Marcella Purnama

Marcella Purnama is a blogger and author of What I Wish I Had Known: And Other Lessons You Learned in Your Twenties. She has just realised that marketing a book is ten times harder than writing one.
454 articles written by Marcella Purnama

I feel like writing. At the same time, I don’t feel like writing.

I feel like reading. But at the same time, I don’t feel like reading.

Have you ever had that feeling? Of wanting to do something desperately, but at the same time rejected the very idea of doing it? Then you’re contemplating whether you should do it, toying around the thought of actually doing it, only to back out to make a cup of tea, to turn on the television, to listen to another song. You procrastinate, although you know very well that you’ll think about doing it as soon as your head hits the pillow tonight.

You’ve never had that feeling? Lucky you. I’ve had this feeling like twenty times in a day.

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I was having coffee with my sister one afternoon when I received an email. The email, actually. It was from an editor at an Indonesian publisher, and she was asking me whether I’d like to write a book about university life and beyond.

It was October 2015. After that, over 100 emails have been sent and received. And now I have a big announcement to tell, as I’ve just received the official cover of the book.

Ready? Here it is.

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Some years ago, I went through my closet and took out clothes that I couldn’t and wouldn’t wear anymore. The ‘couldn’t’ clothes were easy to choose: most of the things that didn’t fit should go. I said most, because I was definitely still keeping that dress that I haven’t worn even once because I’ve gained weight since. One day.

The ‘wouldn’t’ clothes were more complicated. I know there were a lot of skirts that I’ve outgrown, but they were still in perfect condition. And I’ve probably only worn them twice my whole life. Not to mention the t-shirts and baggy jeans that have gone out of style.

After a few hours of deliberating, I’ve finally made my decision. It wasn’t bad—I actually managed to take out two tall piles of clothes, which were going straight to the donation bin.

Then Mom came.

My mother saw me tidying up, so I asked her to go through the pile, just in case. ‘This one’s still good,’ she said, taking out the red tank top out of the pile. Then she noticed the baggy jeans and made a disapproving look. ‘That one’s quite expensive, you know,’ she said, putting it on top of the red tank top. And so on.

In the end, three-quarter of the clothes went back to my closet.

That day, I learned two things. One, is to never show Mom that you’re doing spring cleaning. Two, is that the original hoarder in the family is my own mother.

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Last weekend, my fiancé and I looked at each other in the eye way much more than in the six years of our relationship combined.

I mean, how often do you actually stare into your significant other’s eyes for more than three seconds? Rarely, I’d presume. Perhaps when you say ‘I love you’, or when you’re extremely annoyed of him being late and thus giving him the look. But still, rarely.

Oh yes, we’ve survived our prewedding photo shoot. Two full days of it.

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My fiancé was sitting down beside me, watching the Australian reality TV show My Kitchen Rules. But he was distracted with his phone and scrolled through a lot of unread emails. I was surprised on the sheer amount of it, because he doesn’t seem like the type that would opt for newsletter subscription.

I said, ‘You should unsubscribe. Like, you’re basically deleting everything now.’

He laughed and showed me his phone. ‘Hun, the emails are from Pinterest, telling me you’ve pinned something.’

Whoops.

So let’s talk about Pinterest: the wedding inspiration platform that has successfully brainwashed me into wanting things I don’t need and needing things I don’t even know exist before.

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Coffee in hand, I proceeded to write an email to the wedding band that my fiancé and I just saw yesterday. Yes, we’d like to put a deposit. And can you recommend the singers that would fit these songs?

Then I copied and pasted the song list that we had created, and told the band manager of our first dance song choice.

I hit send.

Okay, one done.

Taking a few more sips of my coffee, I logged in to my bank accounts and transferred money here and there. I looked at the transaction record for the last few days and checked if they were correct. They were. I switched to Facebook and scrolled through some updates. Oh, it’s a friend’s birthday today. I sent a happy birthday message.

Okay, another done.

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Parents with young children, I understand you now. There’s no such thing as enough time.

For the past few months, I feel like I have a kid. The kid is my three-year-old nephew, who has ten times the energy of an almost twenty-five year old. He could climb up and down the stairs, jump around for ten minutes and run around the house without even sitting down. Me?

Well, I’d have stopped chasing him after the second stair-climb.

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Twenty-sixteen is the year where I choose family.

It’s the year where I decided to go back home to Jakarta, away from my fiancé, to spend more time with my parents before saying yes to forever.

To be honest, it’s not easy to choose family, especially when you’re still adulting. There’s still pressure for me to perform, to tick the boxes and to compete with my peers.

On my two decades of living, twenty-sixteen is one of my least productive years. Yes, I finished a minor thesis and yes, I graduated from my Master’s degree. But apart from those perfectly planned achievements, I have no other thing I can tuck under my belt.

Nada.

Well, it’s hard to be in this life’s season.

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Do you know the meme of ‘What my friends think I do’, ‘What my family thinks I do’, ‘What I think I do’, and ‘What I actually do’? It’s usually funny but sarcastically accurate at the same time. Last Saturday, I was invited by …

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