The Complexity of Life (Part 1)

“Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which one fits best?”  Sylvia Plath

Throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) or in other words, lockdown due to COVID-19 this year, I have been thinking a lot. The things I read, the things I watch, the people I converse with. It all invokes this big question to myself:

What do I want out of this life?

I began to question myself even more. What is it that I truly want and what is it that will make me happy? Is being happy really what I want out of this life? Of course this is a question I ask myself purely out of my own seeking-for-purpose other than the religious one. Religious one, is a long standing priority for me, and it is a completely, purely personal and spiritual in nature, which I will not touch in this post, at least not yet in my journey to unveil the complexity of life.

So I began to think of the many ways life could turn out to be. We are so used to subscribe to the idea of what society deems as “how life should be” or the society measures of “a successful life”. Which basically means:

  1. Get a good education, i.e. minimum is a Bachelors Degree
  2. Get a good paying job, i.e. working with high paying salaries or be entrepreunerial
  3. Get married
  4. Have kids
  5. Grow old with a big amount in your retirement fund

Of course not to lie, that for anyone that thinks up to just the surface of life, or to those who just want to go with it, seems doable, simple and to the point. It’s a basic guideline to how life can turn out to be. But not exactly how everyone’s measure of success in life should be.

Success is defined by the eyes of the beholder, much like beauty. These things, are subjective. We are all not created equal. We all have different capacity to live, to love, to feel, to think, to listen, different things make us tick, different things make us happy, and ultimately each of our fate and destiny is different from one another. I can’t help but to believe and think to myself, what I felt most people might not have done, is to actually take a step back to reflect and tell themselves this:

Each of us has a choice; to subscribe to the typical life-guideline, or to go out and explore what truly fits us.

So I wanted to explore, what other ways can life turn out to be? Maybe by listing the possibilities that I could actually simulate in my head, might help me to see which one fit me better, or fit you better? Neither of them are better than the other, but doing this, I hope I will be able to simply see and explore the various ways of how life can turn out to be:

  • Typical Life by Society Measures: – is what I have explained earlier on, the sequence as the above. The majority of the people who go through life on autopilot sits in this scenario. To some, they are living with the society’s validation in mind, to fit into what “success” looks like. Of course to majority of people, raising their children taught them a lot more about love and life and I will never discount that. Raising another human being is such a noble thing, to me. Hence, raising a decent human being is one of the few key successes or achievements in ‘my definition of success’. But that does not necessarily mean that is something we all should/must work towards. This post is trying to explore potential scenarios of how life can turn out to be, so let us not jump to make a decision right now before seeing the rest of the potentials below. Growing old with an expanded family, since their kids will start having their own family. The exact definition of the more the merrier, especially when it comes to festive seasons.
  • The Career Driven Type 1: – the people who feels utmost fulfilled when achieving a certain status in their career, a certain height/level on the corporate ladder. There are various way this Career Driven life could turn out too, hence I am going to explore the different types of scenarios. Let us put Type 1 as the pretty conventional one. Inclining towards the Typical Life above, but let us separate them by giving this Type 1 to be the kind that choose not to get married or have kids. They are perfectly fine having a companion by their side, to cherish and enjoy the successes and wealth coming from this. Also growing old together, with lesser stress of having to raise another being, but most likely having to result to paying a caretaker when they get old and grey due to not having their own kids to care for them.
  • The Career Driven Type 2: – similar to Type 1, they get their high and happiness from a fulfilling career. However, let us give Type 2 the kind of person who wants a no strings attached (NSA). Let us face it, some people just prefer it that way. No commitment, simply a good time. They are independent and strong enough to be dealing with their own emotions and life, and wealthy enough to be spending their emotional/psychologial wellbeing at the best therapist they can pay/get. This type of life is where their immediate family and friends might be the lucky ones, as they might splurge on them; buy them gifts, take them on a grandeur holidays simply to have a good time with the people they actually care about.
  • The Experience Seeker: – this is one of the most unconventional type, I feel. I am still struggling to see how this scenario will turn out as I have not really heard  (yet met) of an example of this person just yet. The first 3 I listed above, I have a few people in mind and have met/seen and converse with them at their late 40s life, in that situation. Which is why I could lay it out very clearly some of the potential scenarios of how it might turn out. This one, however, is one I am still trying to explore. Somehow today it hit me. It hit me that maybe all I want in life is just experiences. Which is why this post came about. So let me try to simulate it… The Experience Seeker is the kind that appreciate the Typical Life but is too hungry to see what else can he/she achieve if they go beyond the norm. How I imagine it to be is not settling, but instead exploring and landing a companion that show them a different world. A partner in life that offer a completely different life experience than what they are used to; a way to experience life from a different perspective. Flourishing from the learnings they get based on their encounters in life. They might not pursue to “make” their partner marry them, but instead let things flow by enjoying the surprises that life has to offer. Leaving marriage to a complete fate, where when their partner found them and is so in awe by their being, they would not want to let this rarity go and pursue to make the Experience Seeker their life partner. And if the Experience seeker choose not to get married, they might be contented having a companion and family & friends to share their wealth of knowledge, experiences and learnings in hope that it will make a difference in someone’s life. Always the one that has the charm and charisma, and believe that life is awesome as it is.

