Monkton Mondays!

This is my 300th post!! Rather chuffed I am, in a silly sort of way 😛 Didn’t think I’d last this long…not known for my sticking to any one thing for a significant length of time…just ask Mom or Hubby or…well Me 😉 I’m a restless soul – and in lieu of any other explanation – I must concede that I was born this way. I’m like the proverbial rolling stone, rolling this way and that, gathering bits of moss – some stick, some fall away, all leave a mark – invisible or otherwise. It isn’t entirely a bad way to be, to live…although there are moments when I crave the illusion of security that chaperones the more steady existence. Very brief moments 😉

For the most part though…I’m content with being who I am and Happy – in the way a ride on the roller coaster makes me happy 😛 It might not be everyone’s cup of coffee (I am not a tea person) – but it suits me just fine 🙂 I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all my readers without whom…on many days…there would have been no reason to lay pen on paper or I suppose finger on key! Many are the times when I have despaired of ever writing another word, and a nudge from a friend has rekindled the flame. You know who you are – THANK YOU! And I Love You all for your kind words of encouragement and support. Can’t do it without you, so please keep the emoticon-0152-heart coming People 🙂 There…that’s my little ‘speechy’ moment all done and dusted 😉

And in return for all the Love you have shown me here’s a little something from Mr. Monkton that I hope you will find useful!

the-cloud-of-loveliness-edward-monkton-6006125-0-1342798896000

Because…we could ALL do a little bit of Loveliness in our Lives n’est pas?

Happy Monday Mes Amis 😀

P. S. If this post seems rambly blame it on Sherlock! Uh huh! Watching Benedict Cumberbatch while trying to write will do that to you 😛 Not that I’m complaining 😉

January Lessons

See? You blink and the month’s gone! And this one has been, well, a ‘monster’ month in terms of events for me and mine.

It started out happily enough but things got pretty insane towards the end – two deaths in my family, one gruesome – a life cut short tragically; the other – from natural causes after a life well lived but still sudden and unexpected. Both these events taught me stuff – about myself, about my family and about life. Where do I begin?

Perhaps the most important lesson is “DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. NOT PEOPLE. NOT LIFE.” It’s not new this one, but Life has a way of reinforcing it, as if to make sure you never forget. I try hard to live in the present and to respect myself and the people around me, and I’m getting better at not taking things for granted – it gets easier with time. Still, getting over a punch in the solar plexus is NOT easy and I wish there was an easier way to learn some lessons. This was way too hard and I’m not done getting over it yet.

A corollary to that first Mega lesson is the knowledge that ‘I WILL SURVIVE.’ And as an extension the lesson learnt being, ‘THE HUMAN SPIRIT IS MEANT TO SURVIVE.’ It is. Truly. We survive unmentionable horrors (a brief glance through World history & our own, should be convincing enough), and I don’t mean we just get through them. I mean we get through and over them and go on to lead fulfilling lives again. Maybe not the same ones as before; but changed yet equally if not more meaningful and cherished. Yes, I have had my faith affirmed in the fact that our basic instinct and function is Survival. All this is not to say that it’s easy. Au contraire, climbing Mount Everest is easier, in a manner of speaking, but with the support of a loving family the odds are very much in our favour. I’ve always found the internal self-conflicts to be most challenging. It’s very hard to make changes when no one’s watching, when the only person affected is you. Isn’t it strange how we can change so easily for others but find it so hard to do for ourselves? Perhaps it’s generations of societal conditioning at work.

