-called ideal-woman-in-her-mid-twenties concept.

I’m very tired, really, of fulfilling a lot of expectations. I guess, at this point, all I should be doing is just be myself and ignore all these comments. As long as I am able to fulfill my role as His servant, a daughter, a big sister, a friend, a fellow human being – I should be okay, right?

Hopefully, people will be able to see that calm and crazy can jive together and honestly, it’s always good to be sort of flexible instead of sticking to only one of it.

In other words…

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Of Things that Will Never Come My Way

I am only human. I want so many things & I don’t want so many too.

And of all these things, I could only pray for them to happen my way. I’ve prayed so hard; so hard because I want them to happen so bad.

Allah knows best, though. I am still in a daze – of things I’ve prayed so hard for and yet, they pass by me so easily. My heart aches, my heart longs for them but one thing that I will never forget to ask from Him; He will make me strong to accept all that He has decided ahead of me.

I remind myself everyday that there is always hikmah or wisdom behind everything that happens. It puts my heart so much at ease; I start thinking positively of each event that occurs. And this short quote by Imam Shafi’i further places peace inside me.

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.”

This quote makes me strong (or at least, I try to be) – knowing that He has created our paths so beautifully that even though I feel like I’ve missed the sunshine while I’m standing in the rain (oh so cliched! :p), I’m unknowing of a rainbow that will happen ahead of me 🙂

May Allah ease everything for us, inshaAllah. All I want to be is a good servant, a good daughter and a good human being. Of things that will happen between those lines, I leave them all to Him as I strive for success in this world and in the Hereafter.

Make me strong, ya Allah ❤

Learned Lessons – Japan edition

Of journeys made and learned lessons – it was truly a beautiful experience.

My last post has clearly indicated I was in Japan a couple of weeks back and Allah knows how much I am missing that place. I miss the culture, the technology (yes, I miss riding the subways there!), the clean air and the Japanese people’s never-ending friendliness. I can never stop gushing about the beauty of the country.

20140401_175409I feel like retaking the steps I took as I walk on my own around the city of Kobe and Rinku City – two non-busy cities yet so lively and cultural that I swore I had difficulties to leave Japan. When you’re on your own, you learn how to survive – you gotta know where to go, which way to use, what food to eat, how much money you should bringing, what are your safety measures, etc. Truly, I was scared and nervous, especially when I arrived in Kobe because Google Map decided to disappoint me that time, but with broken Japanese and breaking away from my timidness, I managed to ask for directions to my hotel.

This is where I learned that, sure, things may get frustrating in life and you may be scared at that point, but I truly believe that if you work hard enough, even just a bit, you will get to your ‘destination’ or your goals! I admit, a lot of things are pretty chaotic in my life right now but my little trip showed me that I can be feisty enough to fight my timidness and be strong enough to continue on my personal life journey. All I have to do is work towards it, not giving in into all my fears.

And yes, never ever (!!!) let your fears stop you! Sure, I was scared that the Japanese people would laugh at me for my broken Japanese or ignore me because I was the only girl donning a hijab around that area (I got stared at a lot though) but I told myself that I would not get anywhere if I don’t fight my fears! In fact, I think the Japanese might have felt a bit honoured because I took the liberty to learn their language. People will help you – only if you help yourself!

20140401_121811Another thing I have also learned from my trip to Japan is that I got to learn to take pride in the things I do.

Wherever I go in Japan and whoever I bumped into, whether the person is a stationmaster or a receptionist, no matter how small their job may seem, they take pride in what they do. They understand that they gotta do what they gotta do, they are there for a reason and they do their very best to serve people. They always had a smile on each of their faces and you don’t feel like they’re ‘forced’ to their job.

I need to adopt that mindset especially in my work life. Sure, I got to admit there are days I feel like, “What in the world am I doing here? Why am I doing this kind of job?” but what I did not realise was that whatever I do will affect the work ecosystem around me. No matter how tiny my task may seem, it is important enough to ‘move’ something bigger. I must tell myself to do my best even though there are roadblocks that may hinder me. I have to learn to enjoy and just not to do.

20140331_174503Just like performing prayers, you don’t just do, you understand & communicate to Him.

I don’t want to be a robot and look unhappy while I do my job. Yeah, sure, days are pretty stressful lately but I must tell myself that this is a challenge and without it, my job will be boring after all! When you no longer feel sincere in doing the work, then you know it’s time to go…

I will say this again – I  am now missing Japan very badly and I have actually started browsing on places to go next for my next trip to Japan! Yes, you read that right – I’ve made a point to go there every year (though I really wanna go again this year!). InshaAllah, if it is beneficial for me, may Allah ease 🙂

 

That Thing Called Happiness

I am writing this while sitting on my own at the Port of Kobe, Japan. I can’t describe this immense happiness and peace that I feel as I sit here and just watch the world pass by.