The Experience Seeker is the mode I feel that I can resonate with the most, right now. I want to see where this path might lead me to. I am hopeful and curious to see how it will turn out. I will admit that being pursued to be married, will always be something I am a fond of and hope for. But right now, I choose to let it happen organically. I want a companion that I enjoy to be with, explore life experiences with, and if he decided that I am too good to be let go and want to marry me, then yes, I am open to that. But that marriage thing, should come solely from him. Not me trying to ask or play mind games to lead him to it. It is something I feel none of us ladies should chase after. In syaa Allah I believe it will turn out beautiful! I will let my future self decide on this much later and write a Part II of this story. Write and share how it turns out and what I genuinely felt about it. Is it something worth to consider, does it lead to fulfilment in life, does it make me happy?

Meanwhile, I am still working to detach myself from my younger-self’s expectation of having the Typical Life by Society Measure goals that I have made much much earlier on, which at almost turning 30 this year, I have yet to reach some of it. So, I am hopeful that there is another path that I can now explore. One that seems exciting but just as scary because I have yet to be able to see how it might affect society’s perspective/view of me, and how much that might affect my self esteem. I am confident right now to say, I will not be affected by it. But truthfully, none of us are truly ready for the emotions that might come with what we thought of earlier on. But I am hopeful and excited to see how this will turn out In syaa Allah.

Of course based on Harvard 80-years research on happiness, it did outline that having a good relationship, is what keeps us to be happier and healthier in our life. And this is one of the core thing I have always and plan to further foster. To treat other people the way I want to be treated; with respect and humility and hope that I leave a good footprint in everyone’s lives.

May this path I am about to embark on, bring me great happiness, joy and fulfilment, great confidence to be in my own skin, amazing & lovely experiences that are priceless, religious hold that is truer than ever, and flourish me in all of my life’s areas, Aamiinn ya Allah ya Mujid.

So to my fellow readers, which one of these Life Scenarios are you on, or have heard of? Care to share with me what your views and experiences are? Share it with me on the comment section below!

xx,

Infinitely Curious.me

Quarantine Realisation – Space, Good Conversationalist, and Mindfulness

With COVID-19 climate pushing and testing human’s vulnerability to disease, it has forced every country to land into their own set of rules, which essentially just means – Quarantine – staying home and staying safe and this has given everyone different ways of appreciating (or not) the situation.

Being over 2 months in Movement Control Order (MCO) where the country I am currently in, it gave me a lot of time to think, reflect and explore my perspectives. Quarantine is isolation, but physically. However, it could also turned into an isolation in the state of mind, if the mind is not occupied properly. With the quarantine-life making you see days passing by with just whatever you could do within your home, it made me realised a few things that I feel we potentially took for granted of.

