A Question For The Automaton Generation: Who Do You Want To Be?

When I was thirteen I aspire to be many things.

I wanted to be a scholar
A professor
A well known educator…

But at the same time, I also wanted to be a writer,
A poet
And ultimately, an artist, because I want to inspire people…

Years from there my aspirations keep growing to many different things to the point it was scattered into many different interests in life.
I ended up becoming a misfits.
It was a bit sad really…

All those years from a very highly inspired teenagers into a depressed, don’t-know-what-to-do-with-life human being. Why? You may asked.

Simple. People happened.

We are living in a society where people love to be involved in our lives. Whether it is for positive or negative thing, people simply love to meddle. It is not wrong, this is just how we make relationship with others.

I was once a by product of a society that dictates what I should and should not do. There were people in my life who “dislike” the fact that I had such big ambition and “quietly” killed my ambition. They drove me into questioning myself if what I wanted was too big.

Then, there were people who would “force” me to thrive differently, not in the things that I actually wanted but it was simply because what seemed to be “right”. Today is even worse, there seems to be a baseline for what is called to be “accepted” in society, in terms of your wishes, your identity, even your ultimate goals in life. And this makes me sad even further.

I finally managed to get out of this “automaton” dictation by pulling myself apart. This doesn’t mean I become an actual misfit. On the contrary, I have a better social life now and people accepted me just fine.

What changes, however, was how I’m letting this society get into my mind. Like I said earlier, it’s inevitable and not wrong for having a society who meddles in your life. This is how human interact but what we need to protect is our core. Who we really are. If we can do that by being true to who we really are, we can let the “right” people meddle into our life, which will enrich us instead of tearing us down.

People who can sharpen our desires instead of crushing it. People who can inspire us because they are also running in the same journey as ours. All in all, we need to let people who have the best interest for us to be a loud voice in our life. If there are people who keeps negating what we want to do, we should consider the existence of that person in our lives. Maybe, that person needs to be put aside some times.

Challenge is good but if you are constantly being challenged and questioned, sooner or later doubts will start to grow and block you from becoming who you really are.

To find who you are and to be who you want to be today is a bit harder, simply because the world is a lot noisier than before. Social media is a gateway for us to be depressed or to freely expressed ourselves correctly. It’s both a lethal machinery that can build us or kill us.

We need a strong filter for these voices in order for us to be true to ourselves. In my journey, I find that getting alone for a while and distant myself from all the noises for once in a while really helps. It makes me think clearly and inspire me again to get to where I wanted to go.

I’m writing this to you, who might be in need of any encouragement to find who you truly are. I hope this can help you. Just remember, you will finally be comfortable with who you are when you finally can be honest about who you are.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

Talk to you later!

SC. (@callistasarah)

Advertisements

An Interview With Aveline Gunawan: The Clumsy Girl With Secret Obsession Towards Greenday.

I’ve known Aveline Gunawan (Ave), a photographer for Baby Axioo, since her first days in Baby Axioo. We share mutual best friends, and got involved in preparing for their proposal, birthday surprises, bachelor parties, pre-wedding photoshoot and even became one of their groomsmen and bridesmaids.

Although she might look like a high-maintenance princess on her Instagram feeds, Ave is a complete opposite in person. She is very down to earth and far from princess-sy attitude. She is a clown who is not afraid to make fun of herself in front of other people. Her talent in photography is undeniably and inarguably a God’s gift. I remember during our trip to Bromo, she took photos using a Samsung phone, iPhone, DSLR, Mirrorless camera, and Analog camera, and every single shot she took was beautiful! Because of her I believe the idioms that says, “It’s not about the gear, it’s about the eyes and the taste behind the lens.” A real photographer could take the most beautiful photo using any gear, and she has proven it.

Working in Axioo has been her one and only dream since she graduated from University. The journey to become where she is right now was not easy at all and that is why I decided to feature her in this month’s “Get To Know” section. We met at a restaurant after church, and started to the interview over a plate of pizza and desserts. One funny similarity that we share is that we are both an unstoppable munching machine. When we see foods on the table, we don’t even care to ask who owns it, we’re just gonna grab it and start munching!

