Life Begins at Thirty

I’ve always thought that I would celebrate my 30th birthday with a grand party or something similarly extravagant. But owing to my crazy schedule, I felt it better to just postpone or even altogether cancel it. My birthday always falls on a month-end/quarter-end, and for five long years, was also a fiscal year-end; non-accountants may not be able to relate but I’m sure my accounting friends can totally understand. Plus, I am not really a party person; I always feel better celebrating special occasions with a good book, a good movie and lots of comfort food: ice cream, chocolates and chips.

I have also come to realize, that, hey, age IS nothing but a number. A lot of people see the 30th as a milestone of some sort. While it may be true, I felt that celebrating it kind of pre-empts all the good that I can still do after I turn 30. I am not undermining what I have done for the last 30 years, as a lot of them have been life changing and brought with them lessons which I am proud to have learned (and am still mastering).

Getting Married at 24 and Starting a Family


I had always sensed that I would marry before the age of 30. Not that I actively pursued this end – I was only too happy earning money for myself and spending it any way I wanted (my parents never bothered to ask for a cent and would even return what I would give them). But love (or blindness or stupidity, whatever you want to call it) swooped in on me and the rest was history.

What I am very proud of though, is that Ipe and I managed to pull off our wedding almost entirely by ourselves. In fact, we had reserved and paid for the major suppliers (Church, reception venue, caterer and photo/video) before we even informed our parents (this way, they would be hard-pressed to say no, ha!). Planning it was fun although nerve-wracking at times, with Ipe telling me all my ideas are either so expensive or labour-intensive. I will probably make a separate post on wedding planning because, in case you haven’t noticed, I loooove weddings.

The most challenging and life-changing event in my life was when I had Joey. I love kids. And I think kids love me back but I had no idea how to be a parent. I mean, no one is exactly ready to be one, no matter how hard you practice or study or prepare for it. It’s simply a matter of trial and error and trusting your instincts. Joey’s only four but I think, judging from the way people perceive him, that I am quite successful in raising a bright little kid who I call my little man and my biggest treasure (to which, he would always reply: Mom, treasures are supposed to be buried. I’m not buried like a treasure!).


Being a wife and a mom has been the best learning experience as well – I learned to be considerate of others, from the simple things as hogging the bed and pillows to asking for permission/advice whenever I have to go on a trip or switch jobs (I am used to getting my way; I was born stubborn and had pretty much been independent so learning to ask is a new concept for me). 

Joey at one week old

I used to think the world revolved around me, I would go on shopping and eating binges for myself but now, my world revolves around my family. I still shop a lot, but m shopping habits have now gravitated toward home furnishing and stuff for the hubby and kid.

But perhaps one of the best lessons I learned is how to be a better person. I have a kid now who will look up to me and emulate me, and I would want him to have a good role model and this is one thing I just cannot fail. I can fail in anything and everything but in this aspect. And I guess, I learned to be selfless as well, which is a very trying accomplish, as I am naturally selfish, and have to make a conscious effort not to be.

Career and Personal Pursuits

I’ve been to six companies in the last nine or ten years, three or four, if you count the ones that truly matter (meaning, eliminate those where I stayed less than a year). I am on my 6th employer (third or fourth of the ones that matter) and still currently enjoying it. Honestly, this is perhaps the longest I have gone in years without ranting about my work. I am not yet where I want to be, career-wise – there are still so many things to accomplish and learn but I am hopefully getting there. I know I’ve made a lot of wrong career choices which, looking back, I cannot believe I made because they were so obviously wrong. But what I learned is that you cannot really be good at something you don’t enjoy doing, even if you are initially good at it. Because it’s the passion which will keep you striving to outperform and reinvent yourself. Success IS a choice and I’ve always believed in choosing to excel (there also the circumstances and luck but then, not everything can be attributed to them anyway).

On a more personal level, I have now gone back to writing, albeit inconsistently and rather sloppily, via this blog. I know, I know, it isn’t much. I sometimes cringe when I re-read my posts and see grammatical and spelling lapses which I never committed before (which is why I’ve always preferred the typewriter and/or notebook to the computer à it forces me to re-read and be more thoughtful before writing down my thoughts). I am trying to find the time to explore more writing avenues; I haven’t written a decent essay in years or a poem in a decade. Not that I was particularly exceptional, but still, I miss doing them once in a while. Which is again, why I put up this blog in the first place. Some people put up blogs to earn and gain popularity but for me, my main reason is selfish: to have my own space where I can just type away whatever I want. This blog was not made to please anyone but myself; it’s my online diary after all. If you find it entertaining and helpful, well, that’s well and good.

Someday, I will fulfil my dream of winning literary contests and publishing a bestseller book (not just A book but a bestseller). The former, I have done but only on a small scale; I have yet to test my mettle in a full-pledge writing competition. As for the book? A girl can dream right? And I dream big. J

Finances

Well, guess what? I am not yet rich. Hmm, this one did not go as planned. Where did all my earnings go? Think, think, think – oh right, it went to my wardrobe and books and countless dinner outs and whatchamacolit – I’m having a Carrie Bradshaw moment here, right about when she said she’s going to be literally the woman who lived in a shoe. I would probably be the woman who lived in her closet and shelf.

Seriously, at least my goal of having a house and a car before the age of 30 was met. Now, I am slowly trying to get to financial freedom. Ipe and I had agreed to work our asses off for the next 5-10 years, then we will both pursue what we both love doing à something related to fashion, travel and writing for me (they go hand in hand for me), and being a tour guide for him. I think all of us would want to be free of the constraints of being in an 8-5 job. We all know the corporate world is not as glamorous as it’s portrayed in all those TV series; it’s usually a cat-eat-cat jungle full of cutthroats dressed in fancy clothes.

So, What’s Next?

Typing the subsection title above somehow reminded me of my friend Lei’s valedictory speech back in high school, when we were discussing how it would be cool to inject Winona Ryder’s valedictory speech in the movie Reality Bytes; the one which contained the lines: “What does the future hold for us? The answer is, I don’t know” (well, her speech guide was blown off by the wind so she was stuck with “I don’t know”).

But really, you never know what the future holds. You can only dream, plan for those dreams and execute your plans as best as you can. And maybe, with a little luck and lots of prayers, some of them just might come true. So, cheers to my first thirty years! Hope to see you again in the next thirty (if I live that long).
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