Another important lesson, ‘NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP.’ I don’t. Often I rely on my friends more than my family – especially for non-judgmental, unbiased advice. I have been blessed in my friendships! I have a strong support group of the most amazing women, who love and comfort and nurture me when I’m hurting and without whom my life would be considerably diminished. I christen it as of now – My Circle of Love’! Thank you Girls. I love you ALL. You know who you are 🙂

How about this for a lesson? ‘LISTEN. OBSERVE. COMMUNICATE.’ Losing a family member viciously the way we did taught me that I need to be more attentive to my family – to their feelings and their thoughts. I need to be actively engaged with them and ‘Listen’ when they speak, so I can hear the sadness that’s hidden by rage and the despair lurking behind the scorn. I need to be alert for signs of stress and be willing to help without being judgmental. And if and when the time arises, I must be unafraid to step on toes and push through boundaries to get them the help they need, especially when they don’t want it. None of this is easy but it has to be done if incidents like the one we’ve just suffered are to be avoided in the future. And they HAVE to be. The alternative is unacceptable.

As I write I see that none of these are lessons I haven’t been taught before. None of them are new, but all of them are crucial. Perhaps the most important of all is ‘FAITH.’ And I don’t mean the religious kind either, although if that’s your rock then so be it. I mean Faith in a broader sense – a belief that things will get better, that a crisis will resolve, that tomorrow will be a better day. Faith in the self, and in the goodness of others. It’s not easy to do when the world around you is crumbling and nothing makes sense, but then again, nothing worth fighting for is ever easy huh? Unfair? You bet! And yet to live without Faith and Hope, is the bleakest sort of life, a sorry excuse for living.

So, as this rather tumultuous beginning to the year draws to a close, here is to Better Days. Happy Days. Peaceful Days – for you and for me 🙂 Coz Lord knows we’ve earned them!

And here is one of my favourite poems…it never fails to revive my flagging spirit & seems utterly appropriate in the light of all that has come to pass 🙂

Invictus

Cheers to February! May it be Joyful!

21 Today!

Yup! That’s how long we’ve been married – Hubby & I!! Some days it seems like yesterday and others it seems like 50 years ago…you know what I mean 😉 I’m not one for stock taking – I like to move onward and forward and not dwell on the past, but Birthdays, Anniversaries and New Years offer us, indeed compel us to do both! So here goes…

929611~Live-with-Intention-Mary-Anne-Radmacher-Posters2012 has been a year of transition. Yes, another one! They seem to crop up with annoying regularity 😛 A move from small-town Goa to Big, Bad, Bombay (yet again!),  is challenging at the best of times, but add a 4-yr-old into the mix and things get…well…interesting is one polite way of putting it 😉 The last time we made a similar move was in 1995, when I was way younger and much more naive (this in retrospect ;)), and the only baggage we had fit neatly into boxes 😛 Things are a lot different now, yet the ride has been fairly smooth all things considered! Ishaan has settled into his new school, I have settled into being mistress of my own home after staying in Mom’s house for 2 years and we’ve travelled to new places and old, which fact has helped me keep my sanity through the roller-coaster ride that was and still is 😉 Gir & Diu were two new places we discovered and loved, visited Goa several times and made the annual family trip to Mahabaleshwar, all of which have brought much excitement, adventure and joy 🙂

As for Anniversaries…I’ve been married to the Man I love for 21 years now and have known him for 24!! If that’s not a Lifetime…well I don’t know what is 😛  He’s not the exact same man I knew all those years ago, nor am I the starry eyed girl I was then…so many things have changed. We are parents now and that has been and continues to be the most challenging and exciting thing we’ve ever done!! A life changer if ever there were one! The shaping of another human being is a privilege, a responsibility and a joy…scary but fulfilling, tough beyond measure and yet rewarding beyond imagination…it’s such a paradox but if you’re a parent you know exactly what I’m saying! Ishaan brings brought us untold joy and worry in equal parts and I wouldn’t change a moment of it!! Well perhaps some 😉

We’re older yes and in some things wiser…for one thing, our relationship is now beyond pretense. There’s no need to act one way when you’re feeling another, no egos (well, there are egos, just that no one cares particularly ;)), no reason to hide things that annoy you (and we all know how those multiply over the years :P), and no cause to be insecure about the little things (and most big things too!) 😀 It’s rather liberating. There’s a healthy (at times grudging) respect for each other that tempers most fights (of which I am happy to report there are still many :P), and allows for space – the one thing in my opinion that most marriages would die without. We are both at heart individuals who value our freedom and this ‘two become one’ notion, romantic as it used to seem is now a thing of the past. Now it’s more like ‘two become a team – united yet unique’…yes…I like that!

