A couple of years ago, I made it a point to publish a birthday post every year. But life happened and I skipped the last few birthdays. And what do you know? I’m suddenly 31.
I was twenty when I first started this blog, fresh out of college and excited to find out what the real world is all about. I did a good job documenting my early twenties and capturing all my highs and lows. I meticulously recorded all my travels and made a point to do introspective quarterly or yearly reviews of my life.
The past two years, however, remained undocumented, even though I feel like those were my most tumultuous years. I said goodbye to my twenties without a single parting word on this blog.
For the past two years, so much has happened.
I resigned from my agency job in Makati and left the city after nine long years.
Uprooted myself and moved to Singapore where I didn’t have family (and now my friends here are also my family!).
Started working in-house and had the most stressful days of my entire career.
Got stuck in Singapore because of the pandemic.
Turned thirty and said bye to my twenties.
Ended a ten-year relationship.
Had the courage to start again from scratch and to restart my life.
Before writing this, I went back to my post for my 28th birthday, and I was pleasantly surprised to read my wish because it feels perfectly apt for what I’m going through.
When I was younger, it always felt like I was running out of time. I wasn’t much of a planner, but I wanted to get married by the time I was 25 (didn’t happen, obviously and thankfully so) and to achieve a lot in my career early on (in retrospect, it has been pretty good so far despite everything). But now that I am older (and hopefully, a little bit wiser!), I realize that it’s really pointless to set a deadline for anything.
Life often takes the most surprising turns, and our experiences also have a way of changing our views in life. Though some of the things I wanted before I still want now, my priorities and goals have drastically changed over the years.
My 30th year was the most difficult thus far. It may be cliché to say this, but I have really learned so much and I have grown a lot over the past two years.
A lot of things happened that made me think that I have hit rock bottom, and for a while, I had no idea how I would bounce back. Or if I ever would. But time and time again, my awesome support system helped me pick up the pieces. I think I still have some cracks left, but I feel fine!
This week, sort of like a birthday gift to myself, I finally did something I should have done a long time ago. In a way I really had no more reason not to do it. I have finally crossed one of my Jordan Rivers. I guess some things you can only do when you’re ready for it. And as my mentor put it, God prepared my heart of it.
A baggage has been lifted, and finally, I am finally free.
There is still a lot of hurt, of course. I think there always will be.
Incredibly timely, the illustration showed up on my feed and perfectly encapsulated what I want to say. The hurt will always be there, but I will learn and grow from it. Eventually, it will feel so small that it will no longer matter.
One of the good things that happened the past months is how I became more open. I am learning to share my thoughts and feelings with family and friends, when I used to just bottle it all inside.
In a very emotional and very long message I sent to my parents this week (that I will not share here verbatim lol), I told them that I am still young and that I am free. I am only just starting, and a lot more things can happen from here. There are so many people I can still meet, so many things I can still do.
I said it in all honesty and sincerity, and I knew that it was something that I wouldn’t have been able to say a couple of months ago.
Twenty-year-old me would think 31 is already too old, but I genuinely feel great about my age.
I want to try a lot of new things. I am meeting a lot of new friends. I have just started a new job. I have so many things planned for the following months (pandemic and all!).
I am in no rush to accomplish anything or be anyone. I still have my whole life ahead of me. But at the same time, I don’t want to wait until I am further bogged down with more responsibilities and more bills before I do the things I want to do.
Of course, I still feel a little fear of the future, but I am just filled with so much hopes and dreams, big ang small ones. Life is all about seasons, and I believe I am going through the second spring of my life.
Surprisingly, pleasantly, I am happy to be 31. I spent my birthday surrounded with good friends and with the knowledge that I have my dear family and friends praying and wishing the best for me. Unlike how I felt a year ago, my love tank is full.
For this year, my birthday wish is pretty simple. May life pleasantly surprise me in hundred different ways, and may I always have love in my heart, in dozens of different forms.
Like always, dear reader, I wish the same for you.