Dear My Friends

Dear my friends,

Sometimes there are ups and downs in life. Sometime it’s so up high that I didn’t notice my surrounding. Sometime it’s so down that I wished I could have you on my side. Sometime I just missed you so much that I kept calling your names.

As time passed, we are all taking separate paths to fulfill our dreams. What a lonely journey it is! I wished you took the same path and walked together. But no, even when you told me that your destination might be the same as mine, but you were taking different route. And I knew that’s the best path for you, as much as the path I’m taking for me.

So I wonder if you ever feel the same as you go through the journey?

— 2014.02.18

This writing popped up when I was doing my “journal burning” ritual. While it was written 2 years ago it still rings true to me so I thought I wanted to share it on my blog. Hope you are all doing well!

Stuff is not important. People are. Fun is. Passion is.

When we were born, we didn’t bring anything to the world. And when we die, we wouldn’t bring anything from the world. Then why would we live our lives accumulating stuffs and being attached with them which only lose all their meaning once we leave this world?

It is very common for people to acquire so many things which accumulates overtime. Sure those stuffs are important for us to live our life. But being attached to stuffs is not. Instead of supporting our work and making life better, this attachment becomes a burden and hinders us from going towards our passion and life calling.

A blog post I recently read on minimalist living has a statement that I am agree with.

Stuff is not important. People are important. Fun is important. Pursuing your passion is important.

I realized that during the past 3 years I was too much into acquiring stuffs and forgot about the real reason why I need those stuffs in the first place. Built a home theater PC and collecting movies and musics but forgot to have fun. Getting phone numbers but forgot to connect and hang out with people. Accepting works and opportunities but forgot to do what I really want to pursue.

Talking about what I want to pursue, I always want to live a nomadic lifestyle which allows me to learn more about the uniqueness of each part of the world. And by experiencing the world I would get opportunities to contribute back to the world. Thanks to globalization and technology, this kind of journey becomes possible and more accessible.

When I for the first time came to Jakarta for college, I literally only brought a few clothes, a pair of shoes, camera, and a few tidbits in a container. I had no attachment to stuffs, even from the stuffs I left back home. How wonderful that time was. It was so light and I had no problems going anywhere.

All you see is all I had, plus some clothes in the cabinet.
All you see is all I had, plus some clothes in the cabinet.

Yet as years goes by, I accumulate more and more things. And I became comfortable to stay in this city for years. Now that I have reminded of my passion, it became hard for me to leave this city even though I really want to. How am I suppose to dump all these stuffs? That now I have furnitures, stove, refrigerator, and those bulky items which make me wonder how do I get rid of these items. But more importantly, there are stuffs with memories in them.

Sometimes I get caught with the social norm that the success of life is defined by the things you have. And happiness is measured by how prestigious the items you own. No it is not.

Just a few months ago, I was still eagerly browsing and buying new furnitures, cutlery, television, and so on and so on to fill in the empty apartment to make it as homey as possible. I was projecting my five years plan to buy an apartment in the same building so it made sense to just think the current unit as my home. It’s a carefully planned life journey and it all felt worth it until I shifted my paradigm.

I gain a new perspective.

No longer I feel the need to buy more matching cutlery sets. I have everything I need to cook and eat well. No longer I become absorbed in building a perfect HTPC set as a prerequisites to have fun myself and invite others to join. It’s not a prerequisites to have fun. It’s just a tool.

While I might be getting rid of so many stuffs in the near future, it is not the point of being minimalist, but a side effect of being content and non-attached. I begin to understand it. I will post another article on how I get rid most of my stuffs. Of course this is only my personal view, which I believe is aligned with my goals and values. Everyone has their own values, goals and ways to achieve them.

Hope as I walk through the year I could always remember that stuff is not important. People are. Fun is. Passion is.

 

My Life in a Diagram

Today is the middle of January. All the hype and euforia of new year celebration has gone by now. Television and social media are no longer filled with “new year resolution” broadcasts. But you know that there is something more matter. Have you written down your own new year resolution?

