Do it because it’s fun. Because it brings you joy; because it’s meaningful to you. Do it because it gives you simple tiny pleasures. Do it because it makes you smile, because it fills you with energy and inspiration, because it brings warmth into your heart. Do it because your life feels more exciting when you’re doing it. Do it because you have always wanted to; because you have always dreamed about it, because you enjoy spending your time doing it; because you know deep in your soul that you need to do it—not for others or numbers or algorithms, but for you. For you.

The view from De Klok

I took another digital detox this weekend—I limited myself to a 5-minute screen time on Saturday and Sunday to quickly check my business account. I closed my social media account for the rest of the days. I spent my morning journaling, then perched myself on the couch, reading Natalie Goldberg’s The Great Spring while sipping my coffee and slurping my chocolate avocado mousse. I had a long sound-bathing session and journaled some more; then, in the afternoon, D and I went to De Klok in Spaarndam-West to have some Radlers, chill, and read. I watched people’s boats passing—couples on a picnic and their dogs.

We stopped by Mari Rasa to grab my comfort food: nasi goreng and tahu isi with peanut sauce dip. In the evening, we went to the Altini’s for a pizza dinner and a stroll at Westerpark—and I caressed their ‘guest’ Chartreux: so fluffy, soft, and cuddly. It reminded me of Moortje—the neighbor’s black cat who went missing a week ago. I used to stop and play with her on my way home from Albert-Heijn.

On Sunday, I burned incense: Lotus and Angel Dust—an homage to my roots. I once told my friend I wanted a house that smelled like a yoga shala. It was amazing how the sense of smell can transport you to a different mental state. I had another sound-bathing session under the skylight—the sunshine pouring over me, continued reading Goldberg, dove into my journaling practice, and then returned to The Great Spring. In the afternoon, Dita came over. I told her I had some Indonesian food to share. We discussed life, work, books, creative pursuit, and food upon shared Radler, coffee, and tahu isi. We both love Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and Ferrante’s novels.

Then the thunderstorm came, bringing fierce and frightening lightning that seemed like splitting the sky open. I remember I used to be so afraid of lightning as a little girl. I would wrap myself in a thick blanket and close my eyes and ears so I couldn’t see or hear anything. My parents needed to nudge me to get me out of the blanket when the storm passed because I wouldn’t know otherwise. Under the blanket, I was numbing myself from anything external. It was an isolation, a space capsule, a shell—it felt protective and vulnerable at the same time. I still felt like that little girl hiding under a blanket some days.

I always thought I was not made for the constant social interaction and stimulation social media offered. Lately, I feel sick after scrolling social media for over ten minutes. The choice was to ignore that feeling or respect it. I used to do digital detox most weekends and wanted to do this again. No emails, no checking of DMs. I wanted to start again from Friday evening until Monday morning. To reclaim my mental space and experience the world rather than just looking at it pass by from a little screen.

I started getting my paints, pastels and brushes out. I was still too depleted to paint, but I did some color swatches while listening to Sandi’s landscape note-taking course, doing sketches from Emma’s and Sarah’s Patreon, and accepting that creativity can ebb and flow. Still, we always have a choice to do something nonetheless: to pick up that pen, that brush… ourselves. To build a habit of creating and expressing without having to end up with a finished piece, without any agenda apart from letting things out, without any expectation of an aha moment. It just is.

It had been a tough week.

I learned long ago that you cannot please everybody—but I was so wired to do so. It is in me, and I am still trying to unlearn it. I still have to remind myself repeatedly, every single day, that I only have one life—and I want to live it the way I want to… now, every single day.

D and I watched Kim’s Convenience on Sunday evening to wind down. We laughed. I brushed my teeth and took a long shower before bed. I washed my hair. I sprayed Berdoues above my pillow. I dreamed about returning to high school—at a student council meeting, planning for a school festival. I dreamed about eating together at a long table, blurry conversations.

I woke up to the Parade music from Paprika by Susumu Hirasawa. Cyan told me to watch this Satoshi Kon’s movie a few days ago, and I did. I love it.

It was Monday morning, and I still felt like marching in a dream.

Journal Pages Beradadisini

There’s one thing I re-learned this month:

In our daily interactions, it is essential to remember that what people do or say is often a reflection of themselves – their thoughts, beliefs, fears, and life experiences. For me, reminding myself about this allows me not to take things too personally (at least, not as much as I did in previous years).

It was still a slippery slope.

Sometimes, someone’s words can still hurt me so much that this knowledge doesn’t make me immune to the pain. However, these days, I made a conscious effort to bounce back, to be disciplined with my thoughts by not indulging myself in replaying the hurtful interactions word by word—or to take a pause and breathe, and do something cathartic to stop myself from fueling the fire.

It was funny, right?

The way we could still remember hurtful words someone said to us 10, 20, 30 years ago, and how we carried that within us until today—making us doubt ourselves or beating ourselves up because of that—when the person who said these words might not remember anything about it anymore. These days, I am learning to let go of this burden of thinking that I should be carrying those words. I realize I have the power not to listen, internalize things, or believe that everyone’s comments have the same weight or should be treated with the same attentiveness and care.