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 04

TPOB20: Who is Aveline Gunawan in your own eyes?
Ave: Aveline Gunawan is a clumsy girl from Surabaya. A girl who looks very elegant on Instagram, but actually a clown who can’t stop munching, and loves to listen to Greenday.

TPOB20: What do you do?
Ave: I’m a photographer in Baby Axioo, so I’m mostly busy doing photoshoot probably about seven different clients in a week, while at the same time juggling my wedding preparation.

TPOB20: How did you get into this industry?
Ave: I’ve been introduced to photography since I was a kid. Probably because my Dad was also quite passionate in photography. I remember him taking photos of me and my two sisters with his vintage camera, and also recorded our silly actions with a handy cam.

But, it was not until senior high that I finally considered to explore photography. When I was still a little girl, I wanted to be a bank teller because I thought I’d have a lot of money, not knowing that it’s actually other people’s money hahaha… And then I also wanted to be a comic illustrator because I like drawing. When I was in Middle High I wanted to be a part of Emo Band, mainly because of Greenday.

Until one day, I had this Motorolla phone that came with a camera. It became my first camera, and that’s how it all began. I moved to Melbourne for my bachelor degree in Communication Design. One day, a friend of mine asked me to take photos of their kid. That’s when I had the opportunity to build my portfolio.

After college, I went back for good to Surabaya and decided to focus more on photography. I wanted to apply to Axioo but then I didn’t have that much confident in me to actually send out my portfolios. At that moment, it just felt impossible. So I tried applying to other photography services in Surabaya instead, and none of them called me back. I was so devastated, feeling so incompetent. How could I apply for the big giant like Axioo, if no one in Surabaya wanted to hire me.

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 01

Photo courtesy of Aveline Gunawan and Baby Axioo

One day, my ex’s sister was having a pre-wedding photo shoot in Bogor with Axioo. Usually, there will be one photographer with one stylist handling the photo shoot. But, that day, I believe it’s not a coincidence, the stylist wasn’t available to come so the owner herself (which happens to be my current boss) came all the way from Jakarta to handle the photoshoot. It’s a very rare situation, probably even the first and the last time ever. Anyway, that’s when I first met Fen Soong. The owner of my dream company. Of course, she knew nothing about me. We rarely even speak during the photo shoot I guess.

Fast forward two weeks later, Fen left a comment on my Instagram’s post, saying that she would love to meet and have a talk with me. Apparently, she found my Instagram through some sort of Instagram baby account, which featured my portfolio.

One month later, in September 2013, I went to Jakarta and arranged a meeting with Fen. She asked me to be a photographer for Baby Axioo. That was really mind blowing, because I’m fine being a photographer’s assistant as a starter. I was so flattered yet quite nervous at that time. She asked me to think about the offer. And so I moved to Jakarta and started to work for Baby Axioo since October 2013.

I realized that it’s totally God’s grace. Fen and I were a complete stranger, yet somehow we crossed paths. I crossed path not with some random business owner, but with the one particular business owner that I’ve been adoring.

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 02

Photo courtesy of Aveline Gunawan and Baby Axioo

TPOB20: Why Axioo? And, why Baby Axioo?
Ave:
Apart from the fact that Axioo has such great name and portfolio, it just seems fun to work in Axioo. The team looks very solid. Apparently, when I joined, everything that I could imagine about working in Axioo is true! I got paid for having fun doing what I love to do, I gained not only good friends, but also a new family.

Why Baby Axioo? Hmmm.. I just love kids. When my sisters and I were kids, the two of them preferred to go to our cousins’ house to play saloon and other girly toys. Me? I preferred to go to my other cousin who was still a baby and play with her.

TPOB20: What are your work values that brought you to where you are right now?
Ave: 
Integrity. I believe that every client has to get the same treatment, the best of me. I can’t play favorites because they pay the same price. Second to integrity would be innovative I guess. I always come up with new ideas for photoshoot, thanks to Pinterest and a lot of brainstorming session with the fashion stylist. Or, sometimes I could get ideas simply by reading magazines, traveling, or looking at a window display.