Years after years it’s always been the same. Writing “new year, new me” stuffs and realizing the year after that so many things were not accomplished. Then another “I am commited this year” only to be dissapointed by the next year. Until I began lowering my expectations to the point of thinking “let’s not plan anything grand and just go with the flow.” And guess what happened? Surely as low as the expectation, so did the results. Underachieving and dissapointed. I learned it the hard way by a year that was “wasted”.

I know I am a dreamer. There are something big and meaningful goals to accomplish in life. Sometimes it is just too big that it seems impossible which wears me down. Sometimes there are too many that I am troubled to focus. But not doing anything is more frustrating because those goals become farther and so out of reach.

That’s why during past two years I have been keeping a list of what I want to accomplish in life, what I should do to reach those accomplishments, and refining it over and over again.

Until recently I found a better tool to keep track of it, by making life diagram. Kind of a flowchart. It helps me to breakdown a big, somewhat impossible, goal into a set of smaller goals. Then break those goals further into yet smaller goals. Those mini goals serves as milestones to let me know that I am progressing toward that big goal. Even more further, I take those milestones into action plans. It goes like this:

    This is just a simplified sample. My actual diagram is kind of messy.
This is just a simplified sample. My actual diagram is kind of messy.

Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with some of that milestones. I don’t know where to tie the string to. But it’s okay to leave it as is. As long as it is written, I know it is there. I can always go back to my diagram any time in my life to revise it. Even the connected graphs may get revised later with additions of milestones in between. Life is not perfect, it is a constant improvement.

To make sure they are not just an empty dreams, I rearrange those milestones into time groups. The timeline are divided to this year, +1, +5, +10 and so on. With this I could tell where I am at the moment, what I need to do, and why I am doing what I do.

Even if I jump over doing seemingly drastically unrelated activities, I could map how it relates to which goal. Like what is the relation between “get married” and “world tour”? Don’t be surprised. Even the “get married” node is related to “jogging” in my real diagram. Sometimes only I know the relationship between two nodes in the graph. But in case I forgot about it, the diagram helps me to recall.

Writing down life goals doesn’t always have to be done on new year. Therefore my “new year resolution” is not actually a new list of goals that I just write in a night. It’s actually a revision of the list I had since years ago, with added action plans.

Finally I could tie that dream far in the sky with a long long rope which I could hold. As high as a kite could fly, now I could roll the string round by round until I grab that kite. The wind may be strong, and the string may be rolling back, but I would never lose a grip to pull it back.

Hidup Sosial Tanpa Media Sosial: Bulan #2

Oke, ini merupakan postingan penutup dalam seri Hidup Sosial Tanpa Media Sosial. Sebuah tulisan refleksi sebagai kesimpulan setelah dua bulan menutup diri dari media sosial dan membuka diri untuk sosialisasi di dunia nyata.

Media sosial: antara butuh dan tidak butuh

Dua bulan ini membuat aku bisa memisahkan dua hal penting dari penggunaan media sosial: untuk selalu up-to-date akan segala hal yang diposting oleh “teman” di media sosial, dan untuk bisa tetap stay in touch dengan teman-teman yang tidak bisa kita jumpai di dunia nyata.

Aku butuh media sosial untuk bisa kontak dengan mereka yang tinggal di belahan lain bumi ini. Ada hubungan yang bisa dibangun dengan komunikasi personal via chatting. Ada juga interaksi yang bisa dibangun dengan berbagi cerita bersama via media sosial. Yang aku tidak butuh adalah News Feed, atau News Stream, atau apalah namanya itu. Yang selalu menarik perhatian dan memakan waktu berjam-jam untuk membaca dan me-scroll halaman berisi update mengenai berita terbaru, video lucu, meme, curhatan, foto makanan yang diposting oleh orang-orang yang tak ada habisnya. Belum lagi postingan sponsor alias iklan di sela-sela postingan lain.