  • SPACE – – – Realising now everyone is expected to stay home, it made me realised the value of space. The space where you live in, or the space you spend time at. I would say that I am privileged to experience two spaces throughout my MCO. From commencing the MCO where I am currently residing at; a nice double-storey intermediate home, guarded neighbourhood with decent landscaping and spaces between houses, I thought and feel that I am contented. Contented because one day as I watched the news on tv, I watched how some families are stuck in a small flat of smaller squared-foot home, with their doors being only 3meters apart from their neighbours. At the time of MCO commencing, I was home with my brother. Having enough space to live in, with quite a noise-inducing gamer boy, made me realised how space, at home, matters. Sound is greatly reflected and impacted by space. The smaller the space, the harder it is for you to escape noises.We then were able to travel across district to go back to our hometown. Now I am at home with the family; 6 of us in a home, but thankfully a much bigger space, indoor and outdoor; the yard. Experiencing both of these spaces, my home and my family home, it made me truly realised how space is important not just for moving around when you are in a quarantine/lockdown. It is for sanitySpace equals to sanity. Space is a privilege that is worth spending on.

 

  • LONELINESS vs. Good Conversationalist Skill – – – With the MCO announced quite abruptly, I know some of us were not in time to arrange a trip home to go back and be with the family. Some of my own friends, colleagues, are stuck at home, all alone throughout the MCO. I know for a fact, humans are not built for isolation. Now being in quarantine, it may have caused a few of us to feel lonely. Loneliness is actually pretty common, we just have not truly try to learn and understand it enough until we are forced into quarantine. It is biology, bodily function, just like hunger. Like it or not, loneliness is partially self-inflicted. We need to acknowledge when we encounter it so we are able to pull ourselves out of it. To have your loved ones, such as friends and families ever ready to spend time with you on a call, or texts are so crucial. You do however need to vary the contact; vary the frequencies and expand the number of people you do go in contact with. Why do I say so? It is to have that self-awareness that you are unloading onto someone and it is unfair to keep going to one person and expect them to handle all your stress/mess. I believe in having different people for different things.Of course we all would love to have someone you can always count on, to talk about your day, a confidant. However, not everyone is blessed with a partner, a confidant they can share their daily mundane things with. And there are only so many friends on your go-to list to chat with. That is why I feel during this quarantine, it is the best time to reconnect with your long-lost friends. Explore and make new pen pals via social media or even dating apps.

    What I have tried, tested and have worked for me, is setting goals of things to read, of people to reconnect with and even just as simple as making time to learn and understand other topics which I shy away from. Then with these knowledge, you are able to further share it with your family/friends, and make a more meaningful conversations with them instead of the usual “hey how are you” on repeat day-in day out. We owe it to ourselves and our family/friends to NOT be LAZY in our conversation. Being lazy puts burden on others when you are checking up on them. Open the conversation with a sharing or thought provoking ideas. This also helps to uplift and up-level each other in the knowledge department. A definite win-win and a good cure to loneliness.

 

  • MINDFULNESS against Consumerism – – – I can’t help but to notice how the virtual life has become more and more consuming in materialism and also in fame. The rise of TikTok has not only increase the level of nonsense into our daily life, it has also given more platform for consumerism. More and more of social media is now dominated by consumerism. Everywhere you go, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even TikTok, your eyes and mind are fed with consumerism – buy more things, it will make you happy. This is a false feeling and approach they are trying to foster. Growing up with fast fashion, I learnt that it is not sustainable to stay in the consumerism path. Not sustainable in a way that not only degrading in terms of finances, but it is harmful for our Mother Earth as it causes more and more waste and prevents us to truly understand what our underlying problems that we have been running away from. That is why being mindful is one of the key to not let yourself fall prey to consumerism.It is easy to spend time scrolling through social media or even online retailers and get affected to purchase something as a quick-win, to feel better about the situation. Learn to be mindful of yourself; what you spend your time on, why you made a certain purchases, when such things occurs. The immediate action you can put to prevent yourself to fall into that pattern is by actively putting yourself in-check of your social media and Netflix-ing behaviours. Limit the number of hours you spent on these platforms and reclaim more hours to meditation, doing yoga, gratitude-journaling, exercise, read and even just have a small conversation with your loved ones. Be in the present, dive in more into yourself and being. Take back control from consumerism and the world of never-ending purchases. Your heart, mind and body will thank you (even your wallet and bank account too!).

