Who says I’m 32 years old?! I’m 18 with 14 years of wonderful experience!
It has been 6 days, 5.5 hours and 58 minutes when I bid goodbye to 31. My life has been quite a roller coaster ride. There were lots of ups and downs and it was a choice of either to scream or to enjoy the ride (I’m glad I did both…loosing myself for a while makes me more human). The scenes in my life were inherently cinematic like staying in the airport for two days because I have no place to go to, crying and aimlessly walking while all drenched in the rain because of a terrible fight and break-up and spending nights at the library looking for an antidote to my father’s disease. (These frivolities keep me sane… so let me continue..)
During my journey to 32, I have grown and learned so much. I never had much faith in God, love and miracles as I do right now. I believed I am making the right choices; became my own internal PR department; spun changes in my life in the best way possible. I felt more comfortable in my own skin than I have in a while. I knew how to fall in love without losing myself and how to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship; when to try harder and when to walk away; what I would and wouldn’t do for love or money. My once ‘shoulds’ have been “musts”. The things that came along with being older have been a pleasant surprise for me. Some of which I have always looked forward to like traveling, spending lazy weekends with my family and surprisingly, working.
Today, I am giving my turning 32 a thought and a reflection. I wanted to relive the highlights of my journey, the highs and lows as well as the turning of points of my life. Allow me to share with you my significant memories that contributed to who am I today. These are my bragging rights.
1. SURVIVED POST GRADUATE DEGREE LIFE– My dad once told me to invest in education because it will determine my future. I never gave a serious thought on it until one day I found myself taking an entrance examination and being interviewed by a panel of University directors and professors. Juggling work and studies at the same time was daunting. I spent years of sleepless nights doing research work and reading. My social hours were well spent at the library and coffee-shops where I wrote my term papers and probed on circumstance that nobody else has thought. I do not want to be a hypocrite; I have a love and hate relationship with my post graduate degree life. There were times that I regretted pursuing it and there were lots of moment where it seemed like I can’t live without it. In almost five and a half years, I was able to finished my course work, defended my thesis on organ donation and finally received my degree. After careful evaluation, education didn’t determine my future. It redefined me and molded me to be a better person.
2. SURVIVED LIVING ALONE – I worked and lived in a foreign land five years ago with me, myself and I. Getting a visa, being away from your family and friends a thousand miles, visiting other continent and learning about their culture… basically being on your own was a profound experience but was never easy. Living alone is like a nightmare… you feel the indifference and all the paranoia that comes with it. But the good thing about it; I learned to trust myself, to be confident on my decisions and most of all to have a childlike faith that everything will go smoothly. And it surely did.
3. SURVIVED THE LOST OF A LOVED ONE– My father died at 4:30 in the morning, 26th of November 2006. It was the most difficult time in my life, but it also helped me realized a lot about myself. I hated my dad for the longest time simply because he was so strict in pushing me to thrive. Whenever I received awards or accolades, he would always say ‘Good, you could do better than that’. Then for some reason, I pulled myself away from him because I didn’t meet his “i-thought-so-called-expectations”. But little did I realize that it was his special way of loving, motivating and disciplining the ‘stubborn mule’ in me. The night before he passed away, I silently walked up to his bedside and found his scribble pad. It contained an almost unrecognizable handwriting and musings of his life. Written on the last page, in neat cursive handwriting, was:
“…I thanked God for my life. It was everything I could ask for. I have a beautiful and loving wife and three smart and lovely children. They are my greatest treasure and pride. I love watching my kids as they are all grown-ups now… pursuing their passions in life. If God will permit me to the next chapter of my life, I would be thankful and honored because I wanted to see my children happy and successful in their chosen field of endeavor. I also wanted to be on the side of the woman I loved and cherished all these years. I loved them all…”
Reading it was one of those special moments with my father (though he wasn’t fully awake). I believed that God has orchestrated that moment so I would not be afraid of letting him go. Later that morning, my father passed peacefully surrounded by loved ones. Though, his passing away was painful, I realized that I was stronger by letting him go and was a lot like my father. There were traces of him everywhere: In the way I think and perceive things, the way I don’t show my true feelings, in the way I subtly helped others, even in the way I smile. He will forever be a part of me. His love and guidance made me stronger and helped me to see the bright side of life.
4. SURVIVED BEING SINGLE– In an era of couple-driven society, I am always bound to come across people who wonder why I am single. A lot of them actually imply that something is terribly “wrong” with me. Every day I brace myself to these kinds of speculations and accusations. Nowadays, being in a relationship is like a validity of your self-worth and being a woman. In my point of view, I enjoyed being single. Not that I don’t want to be in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong. I just don’t want to rush things. I wanted to pause and wait. Why rush if you don’t have to? Why not take time and enjoy the journey? Falling in love is easy but partnership; a deep and meaningful relationship takes work. Finding partnership means learning to wait. It is as simple as crossing streets. You don’t have to hurry up when you see the red light flashing. Instead you stop, look around, breathe, think and wait until the color changes from yellow to green. I have dated a couple of men and one thing that I have learned is to stay true to what you really want, pray and wait for God’s leading. I am proud to be single because in my heart the best is yet to come.
5. SURVIVED UGLY DUCKLING YEARS–I grew up as an ugly duckling. I was the only one with an awkward unshapely legs, big nose and protuberant lips. I was often picked on by my classmates for being different. Perhaps because of my strong features, I was unlikeable. Every too often, I compare myself to others and listen to criticisms. It is like looking at my image in one of those distorted watery reflection of window pane we used to see when rain starts pouring in.
At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, “Peep, peep.” It was very large and ugly … “Let him alone,” said the mother; “he is not doing any harm.”
“Yes, but he is so big and ugly,” said the spiteful duck “and therefore he must be turned out.”
“The others are very pretty children,” said the old duck, with the rag on her leg, “all but that one; I wish his mother could improve him a little.” …
And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all the poultry.-excerpt from Hans Christian Andersen ‘Ugly Duckling’
My younger years have been spent dreaming. Now I lived that dream, I recognized my potentials, talent and special gifts as well as my unique beauty. All these years, I kept on squeezing into the world’s mold and forcing myself to be a duckling instead of a swan. Now, I believed I am a swan and embraced my uniqueness.
But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan.
To be born in a duck’s nest in a farmyard is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg. -excerpt from Hans Christian Andersen ‘Ugly Duckling’
Every event that has taken place in this universe has led me to this moment. Every star exploded, every planet colliding, every molecule combining, every quantum occurrence, every life that arises, every adaptation, every evolution of every species, every birth, every death, every thought, every realization, and every action taken by anyone who has ever lived. The real question is,
What will I do with this moment…
I see my life as a glass half full. I can’t wait to see the next 30 years (and beyond) of my existence. I will thrive, conquer my fears and live life to the fullest. Beaming with pride, I am 18 years old with 14 years of experience!
Enjoy life’s Journey!!!
- 31 Things I have learnt turning 31! (jojobayvel.com)
- To The Teacher Who Inspired Me (crosstiesolutionsltd.wordpress.com)
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (myblogshk.wordpress.com)
- Bragging Rights (findingmysunflowers.wordpress.com)
- The Fast and Furious Bride: Take Care of Yourself (lucerevents.wordpress.com)
- The Ugly Duckling (ai03snsd.wordpress.com)
- The Sunday Post: Let’s get Ugly (frontporchesandcandlelight.wordpress.com)
- The Ugly Duckling. (maryadajohari.wordpress.com)
- Ugly Duckling (danniwillis.wordpress.com)