Sialnya, semakin sering kita membuka media sosial, semakin terlena kita dengan news feed ini. Waktu habis memandangi media sosial tanpa benar-benar bersosialisasi. Karena aku tahu bahwa sumber pemborosan waktu adalah pada halaman news feed, maka lebih baik menghindari membuka halaman Home yang berisi news feed itu. Langsung saja menuju halaman profil, atau kunjungi profil teman. Sama persis seperti jaman aku pakai Friendster dulu.

Update terus

News feed di media sosial akan terus-menerus diperbarui, baik dibaca maupun tidak dibaca. Apalagi dengan ratusan “teman” yang terdaftar di profil kita, satu kali refresh halaman maka pof! postingan yang tadi terlewat sudah tak kelihatan lagi, jauh terdorong ke bawah halaman. Selama dua bulan tak memandangi news feed, aku menyadari ada pula update di dunia nyata sekitar kita yang terjadi terus-menerus, entah kita menyadarinya atau tidak.

Dalam dua bulan ini, hal-hal yang terjadi di sekitar aku di antaranya:

  • Musim hujan sudah tiba
  • Tahun baru!
  • Pergantian pengurus pengelola apartemen
  • Masa berlaku SIM sudah habis (dan diperpanjang)

Sedangkan untuk hal-hal yang terjadi pada orang-orang yang lebih dekat:

  • Krisis seperempat abad
  • Ada teman jadian
  • Seputar karir dan jalan hidup

Bagaimana dengan kabar-kabar yang lebih luas, seperti pencurian di bandara, kasus penunjukkan diri sendiri oleh SN, putusan pengadilan negeri Palembang yang memenangkan perusahaan yang didakwa sebagai pelaku pembakaran hutan? Oh tentu saja aku tak ketinggalan kabar seperti itu.

Media untuk berbagi kehidupan

Kini media sosial rasanya lebih banyak dipenuhi dengan satu atau beberapa jenis konten seperti ini:

  • Foto selfie
  • Foto makanan
  • Foto jalan-jalan (selfie juga)
  • Berita
  • Barang jualan
  • Spam, surat kaleng, atau MLM
  • Video atau gambar lucu
  • Undangan yang tidak spesifik
  • Iklan

Konten-konten di atas mungkin mendatangkan banyak like atau share, tapi tidak banyak membantu dalam meningkatkan hubungan yang akrab. Kalau ingin berbagi mengenai hal yang ada di pikiran, blog-lah tempatnya!

Ketimbang memposting konten untuk menarik perhatian orang kepada diri sendiri, rasanya jauh lebih bermakna bila memposting konten untuk memberi perhatian kepada orang lain, seperti:

  • Foto kegiatan bersama teman
  • Ucapan salam dan terima kasih
  • Hal-hal yang diminati bersama ditujukan spesifik kepada orang tertentu

Beberapa waktu lalu aku menghapus foto-foto dan video dari Facebook. Setelah lalu dua bulan, sebenarnya aku sedikit menyesal menghapusnya. Karena itu foto berisi kenangan yang dilakukan bersama-sama dengan teman. Aku masih punya fotonya di koleksi pribadi, tetapi kini sulit untuk berbagi kenangan dengan mengundang mereka datang ke rumah karena mereka berada di beda kota atau beda negara.

Hal di atas mungkin lebih spesifik untuk Facebook, karena tiap situs punya fungsinya masing-masing. Karena jejaring sosial Facebook menggunakan konsep hubungan mutual dan ditujukan sebagai media pertemanan, maka media ini lebih tepat untuk berteman.

