It is exactly thirty minutes until midnight; thirty minutes until I am officially no longer in my “late twenties”, as a friend had very cordially reminded me this morning. I think it should bug me a bit more, how excited I am still about birthdays. I mean birthday blues, what birthday blues? Not for me, thank you. Bring out the cake, get the candles, sing the happy birthday for me! Let’s have good food, loads of them. And let’s laugh. Oh please let’s laugh till I can’t anymore because my belly hurts so bad.
My last day in my twenties started quite ordinarily. Groggily. Sleep-deprived because Miss Munchkin refused to sleep until very late at night yesterday and yet woke up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed the moment light flooded the room. The husband and I had our morning coffee and after he left for work I made my usual morning call to my mother. Yes. Almost 30 and I still talk to my mother every single day. I was whining to my Dad about how I was getting old, and he got all philosophical and repeated what he always keeps saying: Grow old with me, the best is yet to be. “You’re not getting old,” he said, “You’re gaining experience. You’ve learned so much from life, and you have so much to learn still!” Made me feel so much better, his words did.
In the beginning of this year, I made a bucket list of things I wanted to get done before I completed 30. Losing weight was obviously one of them that I failed to check. Learning a new dance form, or a new language was on the list too, but I started learning Tagalog two years ago so I cut myself some slack. The biggest, most important one on the list was to finally start writing a book, and well, I have checked that.
I AM WRITING A BOOK!
Yes, I meant to shout it out.
When I started writing, I kept the book under wraps. There were only five people, including my family who knew about it. I didn’t want to let anyone know because I was scared of rejection. I didn’t want to announce to the whole world that I was writing a book only to have to let them know that nobody was willing to publish my book. But I have decided now that I am okay with that too. I mean, I am three-quarters done, and I can see the end, despite the move and my drastic change in routine and still trying to settle in. Just getting the first draft done would be a major achievement for me, because writing requires discipline, and centering my world around a toddler’s whims and fancies and erratic schedules doesn’t leave much room for discipline and routine. I am currently working two shifts: my day job as stay-at-home-Mom which ends in her bedtime, and the night-shift job as a writer that starts after that and stretches on until my eyes start screeching from lack of sleep or when the words run dry, although the latter has more authority over my routine than the former. I am sleep deprived, constantly doubting if the book will ever amount to anything, occasionally contemplating scratching it all and starting afresh, but I have never been this happy.
Coming back to the last day of my twenties, when the husband came back home from work, he came bearing goodies. Impatient that I am (sometimes just slightly more than him) I wanted to open my gift right away. And when I saw what was inside I bawled like a baby.
Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. My childhood efficiently gift-wrapped for me.
You see growing up, even though we had access to books, we never really owned many books. So we borrowed, and people generously lent us access to their libraries. I particularly remember one of my sister’s friends, who had this gorgeous home, and more importantly, a massive library, filled to the brim with classics. I remember telling myself someday I would own a library like that too. My life’s biggest goal at that point was to own the entire Famous Five series.
Decades later, on the verge of leaving my twenties behind, my husband made that dream come true. He apologized for not being able to get me the entire series, but promised he will complete it whenever he got the chance. I didn’t even mind to be honest. All I was thinking was how I finally had the library I’d wanted (seriously though, I bought more books than dresses during our stay in Dubai and I regret nothing), bookshelves with books fighting for space in them, and a curious toddler who loves nothing more than books. I can’t wait for the day Miss Munchin gets sucked in the world of impromptu picnics and mysteries and adventures.
We celebrated my pre-birthday hours before midnight because hey, sleep is more important specially with a toddler around, and we cut a rainbow cake and I swear I felt like the happiest woman on earth. That last year has been crazy, and immensely draining on me, and I am simply grateful that I am today where I am. It is such a good feeling I think I’m gonna hold on to that for some time. A long time, if I can help it.
I have been shamelessly indulging on a lot of things and justifying impulse buys because it is my birthday month. I have been buying chocolates and cookies just because I have deprived myself for a long time, and managed to add yet another perfume (an Anna Sui that’s oh so different) to my collection. Books and perfumes. One an absolute necessity and the other an absolute luxury. But then again, what is life if you can’t celebrate contradictions right?
To the thirties, then. I will be well-read, well-rounded (har di har har) and definitely smelling good. Bring it on!