TPOB20: What kind of thing disturbs or angers you the most?
Ave: I cannot tolerate a fake and sneaky person who always has a hidden agenda for his/her own benefit. I really despise people who act nicely in front of people yet talk bad about them behind their back. I value people who are sincere and kind-hearted.

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 03

TPOB20: What kind of activity do you do to refuel your creative tanks?
Ave: Mostly traveling. Or, taking a time off for a while.

TPOB20: What is the most interesting thing about being a baby photographer?
Ave: 
I got to meet new people everytime I have a photoshoot. Mostly are Instagram mommies with very cute and adorable babies or toddlers. I love hearing their stories and their insights about being a Mom.

TPOB20: What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Ave: When the baby doesn’t cooperate. But, what would be like the MOST challenging is when both the baby and the parents don’t cooperate.

TPOB20: What was the biggest struggle in your 20s? What made you kept going?
Ave: 
I’m a sucker for lover. Thank God I now have a fiance. But few years ago, I could overthink and worry a lot about my love life. As a competitive person, I often compare my life with other and the seeds of jealousy could cripple me. I always want to be better than others and completely forget that the real battle is not against others but against my own self. I learned over time to put aside all the negative thoughts and choose to focus on being the best in what I do. The blessing that is meant for you will always be meant for you. God has designed everything and put each person’s blessing according to their capacity. That thought somehow managed to keep me going everytime I stumble.

At this point I got so distracted by some pizza crumbles that got stuck on her hair. That’s how much she fancies eating. (Don’t worry Ave, you still have time to diet and you’ll fit well in your wedding dress!)

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 05

Photo courtesy of Aveline Gunawan and Baby Axioo

TPOB20: What is your biggest dream that you haven’t achieved until today?
Ave: Uhm.. probably being a vessel of blessing to others, like creating a job opportunity for other people so they can support their family, pay the bills, etc. I strongly believe that’s what God wants me to do next.

TPOB20: Who is your inspiration?
Ave: 
My boss, Fen. She is very genuine and caring towards people. She would go the extra mile to make her ideas come to life. She values and appreciates relationship and really take a good care of her employees.

TPOB20: Lastly, what are the perks of being 20 to you?
Ave: 
It’s the season where you can explore a lot of things, or should I say every thing that your heart desires, without being worried because you still don’t have any responsibility towards your own family. You are not yet married and still don’t have kids. Your old days seem far away. You are all fresh and healthy to do the things that you love to do.

The Perks Of Being Twenty Life Inspiring Aveline Gunawan Baby Axioo Baby Photographer Jakarta Indonesia Lifestyle Travel Foods Henry Gerson Gerson Henry 06

Hopefully her story would inspire you to never give up praying on what you want and pursue your dream until it comes to life.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Price of Passion.

I still vividly remember my parents’ disappointed face when I told them I wanted to pursue my passion in writing for my college major instead of business major.

It was not a pretty sight.

The loneliness of being the only Asian among Australians in the class because Art degree, let alone Creative Writing major, was far from popular among my peers. Oh the frustration, when I had to quit my writing job in a magazine that I actually loved doing because the paycheque was far from ideal and had to look for other career opportunity instead.

I buried my writing dream since then for five years, as I started to work purely for good money by running my own business in fashion.

I thought I was fine living with a dead dream.

Until not too long ago I found myself completely, utterly, broken.
I was hopeless.  I was helpless.
My soul was weary.
The future is nothing but a fog.
Unfathomable dead of night that this small mind failed to comprehend.

Pursuing a passion has its price to pay.

As for me, it was depression.
Not the “OMG my boyfriend broke up with me, I feel sooo depressed” kind, but diagnosed-by-psychiatrist-and-she-prescribed-me-with-an anti-depressants-so-I-won’t-turn-suicidal-kind.

There were days when I had to swallow that tiny pill just to give me the strength, to get me out of the bed and go to work. When I woke up I wished the day would end already, so tomorrow will come and I will finally be done feeling this empty.

In that state of mind, I kept telling the universe,

“I know I’m not a child anymore and I need to grow up,
but don’t make me a dreamer if you’re just gonna crush it with harsh reality.”

I was artistically heart broken, because the creator in me wasn’t able to create.
I had some success in my business, but I was far from being genuinely happy.
People who just knew me recently, would never know the wordsmith side of me.
Because I never show them.