These are the few things I have come to realised during my lockdown period. I believe there will be more as we venture through the new norm, but let us tackle things step by steps. Realising now that we are all working from home, staying in for majority of our time (since some countries even forbid walking/jogging in the park), we owe it to ourselves to make the most out of this. Making the most does not necessarily mean you have to learn or gain something out of it. It can mean learning to be contented to live in the present, enjoy the stillness, and appreciate the abundance of time we currently have in hand. Slowly but surely, we will gain something out of this period. It is just the matter of time; making time for reflection and writing it down. Our future self would love to read it as part of memories made for the year 2020. I hope you have also clicked and read a few articles I have linked right here in this post, as they have inspired me to write my thoughts up today.

How have you spent your lockdown/quarantine? What have you learnt? What keeps you contented, so far?

xx.

Modern Day Rule: Marriage / Family Operating Model.

people sitting on green grass

I have been curious after observing how a marriage works; a bond that is made to be function by two individuals. Individuals essentially means a person with his/her own opinion, perspective and ways of doing things. How can two individuals make it work?

So I had a long time thinking and observing how two can be fully functional and at what stage a certain decision has to be made, especially when both of the partners have their own career. After years of learning, I have come to the following (very fair, pretty ethical, and practical) approach. Or what I like to call;

The Modern Day Rule of a Marriage/Family Operating Model.

This should be valid for a couple that has committed to live their lives together, be it in a long term relationship and especially for marriage.

There is one true rule which I feel should be the default way of dealing with the decision to work, or to quit.

(A Very Fair) Rule of Thumb:

For cases where one earns more than the other, the decision on whether or not the lesser income partner need to continue working or to resign should be and only be made by the individual that is to resign.

It should not be a decision made by the bread-winner of the family. This is to ensure that we keep a fair, respectful and power-balance dynamic within the two. The bread-winner however can open up the discussion to suggest that, respectfully. Example:

“My dear, recently I realized that I have made enough to cover our family expenses. So, if there is by any chance that you feel you would like to be a stay-at-home mom/dad, do know that I am supportive of any of your decision.”

In the case that the individual has chosen to resign, the bread-winner shall ensure the resigned partner is compensated on a monthly basis, a salary (of half his/her last salary, or full of his/her last salary, or an amount mutually agreed).

The reason why the bread-winner is to match or at least agree upon an amount to be paid to the resigned partner on a monthly basis is to ensure the individual is given a personal freedom.

Otherwise, the resign partner will always have to request for permission or money which will then lead to unnecessary stress. This indirectly puts control that have not been there before, or never will be (should they choose continue to work), which may lead to resentment or even stress-induced diseases such as depression.

– – – – – – –

Now moving on. We have 2 stages in a committed relationship; otherwise called Marriage.

Stage 1: Committed, without kids

The two individuals in this marriage can choose to let both of them to pursue their career, chase after their dreams, whether or not it involves living apart (such as being a weekend partner where you need to fly over the weekend to meet the other half).

That will then need to be managed between them; of what is acceptable and what is not; of how often is the visit; how is the cost management between them. It has to be mutually agreed upfront. Compromise will need to be a strong factor to make this long distance marriage to work.

Otherwise, the Rule of Thumb can be brought forward if neither of the two is willing to live apart.

Stage 2: Committed with kids

Essentially with current era, both of the individual in the marriage very much prefer to work. It is only fair if the chores within the household is equally shared between the two.

Better yet, if the children are of capable age, get them to start helping out early to teach them the lesson on life, cooperation, and living/working as a team player.