How can sitting on my own, doing nothing while staring at the sea makes me happy?

It’s the peace that I feel as I feel the cold wind blowing, as if it is blowing my worries away. It also feels like the sea is telling me, “Take a break and breathe,” and continuously soothes my heart with the harmonious sounds of its waves.

That’s happiness. Mesmerizing, how Allah has put this blessing in things that may seem insignificant, knowing how much you wanted and needed it. SubhanAllah.

Ya Allah, make me learn good things out of this trip. Make me learn to appreciate everything you’ve blessed us with and not to take things for granted.

Alhamdulillah for this wonderful opportunity ♡

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I’m Alive…… and Excited!

Wow…. I feel like I just updated my blog yesterday but in reality, it has been three months! Time really do fly quickly.

I hope 2014 has been nice to everyone! Alhamdulillah, I’ve had a great year so far (only three months lol. Nine more months to go!) and so many things have happened.

In the past three months, I had to move around a lot – two cousins got engaged, my best friend got married, I had to fly for work outstation but I started exercising. Well, not full-on exercising but I entered a run that has motivated me to work out more!

Plus, all these events taught me that being an adult also mean beings selfless. Not an easy feat, I gotta admit – it’s a trait I need to slowly adapt to.

Spiritually, well…. surely I’ve had my ups and downs, and I’m not too happy with myself. I’ve promised to myself that 2014 will be a better year for myself as a Muslim but so far, I admit I’m not doing well 😦 I push myself to read the Qur’an at least once in two days but reading alone is not enough. I have to understand it – that is where I’m lacking so badly.

I’m still sticking to my resolution though! I’m not giving up! Surely, I still spazz about Korean boys, spend my money on things I don’t need and do other discouraged things (I won’t deny it) but I’m slowly, slowly trying to improve myself – I try to follow the sunnah of the Prophet as much as I can such as smiling to others and saying Bismillah in whatever I do. Yeah, these actions may seem tiny but I truly believe that as long as you’ve started, you’re on your way to become better, inshaAllah 🙂

ImageAnd yeay, I’m attending this conference this year! Managed to get the early bird price and I’m extremely excited for it. Our heart’s nature is goodness and alhamdulillah, I can feel my heart getting very excited for the event!

In other news, I’m travelling tomorrow! I’m off for a holiday with my friends but they’ll leave for home earlier while I have chosen to extend my stay a bit. In a few posts back, one of the things I mentioned I want to do while I’m still single is to travel alone…. and I didn’t expect that the chance would happen so soon! Persuading my parents to let me travel alone was hard but I got their permission anyway! I am excited for some time alone 🙂 I’d really like to take this time to do some soul-searching (haha!) and just to rethink life choices 🙂

 

And… I’m only human. I met this guy (I will call him Charlie from now on just cuz it sounds cool lol) and… got attracted to him. Charlie’s extremely funny, pretty caring and super smart. Charlie’s not the most perfect guy I’ve met because he can be super ridiculous at times but… I like him.

And nothing usually happens because I never have the guts to tell a guy I like him. I’m officially chasing pavements.

 

Please do pray for a safe journey for me. Sure, I’m a bit scared ever since the MH370 incident (May Allah bless the souls of the crews and passengers, and give strength to their loved ones) so I pray Allah will protect me throughout my trip. I also pray that this trip will be a beneficial one! Us Muslims are taught to learn the good things from other cultures so I pray I will get something good out of it!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Wow, this came as a surprise! My friend from NY, Anne, nominated me to do this so thank you very much, Anne! She is a very kind soul who said hi to me on my blog and said she felt we can become good blog friends haha! She does all this despite the difference in our beliefs and yet, she has never treated me differently 🙂 Please do visit her blog here! I like how informative her blog has been. It’s very close to the heart too! (Who can deny a video of an adorable mama panda with its child she posted? Haha!)

The Rules 

  1. Provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer ten questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Questions

  1. Your favorite colour – Blue
  2. Your favorite animal – Cat
  3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink – Pepsi
  4. Facebook or Twitter – Twittahhhhh
  5. Your favorite pattern – Erk, I’m a plain pattern kind of person haha! 
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – (Can I answer both? Haha!) Giving, honestly
  7. Your favorite number – Oh I don’t have any but I guess I will go with 9 since it’s my birth date
  8. Your favorite day of the week – Friday
  9. Your favorite flower – None 😦 I’m happy with any kind of flowers
  10. What is your passion? – Music

My Nominees Are

(Let me say this first. I don’t have a lot of friends YET here so I don’t think I can fill in the quota….)