Now more than ever, the world tells you to pursue your passion.
“Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” they said.

But guess what, you actually have to.

Maybe your true passion isn’t making a lot of money, but the bill needs to be paid.
Last time I checked, groceries can’t be exchanged by passion nor big dreams.
Traveling and taking Insta-worthy pictures costs you.

Pursuing a passion is hard work.

Working your arse off day and night, doing everything you can, chasing every opportunities like you chase the wind, while waiting, for that door to finally come bursting open, for your teenage dream to finally come true, it can get mind-numbingly discouraging.

But after being molded for so long in darkness, imprisoned by the uncertainty, when the time is right, the light in you will shine bright.

If you prove yourself to be FAITHFUL in LOVING what you were entrusted to DO, even if it wasn’t the ideal job that you had in mind growing up, soon enough the universe will reward you with

the right people, 
right place, 
right time,

and you will be able to DO what you LOVE.

Start with a small step.
Start with what you currently have in your hands.
Dare to hope again.
Dare to feel again.
If you’re like me, dare to write again.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Dream on my dearest,

S. (@sashatjie)

 

 

A Postcard from Bali: Life Lessons from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”

New year, new resolutions and new expectations. What kind of greatness do you seek to achieve this year?

To me, I was only looking for a peaceful state of mind. To be honest, I didn’t end 2016 exactly in a place that I want to be. In fact, I was quite far from my personal targets and goals. A little speed bumps and a few road blocks here and there got me super exhausted by the end of the year. I didn’t even start 2017 all excited. The first of January was just another day to me.

That was why I needed Bali so much. When I got a call to host an event in Bali, I quickly said yes in one term, which is for my client to extend my flight for almost 2 weeks. That way, I can have my most needed vacation in Bali.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu
Girls just want to have fun.
photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Beautiful sunset view from the Potato Head Beach Club.

In search of peace and tranquility, I bought a book at the airport by Robin Sharma titled “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. I’m not much of a fiction fan, but I wasn’t in the mood for some self development book. I was just in a mood to get lost and find myself again. When it comes to finding your true self, nobody does it better than monks, right?

The book caught my attention since the very first chapter. It tells a story about a very successful corporate lawyer who sold everything in order to find himself again. To do that, he used his hard earned money to travel to India in search of wisdom from the wisest guru to learn about the art of living.

 I’m not going to spoil it for you. Read the rest of the book yourself.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Diving in USS Shipwreck, Tulamben.

But here’s what I can tell you. I learn that the chase of money, fame and power is like the chase of the wind. It is futile. Even worse, it leads to destruction of morale and self identity.

The world relates success to something big. A big fat bank account, a big number of followers on Instagram or a big leadership and influence over a group of people. In this modern world, we tend to measure success, while it is actually more qualitative than quantitative.

 It is not much about number. It is more about quality.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

“The moment I stopped spending so much time chasing the big pleasure of life. I began to enjoy the little ones, like watching the stars dancing in moonlit sky or soaking in the sunbeams of a glorious summer morning.” – Robin S. Sharma

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

“Never underestimate the power of simplicity.” – Robin S. Sharma

If qualitative success is what we want to achieve, then qualitative ways must be done to reach that kind of success. One of it that is explained in the book is about guarding your own thoughts.

A lot of people have learned and mastered the art of securing their investments and household, but few have actually mastered the art of guarding their own mind. That is why monks (from the books) punish themselves by meditating under the waterfall every time they let a tiny seed of worry enters their mind. They can’t let even the tiniest bit of worry grow inside and takes over their peace of mind.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

“Worry drains the mind of its power and, sooner or later, it injures the soul.” – Robin S. Sharma

I for one, am not a master of my own thoughts. My thoughts have took away my sleep and, sometimes, sanity. I guess I have to add that to my priority list on top of “making money”.

With all that written, I am determined to make this year all about self study. Instagram and the internet is the perfect tool to learn more about others. All the while, we tend to forgot that it is us that needs mending and fixing. While we focus so much on others and achieving what they have achieved, we forgot that the main character in our life is us. We are not just watchers and observers of life.

