Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Late Birthday Post: Turning 38

I've been contemplating (too long it’s April na) on what to write as a birthday post. As I shared, I turned 38 last March. Honestly, I have so many drafts for a birthday post and, ironically, they ended up unfinished. Somehow, I just can’t find the right amount of inspiration to end it and publish. Plus, life offline is so so busy. 

So here’s another attempt. This time I’m writing 8 things I learned since I became 30, that monumental part of my life where everything just took a 5th gear to where I am now.
I was 30 when I got married and got pregnant to my first born five months later. It was also at that time that, consequently, I moved out of my parents’ house and started my own family. I was around that age too when I got promoted to managerial position. Overwhelming 3-0 really. 

After years of what seem to be a roller coaster ride (I have a love-hate relationship with roller coasters), I’m here now sharing the things I learned. Off course, if given the time, I’d write more but for now, let’s keep it to 8 important truths in life as I see it (in no particular order):
  • Motherhood is no walk in the park. Some of the most hair-pulling, grueling experiences I came across as a mom were never shared in books, on the internet; not even my mom was able to share half of the hardships of parenting. Each parent needs to experience the journey, learn from it and grow with it. There will be a time when trial and error is the only option you have but the end in mind is always what's best for the family. That is our battle cry in this chaos of parenting. It's a fun ride, nevertheless. I love kids so I enjoy the journey. 
  • Marriage is no walk in the park either. From experience and as what I have observed with other married couple, I believe in 3 things to keep the marriage together 1) you have to love and marry the person for who he really is, not who you want him to be, 2) make sure you see yourself growing old with this person. It's important that you develop a strong friendship bond as this will get you through past the romantic and horny stage, past the financial and household crisis. In the movie American Quilt, the question,  'Should you marry your best friend or your lover,?' was something that stuck to mind. I go for the best friend! 3) Most importantly, always put God in the center of your relationship and home and He will guide your hearts to make your marriage fruitful. 
  • Never underestimate kids’ perspective, intuition and intelligence. Everyday my kids amaze me with their question ranging from 'I-can-answer-that-without-batting-an-eyelash' easy to 'OMG-what-to-say' difficult and trick questions like ‘Mommy, why God is a statue? Is he dead? So many eyelash batting before we can think of a clever, kid-friendly and truthful answer. Then they go 'why Mommies know everything?' Endless conversation really, never a dull moment :) My mindset at raising the kids is that I am just a steward of God assigned to take care of Sophie and Sam. And being that, it is my responsibility to raise them well as good and God-fearing individuals but they are never mine, they are God's children. 
  • A mantra that I have embraced since I was young: ‘God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.’- Reinhold Niebuhr. This always helps me to get a grip on life especially when it just gets too frustrating. 
  • ‘Don’t worry, at the end of the day, it will all fall into place’ - something I learned from a mentor. You know what, it always does. So when I'm bound to hit a wall, I just hum these words and sing a prayer song (they say singing a prayer is like praying 3 times over). 
  • Invest is now one of my favorite words. Over the years, I learned that if you invest something - in friendship, love, in career, financial, etc. - there is always a return. Just as you cannot reap a fruit if you don't plant a single seed and nurture it, you cannot expect success if you don't sweat it out. My younger self was the impatient, hungry kind who like it snappy, always moving, no idle time, fast paced, go go go! But as I got older, I learned to wait and be patient - for kids to learn to walk and talk, learned to work hard and climb the ladder to a better and stable career, to invest time on a good friendship. There is always a time for everything and we need to start at something,work on it and be patient with God's sweet time because hard work bears beautiful fruits. On the flip side, I also learned that there are people and things that you just have to let go to declutter life. Those that just brings you down and cause you constant stress, as Elsa said 'Let it go'!
  • This is so me right now. It just comes with age, I guess.LOL. I somehow outgrew my inhibitions, speak words of wisdom which surprises even thyself. I find myself sounding like my mom, if that is a good thing... 
                     

Maybe it is. A former staff who is now abroad sent an online card on my birthday with this message.  

I was overwhelmed by the birthday messages on FB and texts from colleagues, subordinates and friends. They were totally unexpected and heartwarming :)

         At this point too, I don't care much about the norm and decide based on what I think is best for            me and my family whether it be the brand of shampoo or the school for the kids. I'm also trying (yes trying) to live life simply, focusing only on what's essential and those that add value to life. I guess               this is why for the past birthdays, I can't think of any material gift I want for myself. What I cherish now are those immaterial things. 
  • Life is short. Carpe Diem! Live life to the fullest. Don't say 'yes' when you really mean 'no' and vice versa. Don't stress over little things, don't sweat the small stuff. This last part practically sums up all other things I live by for years and years now. Of course, with #7 in mind. 
Have a peaceful and safe long vacation everyone! :)

2 comments:

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Happy birthday !
38? You are not old :)
Happy Easter !

Janaki Garcia said...

Thanks Rajiv, you are too kind :) Yeah, age is just a number anyway :)

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