So yes, we’ve evolved and matured into what I like to think of as a great team (if Hubby thinks differently…well…he’ll just have to blog about it now, won’t he? :P), and there’s no one else I can imagine spending the rest of my life with 🙂 And yet many things stay unchanged…the way his smile makes my heart melt, the way I depend on him to explain all our finances and he relies on me for everything else ;), the little things that he still does that make me feel special in a crowd 🙂 His silliness, shared secrets and jokes, and the way his eyes look for me when I enter a room…Yes! I’ve got myself a good man, the BEST man for me! He gets me and in a very clichéd way, we do sort of complete each other, or maybe we are just two complete people that like being together…yup…I like the sound of that better 😀

So here’s to the 21 years that were and to all those that are yet to be! May they be as fulfilling, as rewarding and as joyous as those that were! And to the Man who made it so…what can I say…he knows my heart and I love him with every inch of it!

Happy Anniversary!! Love you G! Always and forever!!

And to everyone else, especially my readers who have tolerated my long absences and forgiven my irregular posts, I’m  striving to make 2013 different! Hopefully, I’ll see success 😉

Meanwhile…It’s another New Year!!!!!!!!!! Here’s a quote to send you on your Merry way, “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!”  ~Joey Adams

HAPPY 2013, People 🙂

The ‘Extra’ Day

It’s here and I would have missed it, which sheds some light on my sieve-like memory, as if more were needed! What am I talking about? The 29th of February of course, that ‘extra’ day that comes around every four years, because Time behaves the way it does or maybe because our human understanding of Time’s behaviour is the way it is…which is to say limited and vague. How I wish the ‘Doctor’ were here with his tortuous explanations! Don’t ask me for scientific details, I don’t know and can’t say I’m particularly interested, preferring instead to wake up pleasantly surprised or sour-faced (depending on what Life has on offer at the moment), for an extra day, pretending it’s some sort of miracle!

What would I do with an extra day? Plenty, if I weren’t half as lazy as I am 😛 Isn’t that what we’re constantly clamouring for – more Time? Time to do all the things that live eternally on our to-do lists, time to relax and do nothing, time to breathe deeply and do something important, time to laze, time to sleep, to eat, to dance, to pick up the kids, to have one more cuppa, to pretend that time is indeed eternal, time to make more time! And yet when it comes around I find myself singularly unprepared to take any sort of advantage (Can you tell, Wolf Hall is having its peculiar effect on me?!). As it is, it’s a day like any other, and will I’m sure be whiled away like any other, to be regretted only when it’s too late to matter and all that remains is to wait another 4 years.

I’ve always wondered what people with ‘Leap’ birthdays and anniversaries must feel or do, if indeed anything. As I see it, they could save money by celebrating just once in four years, although that would mean forfeiting gifts too! I don’t know anybody born or married on the 29th…actually I might…but I’ve forgotten! What would you do? I can’t make up my mind where I would have celebrated my ‘uniqueness’ or pined for ‘ordinariness’…both have their merits! There’s nothing special about the day as it is, except that I woke up to a heavy mist through which the shrouded sun aped the moon and somehow promised magic! Or maybe that’s just my imagination running wild as usual 😛 Is it better to believe in Magic and be disappointed, or not believe and save yourself from despair? The eternal question! Is it better to have an ‘extra’ day and not do anything significant with it or not have it at all? Would it really make a difference if we decided that Time had changed behaviour and there was no 29th Feb any more? Would we miss it? What do you think? Wouldn’t it be fun, if instead of obeying rules, the Earth just went spinning off into the Universe on a journey for a new Sun?! Lord knows we will need one in a few billion years from now!

