I think I have many thoughts this year on turning 31. Much more than I did when I turned 21 and a lot more than I did when I turned 30 last year. 21 and 30 are the supposed defining moments in a woman’s life. 21 is of course an indication of independence, transitioning from girl to woman and 30 is another milestone, if I may so put it that way. It is the ambivalent transition of woman to woman but not the same woman. You are supposed to feel powerful at 30 – with a career already well in motion, emerged stronger from a few broken relationships and may even have children to run after. If you are cynical like me, 30 also spells a decline.
You understand that all these are generalizations and of course everybody’s life pans out differently but what I’ve listed is what you may have thought of as a child, 13 going 30 and I’m sure those possibilities definitely crossed your mind. I know I have. But fast-forwarding the track, my life has also taken a route less travelled and whether it converges to the point of how I imagined it to be is still unknown.
Of late, I have been a little philosophical and forcing myself to take a step back to observe what I want. It is easy to fall into the lure of a monotonous pattern if you do not make the slightest struggle to get out of it – Eat, Sleep, Work and ? I’ve read an article on New York Times on why it is so hard to make friends over 30. I’ve also surfed some blogs whose authors show dedication in their entries that it is hard not to feel envy at how they did it. I’ve read biographies of some pretty spectacular people who never gave up and finally achieved success through their belief and it is hard to think why I should be any different. I could also be someone I envy but to be that someone, I first need to confront some demon, re-organize myself and re-prioritize.
I am an impulsive person. That translates over to decisions I sometimes make, over to my buying habits (especially my shopaholic addiction) and also my way of life. Do first, think later. Not the smartest of move in any circumstances really but I am just lucky that my impulsion has never turned out disastrous for me. Broke yes, go hungry no. However I hope that all’s that going to start changing. I am not delusional enough to think that I could go on a shopping famine anytime soon but I found myself evaluating my purchases. Many times just within this week, I’ll fervently put things into my shopping carts online but yet when the time comes to click “Pay Now”, I actually faltered and the best part is I didn’t follow through. I started feeling guilty about my overflowing wardrobe. I want to take pride in it and say that everything in it is well-loved and worn but it looks like for a long time, till I manage to streamline it, I won’t be feeling that pride anytime soon.
I am a disorganized person. Much of any form of organization remains only in my head. In the past, I used to revel in “an organized mess”. I thought the term sounded so cool and it made me feel .. interesting even though it now seems like a lazy excuse to remain status quo. But really, I am not that hopeless, it’s just I could just do with a lot more organization.
Point is, on turning 31, I want to be really inspired and to find joy in simplicity. By inspired, I mean to feel a sense of elation in doing things. So the adage goes something like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day” and that is where I want to be. If I pick up ukulele, I want to learn to joyfully go through with the process instead of stressing over it. If I want to wear something out, I do not want to pull and tug and yes, I will iron it before I go out in order to look more “polished”. If I have to face an unavoidable circumstance, I will make the best of it. Here is my bucket list:
a. My airplane wear is not going to be sloppy ever. It can be comfortable but still stylish. I will not live in my sleepwear.
b. I will learn how to not be awkward around total strangers. I will smile and devise a way to make clever, small talk.
c. I will not spend all my money on shopping. *Note the ambiguity. Instead, I will better assess my wardrobe and shop in it.
d. I will get back into the momentum of writing.
e. I will read not just trashy novels but also meaningful things.

Learning to just be myself is a long overdue task.

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