 That is why, studying ourselves is important. To know where we are and to know where we should be is one of the key to qualitative success.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

“I once read that people who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.” – Robin S. Sharma

What a perspective to start the year! Thank you Bali. Thank you Robin S. Sharma. You can continue scrolling down and look at more of my stories from Bali.

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

 

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Thousands of tiny fishes spotted.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Colourful corals.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

The Lady Gaga of fish.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

My lunch date at Da Maria, @inesaryaniputri.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Took a quick visit to Taman Ujung, Karangasem. I rode for 2 hours to get to this place.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

One of the best wedding photography sites in Bali.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

When you travel alone, but clever enough to utilize the self timer feature.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Kali Unda was lit. I loved every minute I spent watching these kids play in the water.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

These four kids kept on jumping just to be in the photo.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Simplicity.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Dab for the camera!

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Definitely a rare candid moment.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Bumped into @martinalvin and @crystiarden. This couple would kill their pre wedding photos.

photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu
These tacos I tried at Panama are definitely not the best taco in Bali.
photography-wedding-taman-ujung-diving-bali-fun-open-water-licensed-iso-padi-ssr-demas-ryan-postcard-from-bali-kali-unda-underwater-life-potato-head-where-to-go-in-bali-best-sunset-in-bali-da-maria-lu

Chilling by the pool.

So, Life Is Tough. Srsly? Think Again.

This is not one of our regular “coffee-shop-review” post, just in case the title is bugging you. Here’s a post that is inspired by the current train of thoughts I’ve been having these past few weeks.

As I sat down, waiting for my friends to come, in SRSLY Coffee, I can’t help but having a little discussion with my own thoughts about the particular statement I used in the title. “Life is tough,” we secretly uttered this sentence, almost automatically, when life doesn’t happen the way we expect it to be. There are times when I’m still guilty of subconsciously letting this thought popped up on the surface. Even when facing mere temporary problems as simple as being stuck in the traffic.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-08

Jl. Cipete Raya No. 7C, Cilandak

In a world that (not only offers, but also) praises instant and immediate results, it’s very easy for us to forget and undermine the value of process. We forget to learn the art of cultivating patience. The society is no longer able to see the importance of waiting. We see waiting as a loss, a damage or a waste of our “oh-so-valuable” time.

When we want something, we want it right away, we want it our way. If things don’t happen according to our timeline and expectation, we easily conclude that life happens. Reality bites. And then, we post it on our social media, expecting attention and empathy from others to help us feel good about ourselves again.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-04

I have a thing for white decoration.

If only we can stop for a while before we let our emotions take control of everything and lead us into a conclusion that life is tough, probably we’ll be able to see that life is not really that tough. Especially when you still have a fine working smartphone to read this post.

That was when I looked up and chuckled. Because, it seemed like the big signage before me was laughing at the conversation that happened in my mind. SRSLY? One fine coffee shop to sit and unwind. One person with one busy thought. One question, seriously?

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-03

SRSLY?

People use speed as a benchmark of achievement. No wonder we love those singing contest reality show. No wonder some people love to have instant followers and likes. And so we are trapped in an endless competition of being the fastest.

The fastest to be in a relationship, even after one suffered a painful break up. The fastest to have a date, thanks to Tinder. The fastest to purchase the newest gadget. The fastest to watch the newest movie. The fastest to quit a job and hop on to a new job in the name of pursuing passion. The fastest to get married, even when we still carry unresolved issues from the past.

People love to be on the fast lane as it comes with an adrenaline rush. But we often forget, that moving in a high speed can cause us a serious damage. That is why the art of pausing, or even stopping and taking a break need to be mastered.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-07

Have you ever tried putting yourself in other people’s shoes?

When you are moving too fast, you have the potential to end up in a huge crash, right? What if those unanswered prayers, or unmet wants and needs are actually a form of divine protection that have been actually saving you, preventing you from a major crash? Try see it from a different angle. Have you tried to see “not getting what you want” as a blessing in disguise?

A blessing that prevent you from stepping into a mess.
A blessing that prevent you from marrying the wrong person.
A blessing that prevent you from taking the wrong career path.

A blessing that prevent you from another heart break.

