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

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!

The Principle, Circumstances & Greater Force

I remember a principle I hold closely;

A relationship can & will work, provided both side of the party wants to make it work.

Having this engrained in me, makes “leaving” not even an option. So I remember the struggle I had for years when I was with my ex-beau. Unraveling things that I found as red flags but my principle was so strong I fought through and make exceptions until it was beyond the limit. Even then, I still ask myself multiple times; do I really want to be the bad guy here, to end it all, all that we have built for almost 7 years?

I read. I read. I think. I think. And I asked myself;

What do I really want? What do I really need? With all that I know now, would I regret it if I did not act on it? Do I want to make the change now when I am presented with a foresight, or do I want to be forced to change by circumstances?

If I don’t take care of myself, who will?

That is when I manage to trust and follow my gut to push through. At the very beginning, swallowing the idea of leaving the relationship was just way beyond terrible.

I felt like I failed. I felt like I have broken up promises to stay together. I felt like I am going to crush this person’s feelings that I could imagine how hurtful that would have felt. I felt like the evilest person on earth. I felt like I am about to ruin a person’s life; knowing I am this person’s everything.

It was hard. I know now being on the receiving end is not as bad as being the one deciding to end this (because I have been on the receiving end). I know at that point when I decided that night, I will not be able to walk on this earth without carrying that guilt deep inside me. I can only hope that slowly, the weight will get lighter. I can only hope that slowly, this person will see the genuine caring reason why I chose to leave – it was for the better for the both of us. I can only pray that this person will recover, and the both of us will be able to live well, and not look back in hope that things were to work out.

It took a lot of me, this decision. It took a lot of me because I felt that I was going against my own principle. But I take a lot of time to myself. To understand the “why”. I realized how true it is when people say;

Things happened for a reason.

Things work out for the better.

You can only connect the dots looking backward.

It took me almost 2 years to truly breakfree from my guilt. I don’t know if it would be the same for you, but it did take me 2 years with a lot of thinking, self-convincing, reflecting and writing. Within that 2 years, I have had thoughts of returning. I have had nightmares of the person only going downhill after that. But if I have the opportunity to tell myself then what I know now, is to be okay with all that thoughts and emotions; to let myself be. It is a natural thing to be feeling that way. But what you do need to know, is to always (try) see it in a positive light;

You are doing this to take care of yourself. You know all this while you tried to fix things, but it didn’t work out. You cannot keep on devaluing yourself by making exceptions for things you clearly know is not supposed to be. Know your value, and hold on to it.

Again, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? And if you don’t take care of yourself, you are the only one to be blamed. You are responsible for your own happiness. No one else but you.

It helped me. It did. Having a short strong line to convince myself regularly helps me to pull through and remind myself why I made the decision at the first place. That was the key to the recovery. That was ultimately the catalyst to being whole and fine again.

To me, the principle is still true. I will try my very best to stick to it when the time comes for me to have another chance in relationship. But I know now, self-value is also something that should be of priority; to not make an exception for red flags. And that everything is a combination of different dimensions in play: the principle, the person, the circumstances. And that there is always a greater force at play, which is the Almighty, who knows and aligns destiny. Trust your gut, have faith, make the decision, let go and follow the flow.

I hope that with what I have experienced & shared, this will help you through it all.

Till next time, take care.

– IC

Loyalty & Off the Grid

Many of us think Loyalty is a value that is important in life – especially for love, marriage, and all sort of relationship. Loyalty is something that grows within a relationship. Loyalty is a choice made by a person, consciously. This is true to love & marriage relationship, also just as much as it is true to branding & organization.

Loyalty is normally built from having a constant mutual benefits from something. Read the word; constant. A brand that has a good customer service, great quality of product usually has loyal followers. Just as much as a relationship where two people choose to nourish the relationship with constant attention and affection.

The extreme opposite of Loyalty, is betrayal. A consumer expected a certain level of care & attention from a brand when the product appears to be defective, where the customer service somehow did not meet their expectation, felt betrayed especially if it is a brand the consumer has supported for awhile. The same goes to two people in a relationship, that is when cheating comes into play.

Now to build my case and because I like the topic on ‘people’, let’s look into relationship. When we talk about loyalty in a relationship, it normally correlates to being off the grid. Off the grid, physically or emotionally. If you read the word constant just now, it is what affects the choice of a person to stay loyal or otherwise.

My question to Loyalty is; what factors actually affects a person to stay loyal, and what causes them to choose to be otherwise?

Now let’s put it into context, especially to fit the idea of this century where a lady and a gentleman both has a goal to pursue (most of the time career related). Say a couple who are living together named Kara & Hanson. Kara has a professional career which requires her to be outstation every 2 weeks in an isolated area, which means away from home while the other 2 weeks free from work and earns at least $9000 monthly. Hanson too has a professional career where it follows office hours 9-5, Mon-Fri and is seasonally time consuming which means working extra hours for own initiative of excellence in deliveries and he earns roughly $8000.

Unconventional relationship would be the new norm to our current generation. However the other question is, are the mindset of the people in our generation ready for unconventional relationship like this? Does it affect the loyalty aspect of it? Do gender play role in this? If we were to switch the person’s gender with the career requirement mentioned, would it give a different result to the relationship? If Hanson was in Kara’s role & vice versa, does loyalty be at the verge of jeopardy or it will be stronger instead?

Now, Kara being Off The Grid physically every 2 weeks, for loyalty to take the driver seat, both Kara & Hanson have to be constantly nurturing each other through the only mode they have, via technology. When Kara is back for 2 weeks completely free from work, she has to be understanding enough that it could be the busy season for Hanson.

How does Loyalty take driver’s seat? It goes that both of them have to compromise in terms of time & attention. Learn to understand the limitation is not them, it is the job or the circumstances they are in, which is temporary. They need to choose to focus on making it work. Instead of temporary or instant gratification outside of their relationship. Also knowing that they need to keep things alive, constantly even if it means they need to schedule a date together in a week or two, at least. Share the things they experience with each other on daily basis, instead of a colleague or someone outside. Keep their problems to be solved within their relationship, instead of dragging outsiders to help make the call – unless the third person is their relationship psychiatrist, no one should be influencing their decision making.

When one of the two choose to give up either one of the effort mentioned above, that’s when betrayal seeps in. Personally I feel the factor affecting it is definitely the circumstances they are presented with versus the personal choice. What do you think? Have you faced something similar? What did you do & what was the outcome?

Infinitely curious, IC.

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