But enough with the philosophy (blame it on Wolf Hall and Cromwell :P)! I’m going to have my own ‘Leap’ year of sorts. I’ll be leaping from Goa to Bombay soon. Why that reminds me of, “From the frying pan into the fire…” I’m sure I cannot say! But it’s not only the physical ‘jump’ that worries me, it’s the fact that I’ll have control of my own household again after 2 years of being a guest of sorts in my parents home and all that that entails – deciding menus, cleaning, cooking, supervising servants (God Help Me!), supervising Ishaan (I can feel God shudder ;-)), adjusting to small spaces, rented furniture, the new school, missing my friends, missing the garden, missing the fresh air, missing misty sunrises…missing…Oh I know it’s a choice we’ve made and it was a conscious one. Doesn’t make it any easier or pleasant! I know two years down the line, all going well, I’ll have a different story to tell, but for now, the uncertainty is killing. Also, it’s a leap year so who’s to say what Time will do or won’t?! Sometimes things left undone and words left unsaid come back to haunt. So here’s to (as my friend M so wisely put it), ‘Looking before Leaping’, but fingers & toes crossed for a safe landing 😉 Sounds like a plan? Well it’s the best one I have!

Happy Leap Day People!

Here’s to success in your ‘Leaps’ 🙂

20!

On New Year’s Day, Hubby and I completed 2 decades of marriage! Yup…we’re that ancient 😉 Dinosaurs practically 😛 And yet, when I look back, I can’t imagine it’s been that long! I realized that I’ve known him for 23 years, the same amount of time I knew my parents for before we got hitched! It just seems incredible, wonderful and weird all at once, if you get my meaning! My single days are so far behind me, they seem like a mirage…and now with Ishaan in the mix, they might almost be a distant dream 🙂 A pleasant dream, but distant nonetheless 😉

It’s been one hell of a ride! We met in Medical School and courted for three years before we married. We had, or rather I had a 4-day long, Big Fat Indian Wedding 🙂 Even if I do say so myself, it was quite an event in those days 🙂 One of the first Goan weddings that lasted for more than a few hours on a hot, stuffy afternoon 😛 A lot of people have since come up to me and my parents and shared how much they enjoyed it and remember the food and festivities to this day! It was a chaotic happy time, with the house overflowing with family and friends. A time of eating, drinking, songs and parties 🙂 It was a double celebration since my parents completed 25 years that same year, a couple of days after the wedding! I had ‘henna’ on my hands for the first time in my life and actually suffered a reaction to its fragrance! Or maybe it was just nerves 🙂 Go figure 😉 I remember spending the night before the wedding curled up next to my brother (he was 12), and other girlfriends, and him whispering in my ear, suddenly sober, “This is the last night you’re going to be sleeping at home.” And me staring into the dark, tightening my arms around him, not knowing what to say as the reality of separation began to sink in. It wasn’t like we were going to leave Goa. We would be just a 15-minute drive away, but in so many ways…worlds apart.

The first few years were ‘turbulent’ at best and that’s all I’m going to say about that 😉 We both had a lot of learning to do. Stuff you don’t get to know unless you live with each other and sometimes not even then. We were both young, temperamental and stubborn and neither of us would shy away from a good old-fashioned fight! We had points to prove and no-one was going to stop us! Over the years, we completed our doctoral studies and eventually moved to Bombay when Hubby took a job with P & G. It was the beginning of a new chapter. We had more money now (gone were those penny-pinching student days ;-)), and nicer houses to live in and for the first time in our lives we were able to indulge our shared passion of traveling! This was crucial to the ‘health of our marriage’, coz it is one of our very very few shared passions 🙂 I wonder sometimes that we were attracted to each other at all…we have practically NOTHING in common! Ask Hubby if you don’t believe me, he’ll be the first one to agree 😛