Mungkin akan berbeda pada Instagram yang menggunakan konsep follower dan following. Jejaring sosial macam ini lebih seperti fan page. Kita tak perlu tahu siapa yang mengikuti update tentang kita. Ya, dan tentu saja postingan yang kita buat pun kurang lebih isinya seputar diri kita. Dan rasanya untuk hal ini wajar saja. Justru aneh dan agak menyeramkan kalau profil kita dipenuhi foto orang lain tanpa kita, apalagi kalau itu bukan artis atau orang terkenal.

Lain lagi dengan Twitter. Orang menyebutnya sebagai microblogging platform. Konsep jejaringnya serupa dengan Instagram, dengan follower tanpa harus follow back. Aku pribadi lebih suka menulis di blog ketimbang microblog (baca: Twitter), karena aku bisa leluasa mencurahkan isi pemikiran tanpa dibatasi 160 karakter, sekaligus mengasah kemampuan berbahasa.

Sosialisasi di dunia nyata

Ternyata tidak mudah dilakukan setelah lulus kuliah dan menginjak dunia kerja. Setiap orang kini punya kegiatannya masing-masing. Jadwal yang berbeda-beda ini membuat kesulitan ketika ingin merencanakan jalan, makan, atau main bareng teman-teman. Semakin banyak teman yang ingin dikumpulkan untuk jalan bersama, semakin kecil kemungkinan terlaksana. Di samping jadwal yang berbeda, tujuan dan arah setiap orang juga kini sudah berbeda. Lain halnya saat masa sekolah dulu, tujuan yang ditempuh kurang lebih sama: untuk belajar, untuk lulus, untuk refreshing dari tugas. Karena tujuan yang sedang ditempuhnya berbeda, maka ajakan untuk kopi darat mungkin saja ditolak karena mereka sedang mengejar hal lain yang lebih prioritas dalam hidupnya. Karena aku pun demikian.

Meskipun demikian, memberi waktu untuk berjumpa atau hangout di darat adalah hal yang layak untuk diusahakan.

Kesimpulan

Sekalipun tidak mustahil untuk memilih hidup tanpa media sosial sama sekali, tetapi keputusanku adalah untuk kembali memakai media sosial dengan membatasi fungsinya sebagai alat berkomunikasi ketimbang sebagai bagian besar dari kehidupan sosial.

Membuat Ruang untuk Meramu Koding

Awalnya hanya beberapa carik catatan kecil dalam blog pribadi. Sebagai seseorang yang banyak menggeluti dunia pemrograman, tentulah ada banyak cerita, penting maupun tak penting, yang bisa dibagikan bagi para pembaca.

Sejauh ini memang tidak banyak trik-trik pemrograman yang aku tulis di sini. Mengawali tahun yang baru, aku berencana untuk lebih sering menulis topik “Meramu Koding” baik itu PHP, JavaScript, maupun yang lainnya. Karena itulah aku membuat situs blog baru Meramu Koding yang lebih spesifik untuk menampung topik ini. Tulisan lama yang pernah aku tulis mengenai topik ini pun akan dipindahkan juga. Jadi para pembaca yang ingin membaca soal resep-resep koding yang pernah aku peroleh tak perlu repot mencari seutas jerami dalam tumpukan jarum di blog pribadi ini.

Mengapa mesti topik ini? Karena topik ini dirasa lebih bisa memberi manfaat langsung kepada banyak orang. Dan banyak orang itu merupakan bagian dari warga dunia. Dan menjadi pribadi yang bisa berkontribusi bagi dunia adalah salah satu panggilan hidup utama yang aku punya. Jadi kegiatan ini merupakan satu dari resolusi tahun baru 2016!

Berikut ini daftar tulisan blog yang telah dipindahkan ke Meramu Koding:

 

It’s December 31st

It’s December 31st. The very last day like any other years, there are so many things going on through my mind. A roll of memories quickly rolling over the mind playing back past events I’ve been through. A list of achievements reached. A longer list of year-long goals yet to be met. A set of episodes embracing unexpected, unforgettable moments.