1. http://bandnamdcharlie.wordpress.com – I hope your results turned out okay!

2. http://feastpunch.blogspot.com – my good friend who…. ahem, uses a different blogging platform… Woops! Haha!

3. To everyone who just wants to copy and paste this, and play along! 😀

 

Have fun playing, guys!

Thankful – I Should Be

I have not updated my blog for quite some time already. What happened? Life happened – that’s what. The New Year kicked in two weeks ago and things are going full steam at work. By the end of each day, I got very tired and all I wanted to do was lie down. So, I guess my mission to commit to the Zero to Hero blogging challenge literally went kaput. Sigh. I guess I will just have to catch up with whatever I can!

 

So just half an hour ago, I found this link about the highest paid jobs for fresh graduates in Malaysia. To summarise (and also to translate hehe) the article, it seems that from a survey held by a job listings website, JobStreet, pharmacists are ranked number 1 where they earn around RM 3640 (around 1.1K USD) per month.

Well, I’m not sure how much a fresh grad earns in US for me to say, hey, 1.1K USD is a lot for a fresh grad! To translate it into the Malaysian environment, 1.1K USD is equivalent to money raining all over you. Really. Especially for a fresh grad who might still be living with his or her family. Why do I say so? Well, I’ve sort of been there (Disclaimer: I did not reveal my salary figures at all! Haha!). Even if you earn less than that and have no commitments such as paying off car loans, paying house rental and etc, my God, you’ll be having fun with your money.

 

What’s the purpose of me writing article, you may ask. Well, the blog is meant for me to get out my personal sentiments that I feel can be shared so here am I, writing about how I just realised how ungrateful I have been all along.

 

Reading the article was my wake-up call. I’m very surprised to find that the average earning of a fresh grad here is around RM2100 (600 USD). I will try my very best to humbly say this – I was very lucky to be given an earning a lot more than that when I started working, and here I am everyday, telling people around me I am not rich, I have no money, I am poor, yadda yadda yadda. I have not, for even a second, think of my fellow comrades who graduated with me two years ago, who might be a worse position than I am trying to make ends meet. And I am saying this in the context of the current price hike of everything in Malaysia currently.

Have I gone a few days to not be able to pay for my car petrol? Nope. Have I ever had to go to my parents and ask them to give me a bit of money because my earnings went to paying the house rent, car loan, etc? Nope. With the money I earned, was I able to have fun with it? My goodness, yes. I even flew to another country to watch a concert, for goodness sake.

And again, here I am, telling people that I have no money blah blah blah. My God….. I just realised how ungrateful I have been 😦

At present, my main commitments are my car and my house rental and Lord, those only cause a tiny dent onto my monthly earnings. I have no other worries – I’m not getting married anytime soon, I don’t have my own family. I don’t even have to worry about petrol because my rented apartment is only 15 minutes away from I work at so normally 21 USD would suffice for my petrol every week. I only go back to my parents’ place on weekends so nope, nothing to worry about.

Therefore, I have made a promise to myself that I will never ever again tell people about how measly my salary is because it sure is not. This will also be a reminder for me to not overspend my money because I will need to save for my future when meeting ends might be harder maybe when I get married. Probably, I should just give it to people who need it more than me.

Our beloved Prophet S.A.W. have said, “When you see a person, who has been given more than you in money and beauty; then look to those who have been given less,” (Muslim). This is in the context of piety; so you can learn to be thankful and say alhamdulillah (all praises be to Allah) for what you have.

 

Hopefully I will be able to fix my ungrateful heart and just stop at any point of time to say, “Thank you Allah for everything for you have given me more than what I needed. Please also bless others as much you have blessed me,”

We’re Doing Just Fine, Maryam

With a plethora of my friends getting married at my age, I do get a bit worried that I’m going to be the only single lady, in like… two years time with no one putting a ring on my finger except if I do it myself (harhar).

But I realised just very recently – why should I be wasting all my energy worrying about not getting married and not on why am I not doing things what I’m supposed to do right now?

I’ve voiced out my worries to a few of my friends before but when 2014 kicked in, I felt this kick of adrenaline to just say, you know what, let’s not care about getting married for now and just live life to the fullest.

Yeah, it may sound cliched (duh), but man, I am truly losing out on opportunities to do so many things just by worrying over a single thing! I’m sure getting married is a wonderful thing because, man, I do wanna get married some day but that also doesn’t mean being single at 24 isn’t a wonderful thing either 🙂 You might also say, “Gurrrrl, 24 is too young for you to start thinking about getting married,” but try having weekends lined up with wedding invitations from your ex-classmates: it ain’t easy, man.