I like to think we’ve mellowed over the years 🙂 Well certainly some days more than others 😉 We still fight (I see nothing wrong with the occasional good old-fashioned clearing of air & minds!), but they’re nothing as serious as they used to once be and less than half as hurtful. We agree on many more things now and have grown closer through major life experiences, like every other marriage. Moving houses, deaths of people we’ve loved, changing jobs, Ishaan and becoming parents…we’ve been through it all and together we’ve survived. I don’t say this very often and hardly ever in public (it’s just not who I am), but Hubby is the Rock that my Life is built on. Oh I know, we shouldn’t be dependent on another person for our happiness and I’m not the sentimental sort…but hey, if the cap fits! That’s not to say that I’ve ceased to be an independent, intelligent woman, entirely capable of taking care of myself, rather that I enjoy being taken care of by the Man I love and who loves me more, especially on those days that I find it hard to love myself 🙂

I’ve been supremely lucky! (I have a way of being. Trust me, it’s a Saggitarian thing ;-)) I found the Man I love twenty years ago, and he loved me back! And twenty years of Life later, we still feel the same way 🙂 It’s taken blood and sweat and tears but it’s been worth it. I look back and wonder what I would change and honestly…I can’t say that I would change much at all, coz we wouldn’t be who we are today without having been through what we did. And I like who we are today 🙂 Very much 🙂

As I look ahead, I wonder what the next decades will bring. More challenges I have no doubt, some pain (unavoidable) and much happiness (hopefully). Bring it On I say! Together, We’ll Find our Way 🙂

Here’s our song 🙂 Way back from when we could still have rambling, relaxed telephone conversations about…you guessed it…Nothing!! 😉 Hubby’s favorite 😛

Boy! That takes me back! Onwards to 25!!

A Tree Story

We just lost another prized ‘Breadfruit‘ to garden thieves!! This is the second time in as many months & I’m so pissed off right now…I advise you to maintain a safe distance from your screens, lest the rage finds a way to travel across space & time and strangle you 😛

But seriously, thievery of any kind just gets my blood boiling. It violates personal space and leaves a stoic bitterness. It’s scary too – to know someone has been where they shouldn’t have, where they had no right to be. Intrusion is never a good thing. It’s worse when I know there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not like I have a hope catching whoever did it, and the only thing I can do, is ask the boy who waters our garden, whether he has any ideas. I suspect him, but I can’t accuse without proof can I? The feelings of helplessness do nothing to soothe the rage. Also of course, I happen to love breadfruit and so it’s personal on so many levels! Perhaps you think this is a lot of fuss over a few fruit…maybe you’re right. But I think not. It’s just one of so many things that seem determined to turn Life into an obstacle course right now. Also for reasons, I can’t really explain, I love our Tree 🙂 It’s like Family. You love them out of habit 😉

The Tree has a long, beloved history. In its first avatar, it came to us 31 years ago (It’s as old as this house is!), from my Dad’s native village, as a young sapling in a plastic bag. It was duly planted and revered and in 4-5 years, started giving us sweetly, spongy breadfruit, which we fried and cooked into vegetable curries. With time, our Tree became the beloved of many! Certainly, our entire family swore by the sweetness and flavor of the fruit, that we carried to them on our regular visits to Bombay, particularly during the ‘Elephant God’ Festival, which is peak season. Our now flourishing tree, was famous, for the quality and size of its fruit 🙂 Now, to be honest, as a kid, I had as much love for vegetables as the next kid…that is to say None! Things have changed now of course, and my love for the veggies has grown in proportion to my nausea of fish 😛 In those days, I never understood all the fuss about ‘some stupid vegetable’, which was large, round, heavy and a nightmare to carry in checked in baggage cause it looked like a giant green grenade on the security monitor! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to unpack for the security guys so they could make sure I wasn’t some terrorist on my way to plant a bomb somewhere. Honestly! Did the fact, that on seeing the fruit, they generally then burst into appreciative Oohs & Aahs help – uh, NO! But that was then.