When it comes to bringing up the children, the Rule of Thumb is especially true. This is to ensure a healthy partner and a healthy parent for the children.

Once the children has reached the age of living apart; off to college or moved on as adults, the dynamic within the couple then recycle into Stage 1 again.

Ideal case after the children has grown up into adults with their own lives is when the couple will use this time to further bond and pursue their dreams together.

– – – – – – –

Remember, sometimes our priorities changes with time and circumstances we are in. The ultimate goal is to be happy, better yet; to spend a lifetime of happiness, together. Never let anything ruins that goal. Keep it near to your heart and mind, always.

Now that is the modern day rule of a family/marriage. It is the current era’s working operating model.

I hope it helps you to foster better perspective on working on your relationship at hand. Let me know what you think?

– IC

Infinitely Curious is now on Instagram!

Curiously thinking whether I should have a Snapchat or an Instagram account for Infinitely Curious. I have finally decided to go for the latter.

The idea behind it is to share moments which have inspired me with my life journey being constantly curious, enticing you with gastronomical posts and whispering to you my ambitious goal to do a quick routine of leg lift, butt lift for 20reps per day to keep up with my foodie-guilty pleasure which I have to battle daily.

I think that is quite a wide range spectrum of things I want to talk to you about on my Instagram. But we all know it is a quick chat, while the deep conversations will still be going on through this site, aye?

So, what are you waiting for? Follow me at:

@infinitelycuriousme

Let me know when you come by!

Mutual Expectation

For my first curious post, I feel strongly impelled to talk about what I’m (and few of my other friends) facing. Mutual expectation, is it really mutual, or do you think our community still do have some unconscious bias in their mind? Or do you think it’s not all that and it’s purely individual? Now…

Do you believe that two people in a relationship (or which I take as life’s partnership), should have mutual expectation on each other? I want to be a bit more specific here; being understanding. In the current era, the case of both the lady and the gentleman working towards their own career goals/achievement is kind of a given. And when that happens, it is only natural that you expect the partner to be understanding when the grind gets tougher. In a sense that, there will be times where you won’t be able to be as attentive as you usually do.

So the question here is;

Is it okay for the partner to express if it gets beyond their limit? (To be fair, the limit is subjective from one person to another)

My take on this is that when you are in a relationship, you should be able to express how you feel (provided you do it respectfully – and what I meant by that is you let them know, in the most calm manner, solely on the intention to help them understand why & what you are facing), and you need to be mindful of your tone because it dictates if this is going to be a good discussion on finding the balance or ended up in an argument.

I personally have a believe that anything can be solved, as long as it is being lay on the table clearly, and both heads are on the page of wanting to resolve & work things out.

Other than that, do you agree with me if we put this as a mutual expectation, where if person A expect the partner to be understanding without actually expressing/communicating it to their partner about it, it is person A’s responsibility to return the favor if their partner reached to the same point. Example as such that person A is very busy & expect the partner not to bring it up and just be understanding about it. So when it is now the partner’s turn to be swamped with work, person A is expected to be as understanding as the partner did before.

Isn’t that what relationship is all about? Compromise, mutual understanding, making it work because both of you choose to.

Now my argument is this, what if person A does not return the favor when their partner’s busy period comes. What if it gets worse that person A choose to be in the “ignoring is bliss” mode without further explanation of what’s happening. How could you possibly deal with that? I’m very curious as to how you would work this out? If I have to suggest, based on what I would do about it (and have tried!), is to let person A to cool down & find a more calm period to bring this up for discussion. Let person A understands what situation you are in, and if required you can bring up the times where you have been understanding during person A occupied week.

I feel emotional maturity plays a big role here, you need both side to be emotionally matured. For any relationship to work out, honesty and respect take lead on this ship. Remember neither of us are a mind reader, so it helps to explain why and what you are facing. There is a quote I remember that fits well to this topic;

Those who matter, don’t mind and those who mind, don’t matter.

So, if it was to happen to you, how would you handle it….?

– IC