It’s December 31st. Isn’t it the day to stop for a moment to take a broader look at myself. Why am I who I am now? Am I happy with what I have become til this day? Does the stuffs I did adds values to my life?

It’s December 31st. It was not perfect. More goals might still be far far away despite a year-long marathon. But there’s no place for regret to slip in. It was an awesome year anyway. There were days of discovery. There were days of tiresome walks. There were days knowing that it’s worth all the efforts. Contentment is a perfect choice.

It’s December 31st. It’s time to prepare for great goodness to come.

Social Media is Anything but Social

There have been numerous posts of this kind around the web. And you might have read one too. The social media we know today is so much different than what it is like before, or at least around 2000s when I embraced the internet and social media. Once it was a good way to connect socially. By connecting socially, I mean being engaged in bidirectional conversations.

Stay out of touch

Early social media allows us to keep in touch with distant friends and old friends. When I moved from my hometown to Jakarta for pursuing bachelor degree, I was far from my friends. Fortunately, I was already in the era of internet and instant messenger. And it was a great time that we usually signed in on Yahoo and MSN messenger and waited for friends popping up on screen. We chatted about just anything which came up on mind. From weather to food, from homework to lecturer to gossip. We kept in touch. We had great times.

When I was bored, sometimes I just chat random friends and ask how they were doing. And they would share excitements they encountered during the day, or a few bad stuffs or good stuffs. It worked vice versa. When somebody asked me how I was, I was happy to share my moments with fellow friends and know that there were people who care. Of course the depth of moments shared depended on the level of relationship. We may choose to share this with close friends, and share something else with someone else, or not to share at all even if asked by others.

The term “share” that we often hear, or read, or click, nowadays is not the same thing as what I understand years ago. Sharing a moment, a photo, a link, up on Facebook is personal, but not social. When we share something up, we don’t know who cares about us. Indeed there could be “likes”, but it’s just a click of a button. There could be comments, but let’s count how often you got engaged in conversations with them. Oftentimes when a person commented on your post and you replied it, the conversation ended there, except from people you are close to, whom you already connected with in real life, or via other telecommunication media.

With the ease of sharing filtered moments online, the value of keeping in touch with friends have been degraded to being a stalker. What would you say to initiate a conversation to get in touch with your friends? When everything is already shared on their wall, it becomes kind of pointless to ask “how are you?” unless they are really close with you to share what’s not on their profile. There’s nothing else to say. You already know what they are doing, and they also know that you already know the answer. Since people already posted moments of their life online, and we are not really that close with them to ask for something else more than what’s already posted online, what other topics would we talk about to get in touch with them? Politics? Money? Movies? Nah. Nurturing relationship is by sharing moments of life, which apparently already shared with social media.

Share the moment by ruining your moment

Check your social media updates stream. You might see people are sharing their moments. This is the trend. When we are in a party, we are capturing the moment, filtering it, and thinking of a catch phrase to be posted online. When we are having a holiday, we can’t wait to post the photographs and share the awesome places we have been. But the worst thing is that we often too busy sharing the moment and forgot to present in the moment.

The F.O.M.O syndrome

On the other hand, we constantly check social media updates stream to stay updated with what friends are doing. This leads to a real syndrome now called F.O.M.O (the fear of missing out). Yet no matter how much we keep updated, we will always be missing out something. You might think reading Facebook streams lets you know all the news about your friends. But it’s not. Facebook chooses what they want to show you. About half of the posts you see are old posts. And the new posts you see is not them all. So you are actually missing out. Moreover, most of those posts are from pages, not friends.

When we are reading posts shared by others, the more we know what others are doing, the more we feel miserable. The time we browse through social media feed the most is when we are bored. So we are comparing our downs with others’ ups. Then seeing friends doing stuffs without us makes us feel left out. The platform which intent is to be a social media in reality has become a life comparation media.

Quitting social media

The answer to this is so simple yet so hard. It’s like an addiction. But if you are like me, let’s engage more in real life and live a life that is real!