The Fruit that was stolen!

About 10 years ago, the Tree grew so large, that it bent under it’s own weight. One side was leaning right into the first floor balconies of the Hospital next door! Something had to be done in order to avoid a neighbourhood feud, and so the branches were trimmed extensively, while we figured out what to do next. I remember it being a huge deal. There was talk about how the Tree would have to be killed or would die if it was uprooted and planted anew, I don’t remember exactly which. I do remember Mom being upset and in depth discussions on what was to be done next. The thought of losing the Tree was unbearable to Mom and indeed to the rest of the family. It had served us so long, so well and was practically one of the family! As is so often the case, Nature provides her own solutions 🙂 Great ones too…better than any we can think up ourselves, most of the time! Unbeknownst to us, Mother Tree had birthed a young sapling, which we discovered next to one of our Coconut Palms! She was obviously looking after her own future & just in time too! We planted the new sapling, where it still stands today, its large geometric leafy canopy making pretty shadows beneath. I love it. I cannot explain why exactly – I just do! It’s like a member of our family really and in its turn, continues to pamper us with high quality, sweet, spongy fruit that still travels to family in Bombay, much to their delight. Only these days, it does so in the boot of our car! Yeah – I’ve had enough of being mistaken for a terrorist! Not a particularly healthy way to live 😉

Our Tree

So you see, when some, a%^&*&#, loser, creeps in to the our garden and picks off a succulent breadfruit that was hanging alluringly at hand-plucking distance, I take it very personally indeed! Thankfully there are more fruit, way up among the higher branches safe from thieving hands but also from our loving ones! I hope whoever it was, meets his just ‘fruits’ (I know! Bad corny! Couldn’t resist!), and at the least suffers a terrible stomach upset!

Meanwhile, I’ve just spent 10 minutes gazing at the Tree and softly reassuring her that ‘All will be Well’. She didn’t whisper back (Oh that She would!), but her leaves rustled serenely, trustingly and I think she knows, we’ll both be OK. Who’d have thunk it? But that’s Tree wisdom for you…don’t fight the inevitable, accept what you cannot change, make the best with what you have and trust in Nature. She knows best and takes care of her own. Good things endure 🙂 Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Plant a Tree, People 🙂

Stillness

This is something I wrote a while ago, when I first moved back to Goa to live with my parents. Yes you heard me right! It was also the time that Ishaan (my son) came into my life, and as you can imagine ‘quiet time’ was for other people…people who had lives, while mine went up in smoke! Oh! I know I was feeling overwhelmed and things are so much better now, but still ever so often, the mind craves quiet and solitude. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it’s become a life-quest of sorts…this search for peace and solitude. I know I’ll be feeling this way again come April when Ishaan starts 2 long months of summer vacation! And don’t you tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about!

Stillness

I crave a peaceful haven,

Amidst the buzzing in my brain,

Where crazy plans & idle thoughts,

Bring calamity & pain.

Where I can find much needed calm,

From daily drudgery,

And wallow in the sweet retreat,

Of my hallowed sanctuary.

Will I ever find it?

That  place, that’s all my own?

Or am I doomed to live & die,

Ever seeking and alone?

That space I visit in my dreams,

Where no one dare trespass,

Where in the quiet of my mind,

Stillness comes at last.

– Harsha

The Big 4O!