I’m going around meeting new people but yeah, maybe it’s just not my time yet. Probably… I’m not ready and God knows that. I fully trust His plans. So, I’m starting 2014 by listing a number of things I want to do at least before I get married:

a) Travelling alone – this has proven to be a bit difficult. Parents… permission… yeah you got the gist.

b) Bungee jumping – I have not gotten the opportunity to do this yet! Soon, hopefully!

c) Do a lot of volunteer work – I just registered for some programmes. Praying they’ll reply very soon!

d) Learn basic drum skills – I love my piano but I feel like expanding my instruments repertoire. At least a bit.

e) Have a Masters degree – still contemplating on whether to do something business-inclined or Linguistics/Literature-inclined

d) Attend a lot of Islamic talks – while I still have the liberty to move around anytime and anywhere I want to, why not?

So, the above are the very few that I’d like to do. If you stumble upon this post, why don’t you suggest other things I can do while I’m still single and mingling? Haha!

God knows how happy I am at this point of my life now. I have a great job, a great support system, my job pays the bills and a few other things I shall list as wants instead of needs…. I am truly happy. Happier than I was when I was in a relationship not too long ago.

However, as I walk down this singleton path, I am also praying everyday that He will not deprive me of the happiness of marriage. Marriage is beautiful thing – I’ve listened to so many wonderful stories but hey, as I said, maybe it’s not my time yet and I should focus on improving myself as a human and as His servant. Eventually, I will meet the right one someday, if He has written it that way.

Just a funny #foreveralone ecard below:

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P/S: Btw, I did complete the Zero to Hero: Day 4 challenge! I followed three (or is it four?) travelling blogs, one humour blog and one Kpop blog (hey, don’t judge me! I can’t help it! It’s my guilty pleasure XD)

Zero to Hero: Day Three – Breaking Out of Denial

I missed the Day Three boat yesterday because I fell sick (boohoo!) but I’m super pumped up to do both Day 3 and Day 4 challenges together!

So, the Day Three challenge is about ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ – basically what was on my mind when I first started the blog. Progress – that was the reason.

At 24, I feel like I have not really grown into my age. I find myself to be childish, too playful and at times, irresponsible. I’ve had problems accepting that I’m going to be an adult with responsibilities because honestly, I find being an adult not fun (other than getting your ahem, paycheck). I also blame my own mindset of ‘Staying Forever Young’ for acting the way I am and even though that being playful is okay at times, I find that sometimes, my behaviour doesn’t fit the environments I am in. Not saying I’m trying hard to fit in or anything (because I truly have no problems with this) but I feel like I should learn how to act like someone who is….24.

And as I have stated in the ‘Maryam’s Story’ page, I wanted to groom myself to become a better Muslimah. I ain’t getting young, that’s for sure, so I would really like this blog to be, sort of, my report book for my ‘growth’.

I want to write down those little things that I had to struggle against and not only that, I want to also write down the little joys I find in my life. Why didn’t I want to keep a journal? Obviously, I’m too lazy to hand-write everything (I’m tired from work, duh). Why did I decide to make my journey public? Because when you start a journey, you often get new surprises in life and new experiences 😉 Hopefully my blog will serve its purpose!

I want to, one day, reread all my past entries and say to myself, “Hey, you were like that once so change isn’t impossible!”. I want to, sort of, inspire people that change might be fun after all, as I tread down this journey!

Psst, I also want to show that even though you’re getting older, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! 😉

Zero to Hero: Day Two – We’re Getting Interactive

Today’s Zero to Hero challenge is about beautifying your blog – creating a new title, a new tagline and adding a text widget!

 

So, I changed my title to ‘Confessions’ because that’s basically what the blog is about. This is basically (cue cliched description of a blog) my online diary which I’ve decided to make public with hopes people will stumble upon it and share their stories too 🙂

I’ve also created a new tagline! Previously, I had the tagline along the lines of Twitter’s 120 characters ain’t enough for me. Now, I’ve changed it a bit to make myself sound more mature (haha!) so my tagline basically explains that this blog will be about the ups and downs in my life which as I’ve explained, I would like to share with people. I seriously enjoy it when people share their sentiments, either they are aligned to mine or not.

And wee! I’ve edited my sidebar to have an ‘About Me’ widget, photos from my Instagram account and also my tweets!

 

I’m very happy that this challenge is getting more fun! It’s doing so much good for someone like me who is tech-challenged lol.