I understand that everyone, including myself, is grappling with their shadows and demons. And sometimes, these internal struggles manifest as projections onto others. I am also guilty of these at times, especially when I wasn’t at my best.

When I sit down to write about my fears, worries, and belief systems, as well as the things I love and hold dear to my heart, I can better grasp how they influence how I think, act, speak, and treat others. I also recognize the power of cultivating self-love in shaping our thoughts, actions, and words.

Reminding myself that everyone is dealing with their own shadows and demons (including ourselves), allows me to approach things with more empathy and compassion. I understand that sometimes we project our insecurities onto others without even realizing it, so what people say or do does not reflect our worth or value.

These days, when I hear something someone said that hurts me, I will sit down and ask myself three questions:

  1. If I am filled with love, joy, kindness, fulfillment, and contentment, will these words/interactions still hurt me? Which of my fears, beliefs, values, or insecurities were triggered?
  2. Would I say those things to others if I am filled with love, joy, kindness, fulfillment, and contentment? Is there a way I can reframe/say it again in a kind, compassionate way—or is it better for me to say nothing at all?
  3. Can I take anything from those words/interactions that will support my growth to be the version of myself I have always envisioned?

I read Karen Russel’s short story “Ava Wrestles the Alligator” a few years ago in her short story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

Although the story itself was full of magic and metaphors—an alligator theme park, a ‘ghost’ boyfriend, a Bird Man, a swamp prom, and a gecko crown, there was one sentence that popped up in my mind from time to time even when I wasn’t thinking about this story in particular.

It was a sentence written by Ossie—Ava’s sister—in her letter to Ava: “Sorry, Ava, I have the sound of more words, but I could not remember the shapes of the letters.”

The sentence made me pause. I reread it. Again. Again. And it was just becoming more beautiful each time. It encapsulated so many things I could not explain. It gave me this funny feeling in my stomach, the one you have when you are about to ride a roller coaster. I was mesmerized by that sentence.

I picked up the story again this weekend, and as I read it, I found the little details about that story I had forgotten—until I stumbled upon that sentence once again. It was still beautiful. It still took my breath away. And I know that in years to come, even when the story has faded from my memories—everything blurs with other short stories I have read and loved—I will still remember this one sentence.

Perhaps, this is how we remember people.

We tend to shape our memories of them based on the limited time we spend with them—and our memories of them, over time, will be replaced with one single word, one single interaction, or one single feeling. We may never truly understand that person in their entirety or remember everything this person has said and done—only the ones that somehow resonate with us at a particular moment, something we choose to compartmentalize.

Something we choose to remember.

Beradadisini Love Letter to Self

I took up a personal journaling project this week: writing a love letter to myself before bed. I work on a thin A6-size handmade paper journal I got from a paper artist, Els.

The journal is thin and small enough, so it doesn’t overwhelm me. It feels like I am only going to work on a small project. However, the handmade paper, with its textures and colors, is also beautiful enough to make me feel like I want to do something with it every evening.

The love letter is simple, concise, and short. I thank myself for what I do that day—even as simple as cooking meals for myself or taking the time to rest. I praise myself for the smallest achievement that day (like not being angry when things go wrong or treating someone kindly). On tough days, the letter can be full of words of comfort and assurance. I write all the things I wish to hear. The letter is me telling myself, “I see you. I hear you. I know how hard you try; I understand what you’re going through.”

I think most of the time, we can be too hard on ourselves when we do something we regret or when we make mistakes. We can keep talking ourselves down and replaying the scenes of what we think should not happen repeatedly.

But most of us don’t take enough time and patience to appreciate ourselves when we do something good, don’t mess things up, or make an effort at anything—no matter how small.

Writing a love letter to yourself is about acknowledging ourselves—and appreciating those efforts that we often take for granted, such as getting out of bed in the morning or making it through another challenging day.

To me, this project is a lovely way to use my tiny journal at the end of the day. It is also a calming, creative, and relaxing reminder-to-self that my effort counts—and that I am worthy of love and appreciation from myself.

“Would you like to try working on a tiny journal where you’ll write love letters to yourself from time to time?”


This is what standing up for yourself can look like:

Keep doing the things you love doing the way you enjoy doing them, even when everyone else tells you otherwise. Let your heart sing the tune of its soul; even if you’re the only one finding it beautiful. Do not let anyone or yourself crush your spirit or take away your capability to dream, to love, to wonder. Celebrate yourself.

Standing up for yourself does not have to look aggressive. It does not have to feel like a fight. It’s not always about convincing others or explaining yourself and your decisions with the hope that everyone else understands or accepts your choice.

Standing up for yourself can also look like something ordinary—something small; like a tiny wildflower sprouting through a crack on the highway. It can look like something persistent—some tiny flickers in the dark that just refuse to die. It can also look like those quiet moments when you whisper to yourself,

“It’s okay. Keep going. I got you.”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
a woman stepping away

I think most of us are naturally excited about the idea of anything new. It’s shiny. It’s fresh. It’s a new beginning, a clean slate. We’re in love with opportunities, possibilities, things that have yet to materialize. A dream, a hope, a longing for something in the future. We always prepare ourselves best for our next hello, but I think we’re not so good at preparing ourselves to say goodbye.

