10 Questions to End the Decade

In 48 hours, a decade will pass. After a decade filled with grief, happiness, and the moment in-between, I am finally ready to enter a new phase of life in this new decade.

In a decade, I’ve cried countless times, but also laugh numerous times.

I’ve fallen in and out of love. I’ve lost people I cared for. I’ve met new acquaintances that turn into a long life friend. I’ve failed and succeed.

But, most importantly, after ruminating and battling my self-hatred and self-loathing despite my confident and arrogant persona, I can loudly say:

I’ve lived the life that I am proud of.

I’ve prepared ten questions to reflect on this decade, to celebrate the life that I’ve proudly live and to promise myself that the past is in the past and just because I did something regrettable in the past, does not mean I can’t start over and become someone better.

1. Three times that I was excited the most

  1. 2010. When I was accepted into Universitas Gadjah Mada after one year full of private courses and surmounting self-doubt due to my lackluster Mathematic skills.
  2. 2015. When I got a job offer from the British Council. It opened up the pathway to my career track now, I’ve found the perfect combination of what I am good at and the value that I believe in life.
  3. 2018. When I was about to start my Master’s degree at Boston University. It seems unbelievable that almost ten years after I first stepped my foot in the United States of America, I finally came back.
My second day in Boston when I decided that I might actually like this city.

2. Three times when I was most happy

  1. 2010–2014. The years I had when I was in Yogyakarta, life was blissful, content, and ridiculously easy.
  2. 2017. When I finally got an LPDP scholarship. My self-worth was plunged into the most bottomless pit when I failed for the first time. I seriously thought I ran out of luck and that it was true I was not as smart as my family, and I thought I am. But it was just not the right time yet.
  3. 2018. For a brief moment, RA and I are together after two years apart. With her, I always feel invincible and ready to take whatever the world throws at me.

3. Three times I was the most stressed

  1. 2014. In January 2014, I had my thesis defense, and I was jabbed from every possible corner that can be jabbed. I stopped writing my thesis for a while after that. But then, my current partner at that time and two of my remaining best friends who haven’t graduated as well suddenly accelerated their thesis process. I wrote my thesis in a month, getting approval a day before it was too late to had the last thesis defense schedule before the August graduation.
  2. 2017. My world fell apart after I failed my first LPDP attempt in December 2016, my dream job turned into hell, I was always anxious, and I felt like I didn’t perform. It brought upon me a wave of self-hatred. I resigned halfway throughout the year.
  3. 2018–2019. My graduate school year was horrendous. I relapsed towards the end of 2018, but I brushed it away because I had to be strong for RA, who was grief-stricken. I lost any will and motivation I used to have when I was about to start graduate school. I failed most of my classes, almost unable to graduate due to my GPA, I had a suicide attempt, and I broke up with the one person that I thought would be mine forever. I had my worst breakdown in a decade.

4. Three times I did something that scared me

1, 2, 3. 2019. Going to the gym alone and going there every day, getting my first tattoo, opened up about my depression to my Mom.

5. Three people that inspired me the most

  1. 2014. Surya Darmadi. My first boss and mentor. He will forever be my standard of what a good ‘mentor’ and ‘manager’ is. From him, I learned about the art of networking even though you’re an introvert. He taught me different project management tools, the importance of a ‘hacker’ mindset by continually looking for a way to ‘hack’ your life and be more productive. He was the one who introduced me to a book that would change my life: How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Charisma Myth.
  2. 2015. Desiree Stephanie. Kak Iree reminded me of Ghibli’s Museum tagline: “let’s become lost children together” for her endless curiosity and the way she sees life. I dreaded a lot of moment I had when worked in the advertising agency. But, I stayed because I wanted to learn from Kak Iree. She becomes my constant reminder to keep cultivating my creativity, never to stop learning, and to see life from children: ask questions, be curious, and even in the most straightforward thing, there’s always something beautiful to discover.

3. 2010. Skolastika Mudita. Though we didn’t become close until two years after we first met, from 2012 until now, Mudita was the constant reminder of life undisturbed by unnecessary voices and great resiliency. She inspired me to be at peace wherever I am and whatever I decided to do in my life.