Can’t escape it, not anymore! It’s here! Well, it will be in a week – exactly 7 days from now – I will enter the 4th decade of my life!! When I think in terms of decades – the number still seems small 😛
I mean 4 vs 40…come on – work with me here 😉

Seriously speaking – don’t think it will be any different than turning 24 say or 37, or any age, for that matter. I thought it would – honestly, I was prepared for some earth-shattering insights into the world, humanity, my self! No such luck! The world, humanity and self all continue to feel and act much as they did when I was 37 – except of course the US just elected a black man to be President 😉
Aah…maybe this is a watershed year after all 😛

No complaints though – 2008 has been a fantastic year 🙂 Have had two ‘fantabulous’ trips each – to Europe and the US, work has been rewarding, friends have been supportive and family, loving! And now, here I am on the threshold of a new beginning – a time of change as I prepare for a new and challenging role – that of a mother. It’s one I’m unused to and didn’t particularly hanker after. One that made it’s way into my psyche, gradually, hesitantly, cautiously. And yet, now it seems firmly entrenched in my heart and soul – am nervous but not panicky, well not yet anyway!! Maybe when the toilet-training begins – my friends have been very helpful – painting vivid pictures 😛

And so I guess for me, what they say about turning 40 is true in a way – Life begins at 40 – and so it will for me – or at least, it will take off in a new direction, one that I am looking forward to 🙂

All this fuss over turning 40, got me to thinking about Life in general and decades in particular. Isn’t that what everyone that’s turning 40 is supposed to do? Ponder their life so far and plan for how they are going to make it more meaningful in the future? Well I’m not one for introspection – maybe it’s cause – all things considered – I’ve had a pretty great Life! Don’t really have any major regrets – that’s not to say that Life hasn’t been tough, yes it has, but nothing I couldn’t handle with the love and support of family and friends.

Speaking of decades, my first was fabulous – had a dreamy childhood, especially the 4 years spent in Japan, where I was first introduced to cartoons and colour television – Kid Heaven! The Teen years were, for lack of a better word, ‘typical’, full of angst, mood swings and craziness – my Mom will agree – made her cry many tears, I did! Sorry Mom! Through it all – managed to get through 5 years of Medical school, make the ‘best friend’ a girl could possibly have and find the ‘love of my life’! Not bad for a crazy teen huh??!! The twenties were more of the same – got married to the ‘love of my life’ though, amidst all the craziness 🙂 In the thirties at last I felt like I had a handle on Life. The craziness was tempered by the small amount of wisdom I had acquired thus far and I began to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. And now, at 39, in the last year of what has been my favourite decade so far, I can honestly say that I like myself more than I liked myself at any other time in my Life!

Those who know me best, know that I am shy and reserved, even when I seem to be having a ball, that I am perfectly happy to be alone for days on end, that I avoid giving advice like the plague if I can help it(though some of it is pretty great!). that for all my bluster, I lack self-confidence and am not half as brave as I pretend to be, that I still find it hard to start conversation with a stranger and that I love dogs and books infinitely more than I will ever love people!

Since moving to Singapore, I like to think I’ve gotten better at some of the above! I’ve started working as an editor, a job that allows me to work with my first love – Books! I truly enjoy it and never in a million years ever thought I would be doing it! My confidence levels have improved and so have my social skills. I still find it hard to make polite conversation with people I dislike – but on the bright side, I don’t find the ‘need’ to be nice to too many people! And I still love dogs and books more than people – but I’m more patient with some humans 😉

I guess what I mean is – I’m just more comfortable in my own skin 🙂 Some people feel the need to grow a new skin when they reach milestones – me, I just like to give the old one a little wiggle now and again, so it fits better! Works for me! It feels right, fits like a dream – a perfectly tailored custom fit! I’m going to hang on to this feeling – I like it and I think it likes me right back – makes me a better person, a better friend, a better me!

And so it’s refreshing to think that the 40 years I have walked this planet have not been for nothing! It’s been an amazing journey – all those years of memorable and not so memorable moments, lessons learnt, goals achieved, friendships made, love given, love received – I have had all of that and more. Even though I haven’t changed the world in a big way, I have tried to better my own tiny universe and for me – that’s enough. Life is beautiful – more than I ever imagined possible, more than I thought I deserved…and I am grateful, very grateful to all those that have enriched it with their presence 🙂

So there…Bring on the big 4O – I’m rearing to go!