Maybe because anything ‘old’ doesn’t seem that inviting, that promising, that exciting. It represents everything that has happened, the known, things that we couldn’t change. But I believe the ‘old’—as are goodbyes, has its own charm. I look at it like a family trinket, an antique shop, a vintage market. There are precious things in there, attracting you and your eyes only—if only you know where to look. Things that can be appreciated only by you and may look utterly useless to anyone else.

So while the world is already abuzz with New Year planning and excitement, here I am: reminiscing the old, another year that has passed.

Before thinking about the ‘next’ year, I usually take the time to think about ‘this’ year. I feel the need to close this year officially, which in an office setting may resemble an annual report. I feel like I need to give proper respect to this year and the old me. Because to know what to do ‘later on’, I need to understand what ‘now’ is like—and what ‘yesterday’ had been. Only then can I feel more capable of making an informed decision for planning my upcoming year.

Here are some journaling prompts I use to reflect on my year and to wrap it up with awareness, mindfulness, appreciation, and gratitude:

What are some of the beautiful memories/moments from this year that I’d like to keep and cherish?

Who are the people that are present in my life, who have helped, supported, and challenged me so I can grow into myself even more?

What are some of the obstacles/difficult situations I have overcome this year?

In which way have I been treating myself more lovingly and respectfully this year?

What are some of the things I’ve learned this year—whether it’s something practical or something philosophical?

Which areas of my life are doing pretty well this year? Which areas aren’t? Why?

Looking back, what are the things I’d like to do less and the things I’d like to do more?

If I could sum up my 2022 in one word, what would it be? What seems to be the central theme of my 2022?

I believe the ‘old’ can give us a lot to think about. What are our patterns? What has failed and why? Are we repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result next time?

I like to think that the future, the past, and the present are connected to one another, and in many ways, they are present simultaneously: in us—and the way we see ourselves, others, and the world, every single day.

wishing you a wonderful goodbye to 2022,


This year, I learned to accept the days when I don’t feel motivated, tired, or a bit grumpy.

I learned to allow myself to sit with this feeling instead of feeling guilty about it and forcing myself to be productive, socialize, or just get things done. I gave myself permission to just rest, take a long nap, stare at the window, or listen to Owl City’s old albums on repeat. I focused on befriending these feelings and being patient with them, like a lover trying to win the hearts of their loved ones. I knew that these feelings would eventually pass if I allowed myself to sit through them, but these feelings would stay longer if I decided to fight them aggressively. I knew that when these feelings passed, I would have that urge to do, to create, to produce… until the urge dissipated. It’s like an ebb and flow. It’s natural.

This year, I learned to better express my feelings and have difficult or uncomfortable but important conversations with the people around me.

I learned to tell people when I feel hurt or disappointed; I learned to say what I want and need instead of being passive-aggressive about it. I learned to ask for what I think I deserve and feel okay with hearing whatever answer I might get. I learned that it’s okay for me to believe that I deserve better, and just because the other party disagrees, that doesn’t mean they are wrong but also doesn’t mean that I deserve less. I learned to let go of the need to help and be available all the time for everyone because this is impossible. I learned that it was okay if I was not the heroine in the story because every character—no matter how minor—has a function to move the story forward. I allowed myself to admit when I do not have the energy, mental space, or resources to help someone and not feel guilty about it.

This year, I learned not to be conditional in my action.

I learned that I can still choose to be kind, to do my best, to contribute, or to trust, even when it seems like others are not putting in the same effort. I learned that I need to give or do something because I want to, because it feels right, not to expect anything in return or to be perceived a certain way. I learned that at the end of the day, it’s not about what others do or don’t do. It’s about what I would do if I love and respect myself—and what I would do if I love and respect others. It’s not only about how I am perceived by others but also (more importantly) about how I perceive myself. Because at the end of the day, that is what really matters. 

What are some of the life lessons you learned in 2022?


Setting boundaries and not letting other people completely drain your willpower, attention, hope, and energy: self-care. Communicating what you need or want clearly, in a calm manner, instead of repressing, denying, or being passive-aggressive about it: self-care. Stop making excuses and start making time to work on your dreams: self-care. Seeking (professional) help when it feels like you can’t keep yourself afloat anymore: self-care. Stop caring about what random people think of you and start caring about how you think about yourself: self-care.

Standing up for yourself when necessary: self-care. Closing or quitting a chapter in your life, career, or relationship that does not align with whom you want to be and how you want to live your life—then preparing yourself for a new journey: self-care. Feeling under the weather, not wanting to do anything, and not feeling guilty about it: self-care.

Moving on: also self-care.
Working on your issues: self-care.
Sorting out your finances: self-care.
Taking care of your health: self-care.
Not taking things too personally: self-care.
Forgiving yourself: self-care.

In the end, self-care is not always about doing the things that make us feel good or give us instant gratification. It’s also about doing the RIGHT thing: something that is good for us in the long run—even if it may feel hard at times.


Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.