6. 3 people that contributed most to my life

  1. 2010. Dara Ninggarwati Gumawang. Must say, along with Mudita, one of the best character development of the decade. I perceived Dara and Mudita as somewhat meek, easy to bully, and yet, they are two of the strongest people in my life who are ready to call out on my bullshit. Dara has seen me fall in love three times, fallen out love two times, heartbroken numerous times, cried, had panic attacks, grief-stricken, did so many stupid things, etc. Any major life decision I made, I told her about it, I just had to tell her about it. I valued her opinion as much as I valued mine. Without her constant observation of who I am, I might’ve lost track of what’s good about me. She corrected my wrongs, and brutally honest about my flaws, and only then, I can learn how to correct myself and how to reflect continuously.

2. 2015. Rifda Amalia. She loved me most when I hated myself the most; she loves me still even after the dreadful experiences I’ve put her through. She believed in me when I lost any belief I had about myself. She ignited the flickering fire inside me and reminded me again to live a life with a purpose. She got me into where I am today. Everything that I am now, I owed it to her.

3. 2016. Andini Sekar Putri. An unlikely friendship blossomed out of shared misery. I guess crazy recognizes crazy, and I was lucky she appeared when I need a voice of reason and a constant reminder of sanity. Just like Dara, Andini has always been brutally honest about me. There’s nothing better than a daily dose of brutally honest opinion about me to remind myself just how fucked up I can be — all to always strive to be a better human being.

7. three things I overcame

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Heartbreak

8. three frustrations I want to fix

  1. My inability to let go of my Father’s death. Years of delayed grief and refusal to let go of my Father’s death spilled to every course of my life: my inability to celebrate my achievement, my tendency to associate relationship with loss, my perpetual melancholic state. I have to completely let go my fixation of my Father’s ideal (which I would never know because he passed away) and completely accept that it’s nobody fault that he passed away suddenly and that just because it happened that one time, doesn’t mean everyone that I love and depend on will leave the way he did.
  2. My anger management and moodiness. I have intense emotion and a tendency to make the people I care about feel like they deserve the world, and yet at the same time, whenever I am angry, outraged, I would spew out the most hurtful words because I know which button to push. I thrive in my anger, and I let it consume me. I said things I didn’t mean, but the words are out, and no amount of apology can heal the wound left by my careless words.
  3. My perfectionism. Please.stop.having.too.high.of.a.standard.of.yourself.

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.”
C. JoyBell C.

9. 3 things I learned about love and relationships

  1. Depending on someone and letting yourself be vulnerable does not equate to weakness. No one is out there to hurt you purposefully. A relationship doesn’t equal loss and abandonment.
  2. Stop prioritizing your significant other over yourself for your ego. Communicate what you like and don’t like, don’t be passive-aggressive. Don’t commit to anyone when you’re not ready.
  3. Be mindful of what you say and do. What doesn’t matter, you might matter a lot to your significant other. Not everything revolves around how you feel and think.

“If you’re not comfortable enough with yourself or with your own truth when entering a relationship, then you’re not ready for that relationship.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

10. 3 times I was most proud of myself

  1. Admitting myself to a psychiatric hospital and getting the help that I direly need.
  2. I continue being optimistic and hopeful despite everything that I’ve been through.
  3. I am rising up, over and over and over and over again.

Farewell, the decade of self-hatred and loathing, the decade of prioritizing others only to serve my ego, the decade of life filled with no self-awareness and knowledge about who I am and what I want to do.

This new decade, I am going to love myself so I can love others.

I am going to forgive myself and move forward.

I am going to let the past, be in the past, and fully live in the present with purpose, awareness, and understanding.




Dedicating myself to digital media and tech for social issues. Live fully as a coffee, literature, and arts adventurer. A self-proclaimed geek and a proud queer

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I Gusti Ayu Azarine Kyla Arinta

I Gusti Ayu Azarine Kyla Arinta

Dedicating myself to digital media and tech for social issues. Live fully as a coffee, literature, and arts adventurer. A self-proclaimed geek and a proud queer

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