One sad news that literally tore my heart apart and made me cry arrived during the drafting of this post. The pretty little warrior, Daphne (the baby girl that we visited during our last visit to Singapore), passed away (on Wednesday morning). His dad replied my text still being all-inspiring, believing that Daphne is now in a better condition, playing happily in heaven. Even when I visited them at the funeral, they both welcomed me still with the warm smiles I saw when we came visited them in the hospital.

Through Daphne’s life, and the uncommon great faith of her parents, I’m being reminded again about all this. From them, I learn the true meaning of giving my best in dealing with problems that come into my life. From them, I learn the true meaning of being strong. From them, I learn to have a bigger faith, the kind of faith that refuse to give up.

When you think that your life is tough, stop, pause, and ask this to yourself: “Is it really? Have I tried my best? How long have I been praying and fighting for miracles to come? Have I failed to see other options? Have I tried putting myself in other people’s shoes?”

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-09

Busy. Busy. Busy. Hail to the fast lane society!

Before we get too fast in concluding that life is tough, why don’t we stop and start to look at the blessing that we have? Why don’t we start being grateful instead?

Let’s make this as part of our lifestyle. Lifestyle is not only about spending what you have on what would make you look cool. It can be a way of living that would add value and give good influence to those around you. That’s what lifestyle is. At least, that’s how we see it.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-the-perks-of-being-20-henry-gerson-demas-ryan-lifestyle-travel-foodies-coffee-shop-srslycoffee-jakarta-05
Lifestyle is more than just purchasing a cup of coffee.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

An Interview with the Fabulous Ucita Pohan

I have always been a huge fan of radio announcers. As an announcer myself, I know what it’s like to be in such a packed industry with only very few spots to fill. In every broadcasting class that I teach, I would always wish everybody the best of luck. Their dream job in the broadcasting industry wouldn’t be reached by passion alone.

I can’t clearly explain how inspired I was when I get the chance to sit and talk to the one and only Ucita Pohan. As someone who works in the same industry as I am, she seemed to have done it with such tenacity and class. While most radio announcers sees their work as talking in front of the mic, Ucita Pohan brought her work into her daily life, blending the images of a radio announcer and a sophisticated cultured lady. This representation of herself is what brought her to who she is today.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-04

Meet Ucita Pohan!

the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-03


TPOB20: Who is Ucita Pohan in your own eyes?

Uchiet: Ucita Pohan is a character filled with my dreams and goals. She’s all about enjoying life, trying out new things, exploring possibilities, living life to the fullest, seeing everything from a no-drama perspective because this world is already full of drama.

TPOB20: So what do you do now?

Uchiet: I host a radio program called Fun Fearless Female on 90.4 Cosmpolitan FM every Monday, Thursday and Friday. I also do some MC gigs in between. And, for the past two years, I’ve also been trusted to host events for some brands.

TPOB20: How did you start your career in the broadcasting industry?

Uchiet: It all started out back when I was still a little girl. As a kid, I used to play in my parents room, at that moment my Mom often listened to Prambors radio. I ended up listening to the airing program, which was hosted by these two announcers, Irvan and Angga. I forgot how, but one day  I decided to record their program with a cassette, and then I kind of memorized every single thing they said. And then I recorded my own voice, mixed it with their voices so it was like I was there with broadcasting live with them. Heck, I didn’t even know how I did that!

Then, as I grew up I started to forget about my interest in radio and dreamed to have my own magazine. But when I entered senior high I joined the school’s radio club, became an announcer and my buried passion in broadcasting resurfaced. The dream grew only stronger over time. I joined the radio club in my campus and knew ever since that I wanted to be an announcer. And so in 2006, when I finally graduated college I focused on becoming an announcer.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-05

TPOB20: What are the values that you hold firmly in life? That has brought you up to this stage in your career.

Uchiet: Fake it ’til you make it. It’s actually my way of saying to never stop learning and preparing so when the opportunity comes knocking you are always ready. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was a little girl. I played make believe, pretending like I was already a professional and experienced broadcaster. Even during those days when I hosted the show for my campus’s radio. No one listened to my show I guess, but I just pretended like it was a real show with real audience. All of those has prepared me to embrace the opportunity that came before me.

