Almost 40 and Grateful

In two weeks, I will be turning 40. I don't know how I'm suppose to feel. All I know is that I am looking forward to it just like any of my previous birthdays. While others are dreading it, I am keeping an open mind. I am at a place in my life right now where I am more tolerant of the things that I cannot change and more open to changes that are still to come. I really don't want to waste my energy in worrying about getting old, so I am going to count my blessings instead. 

Without a doubt, my biggest blessing is my imperfect family. I know I often complain about my family, mostly about my parents because they make me feel like I am inadequate sometimes. But even so, family is family and no matter how bad they make me feel, they are still my family. I will always be blessed to have them in my life because if it were not for them, I won't be writing this today. 

Then my friends. Through the years I have made friends with really wonderful people but my childhood friends remain closest to my heart. My friendship with them has stood the test of time and distance. They are the ones who have been there for me and my family all these years. Their loyalty in the last 30 years is a proof that there are real friendships out there. Equally, I am lucky to have amazing friends all over the world who have chosen to stay in my life despite my flaws and shortcomings.

With regards to my career, I guess it is safe to say that at almost 40, I have reached the peak of my career. I mean, there will always be something I could do better for sure but right now I am happy with what I have accomplished. It wasn't an easy journey to be where I am now or I was professionally, but it was well worth it. I became a Nurse Practitioner and eventually a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the UK, so what else could I really ask for? Besides, I was fortunate enough to have worked in one of (if not) the best hospitals in the UK and with the most amazing surgeons, junior doctors and nurses. So really, I am perfectly content with how my career has panned out.  

I am also very lucky to have travelled to 4 continents, 22 countries and 103 cities so far. This is probably one of the best gifts that I have received from the universe. Travelling helped me overcome a lot of my fears such as fear of strangers, fear of heights, fear of water and fear of getting lost. Aside from the beautiful places, travelling opened my mind to a lot of other wonderful things - culture, people, food and perspective. If there is one thing I can say about travelling, it would be that "I am a better person because I have travelled". 

My life in general has been really wonderful. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride but I've loved every minute of it. I'm really just thankful for everything that has happened to me, good or bad. I am at a stage in my life right now where I have no reason to complain about anything because considering my unemployment, I am still very blessed. I'm just really grateful that I have made it this far.  

Then there are the blessings in disguise. Painful as they may have been, they had to happen. It was necessary for me to go through those distressing situations to prepare me for something better. I still firmly believe that everything happened for a reason.

Keith's death remains the lowest point in my life. The pain was almost unbearable. It made me the person I thought I would never be- angry, ungrateful, resentful and faithless. But at the same time, it made me the resilient person that I am today. When I lost Keith, I found the strength that I thought I never had. I was able to do things that I thought I could never do. My whole perspective on life changed. I became a better person in a lot of ways. It taught me a great deal about acceptance, letting go and moving on. 

And so when I had to go through another dreadful ordeal- that of betrayal, infidelity and emotional abuse, I knew I was prepared. Keith gave me the strength to let go of the person I once loved so dearly. I was deeply hurt but in the end,   the heartache was worth it  as losing him was one of the best things that ever happened to me. If he didn't do what he did, I wouldn't have realised that I was too good for him. I wouldn't have found my freedom. I wouldn't have known that I deserved better. I wouldn't have known that loving myself is more important than loving anyone else. I wouldn't be where I am today- at some place where inner peace, respect, love and happiness prevail. 

Through the years, I have learned to accept the fact that there are some things in this life that don't last for a reason. Keith had to die in order for me to live- one thing that only I can truly understand. When I was strong enough and learned enough to embark life anew, my marriage ended. Slowly, some other people (aka friends) began drifting away from me. But this didn't faze me in the slightest as they were the people who crucified me behind my back. They were the people who were quick to judge me through words that were not even intended for them. People who doubted my character and my loyalty when things didn't work in their favour. Those who didn't see my worth beyond what I could give. People who basically gave me reasons to doubt our friendship. These were the people who brought negativity into my life. They were the people who made me realise that losing friends is not a reflection of my being, but a mere proof that people do change and weak friendships wither. I am just blessed that I was able to get rid of toxic people before I reach another milestone. 

So my ultimate goal in this life is to enhance positivity in order to achieve longevity. Luckily, I live a considerably healthy and balanced lifestyle- I exercise regularly, eat fairly healthy (apart from the occasional junk-food binge) and I try to enjoy life as much as I can. Hopefully, I'll live longer if I continue to do this. :)

Being at peace with myself made it easier for me to come to terms with aging. Gone are the days when I would spend loads of money on whitening products so I could have a fairer skin. Yes, I was an avid user of whitening soaps from aged 16 until last December. I didn't even realise that I have stopped using them until I thought of writing this. Perhaps because after 24 years of loyalty, the orange soap hasn't really worked as I am still the same "black beauty" or "morena" girl that I have always been. And for that, I can't be prouder.

It's the same with anti-wrinkle creams. None of the products that I have tried so far really worked on my laugh lines. Perhaps I need some Creme de la Mer, but  would I blow NZ$200 on a 30ml tub? No. I still moisturise (with anti-wrinkles) though but I could care less if they work or not.

This is not to say that I am letting go of myself because I have not and will never do. It's called acceptance. I have accepted that aging is a process that everyone has to go through. And with aging comes imperfections. Imperfections which sadly cannot be altered (unless of course you subject yourself to science). So instead of worrying about getting old, I am going to face it, embrace it and enjoy it.

40 is another chance for me to reset my life. I'm going to treat it like I am 20 all over again. Because just like when I was 20-something, I am currently job-hunting, in a new-ish relationship,living in a new city and making new friends. Challenging as it is, I am taking this opportunity to redirect my life towards something better, to correct whatever mistakes I've had in the past  and to try and make a better version of myself.

So why worry about being 40?

tintin x


  1. while reading ur blog (headphones in my ear with "What Matters Most" song)

    i was teary-eyed tuloy :)very well written plus daming hugot Manang :) Thank you for sharing your life's journey.

    Sending my hugs.

    1. Thank you Ading ko for reading my blogs. Much appreciated. :)


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