TPOB20: What is the one thing that would easily make you angry?

Uchiet: Dishonesty. Period. I can not tolerate people who tell lies. I’m fine with moody people, with ambitious people but there’s no room for a liar in my life.

TPOB20: What makes you feel bored and how do you overcome boredom?

Uchiet: I got bored easily when I’m stuck doing the same thing over and over again. Luckily, my profession comes with time flexibility, which allows me to do plenty of other things that I like. So to overcome boredom I’d do several things from being a magazine editor, working on some fashion stuff, to making a creative event.

TPOB20: What was the biggest struggle in your twenties? And how did you overcome it?

Uchiet: The biggest struggle for me was when I decided to no longer depend on my parents financially. It’s not a myth if you hear people say that being an announcer doesn’t really pay much. It is not much if you compare it to the kind of lifestyle we have to cope with since I work in a lifestyle radio. I have to be wise in my budgeting and try to find ways to keep up with the kind of lifestyle that I need to portray. That was why I pushed myself real hard. I take jobs as freelance writers and MCs. Luckily, my parents were very supportive.

At the same time, my friends are divided into two. Some have already settled down while the others are still enjoying the disco life. That’s what happened when I reached 26 years old.

Even though that phase was very tiring, I never regretted this line of work. This is something I’ve always wanted.
Travel is the key to distract me from these stresses. I would travel with my best friend to open up my mind and to see new places. Once, I took a sudden trip to the zoo just because I didn’t want to interact with any human being. Other than traveling, I would take workshops to learn new stuffs. Whether it’s drawing or lettering, I would give it a shot. Even when in the end I couldn’t master it, at least I’ve tried it.
the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-01
TPOB20: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Uchiet: Other than my mom, she would be Alicia Keys. I feel like I’ve grown with her since high school. She was just starting her career as I was. As I grew older, her music matured and her lyrics grew deeper. The last time she threw a concert in Jakarta, she already had a child. At that time, I cried in realization that life moves forward. Her messages were always deep. Through her interviews and lyrics, I feel that I truly understand and accept her thoughts and way of life.

TPOB20: What is the perks of being 20 to you?

Uchiet: Having massive energies and loads of time while facing few responsibilites. Once you’ve reached your 30s, you have lesser energy and you don’t push that hard anymore. Once you grow older, responsibilites come.
I just read about social menopause. You know it’s real when disco is painful to you. You start yawning at 11 and you want to start jogging at 6. You really want to join the fun, but you just don’t have the energy anymore.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-02

Ucita Pohan is definitely the most fabulous inspirational person we’ve interviewed so far. This interview reminded me that we always have to start somewhere and enjoy the process. The fabulous Uchiet came a long way since her 20 something struggles. It is definitely a good reminder for us to focus on the goal and enjoy the process as much as possible. Soon, they will come to pass.

the-perks-of-being-twenty-lifestyle-people-human-interest-ucita-pohan-07

Thanks Uchiet! Stay fabulous!

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

 

Why You Need to Put Down Your Smartphone?

“I can live without my smartphone,” said no one ever.

Smartphone has been taking quite a major portion of our attention since forever. It is very common to see people staring to their phone screen everywhere.

As part of the millennials generation (those who were born in the early 1980s to around 2000), I myself have been so used to checking my smartphone in, probably, every two seconds. We are so used to having our phone within our reach that once we realized we lost it or left it somewhere we panic like a big part of our lives had been taken away from us.

I still remember the moment when I left my first smartphone ever, the famous Blackberry Curve 8310, at my office. I was so panicked I immediately went back to my office just a minute after I got home only to take it back.

The things you would do for your smartphone.

We get too attached to our smartphones that sometimes we fell asleep still holding that oh-so-precious thing in our hands. We get so used to this timeline-scrolling and apps-hopping activities we fail to notice how time-consuming they can be.

Sometimes you do it when you are busy chasing the deadlines, meeting a very prospective client, dating your lover, spending time with your best friends, in the car with your parents, and even sometimes when you are driving! You are not aware that sometimes you are THAT WILLING to sacrifice your life, your work and your relationship just to check out those notifications or just to scroll your timeline and read all the newest update that your friends posted!

Again, the things you would do for your smartphone.

The Perks of Being 20 - Lifestyle - Life - Thoughts to Ponder

Let me show you how distractive my smartphone can be when I’m trying to finish my writing. I started my writing process by brainstorming about an engaging opening line, but before that let me reply to the text messages that I got. A few minutes later, I was finally able to write two sentences, but before I continue let me check how many likes I got from my last Instagram post. Oops, scrolling through the explore page on Instagram seems interesting as I might find more cute girls to follow. And then, as I began to start the second paragraph, I picked my phone up again to see how many people have viewed my latest Snap.

We could do things better and faster if only we weren’t too distracted by all different noises that our phones create. They have a tone for your Whatsapp, and then they also have a different tone for your Facebook Message and text message. And every time you hear any of those tones you feel obligated to grab your phone only to check what is it, who was it.

The struggle is REAL. But, as I look deeper to this particular issue, I realized that the struggle is actually very SIMPLE. So, how do we deal with it?

The only thing you can do to change a habit that you had developed for years is  to force yourself to create a new habit.

So what is the new habit that you could develop to overcome this epidemic issue? We’ll get there later. But before that, let me show you why you need to develop a new habit in order to stop this timeline-scrolling slash notification-checking habit (read: addiction):

 
  1. UNPRODUCTIVITY 

I have learned that the more I linger around my smartphone, the longer I spend my time scrolling thru my social media timelines, the more unproductive I get. I should have been able to finish this post in an hour, but because I kept on letting myself got distracted it’s been 2,5 hours and I’m only halfway done.

I take a lot of pride in multi-tasking, in living a busy life, in chasing the deadlines. But then I realized that my life could have been more relaxed and less busy if only I could stop working and checking my phone at the same time, all the time. Because, that is not multi-tasking. That is procrastinating. 

  1. COMPARISON

By consistently scrolling and being “digitally” exist in the social media world, I expose myself to the achievements and highlights of other people. And then it’s just a matter of time until I begin comparing my life with others and start to forget how blessed I actually am.

The moment we fell into comparison is the moment we stop being grateful.

There are 4.2 billion people in the world who still doesn’t have internet. You should consider yourself luckier than those 4.2 billion people if you are able to access this page and read this post. That means, at least, you have a smartphone or a laptop, you have an internet access, and most of you are privileged enough to understand the language – that is not your mother tongue – that I use here.

Take a moment to look around you, the clothes you wear, the parents you have, the friends who care, the house that you live in. Be grateful for that and probably other hundreds of things that you can list down that makes you a lot luckier than most people on this planet.

  1. INSECURITY

This is a byproduct, a consequence of comparison. Insecurity is super dangerous as it’s going to rip you off of your potential. It would block your progress in fulfilling your purpose and achieving your dream. DR & I had been feeling insecure towards each other achievement, and we didn’t notice that it’s a dangerous thing until we talked about it.

As partners and good friends the deceitful insecure thoughts have the potential to damage our trust towards each other. Luckily, we chose to be open to one another we managed to rise above our insecurities. But, that doesn’t really prevent us from feeling insecure towards other people who seems more successful, towards other bloggers who seems to have more followers and likes, towards other writers who seems to master more vocabularies.

A friend of mine told me few days ago about how social media had made him feel insecure about his singleness, while he actually know that it is not his season just yet. It triggered him to focus on getting into a relationship for the wrong reason, which is “social media pressure”.

Now, how do you avoid those three from happening to you?

As a simple start, you can simply put your phone screen-down on the table when you are working, or having a meeting, or hanging out with your friends and family. That way you won’t be able to see the notifications on your screen. Put it on silent mode if necessary. Dedicate a day (or, start with an hour per day) to put down your phone, or to log off from your social media and use it to feed yourselves with something enriching. You can simply set your phone to an airplane mode, so you can still use it to read the bible, listen to a podcast, read some digital books and articles that will help you develop your skill, or exercise!

Last but not least, let’s train our brain to say stop to distraction. This would make you grow as a person. So the moment you find your thumb starting to scroll your screen, train your brain to say, “Stop!” And, exit the app. At least, that’s what I’m trying to do these past few days.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)