44 and Grateful

Today, I celebrated my 44th birthday in an unusual but very special way. Whilst we originally planned to celebrate my birthday outside London, the pandemic unfortunately prevented us from doing so. Some yearly traditions also had to be put on hold. For the last few years, my friend Pearl and I have been visiting flower fields as part of our birthday celebrations. I also have this tradition of dating myself the day before my birthday. This year is completely different. Although I didn't get to meet up with any of my friends or do any of the things that I would normally do on my birthday, I had the pleasure to celebrate it privately at home with my constant, J. 

This morning, I woke up exceptionally grateful. Despite everything that has been going on in the world right now, I am very blessed in so many ways. My life in the last year has been a roller coaster ride. It was as if life was constantly playing games with me. Every time when I thought that the universe was finally making up for everything that I went through the year before, a new challenge comes along. But I have been a firm believer that things happen for a reason, so here I am, still very grateful despite of it all. 

This year though, I am most grateful for the following:

1. The health and safety of my family and friends
- Last year, I had the fair share of health concerns personally and with some of the people I love. It was very emotionally challenging especially when my mother had the Covid-19 scare. So this year, I wish nothing but for my family and friends to continue to be healthy and safe. That is all what matters to me now.

2. My Life Partner
- I'm sure the pandemic has been one of the most challenging for us all. One thing that I am very grateful during this time of Corona Virus is having a life partner in J. I am very blessed to have been in lockdown with the best lockdown partner ever. Never did we once bickered at each other for the whole three months that we were in isolation. J made it easy for me not to miss the outside world. Most importantly, he made sure that we were both looked after.

3. Provision of Basic Needs
- The pandemic taught me that all I needed to survive in this world is food, shelter and clothing (okay, in addition- a phone and wifi so I can stay connected with my family and friends). I am beyond blessed to be living in a beautiful flat in Central London, to have more than enough food in our pantry and to have more than enough clothes to wear. For three months, I didn't have any reason to dress up. I didn't have any reason to wear my shoes and my bags. It was then I realised that I don't really need any more than what I already have. And knowing that a lot of people struggled to buy food during the pandemic, I made a promise to myself to spend my money wiser, and to help those in need a little bit more.

4. Closing Doors
- In December, I was made redundant. It was one thing that I thought I would never have to go through. I felt different kinds of emotions. For a normally positive person like me, I struggled to look for the silver lining. I thought I was a good manager and I was doing a great job. However, I ended up losing it all. I lost an exceptional team. My team. The team that I built. The people who believed in me despite knowing that I didn't have any managerial experience behind me. The people who respected me as a person and as a manager. The people who made it easy for me to succeed as a new manager. The people who treated each other like their own family. My people. I was so heartbroken, I cried most nights. Add to that heartbreaking separation from my people, the most stressful and unhappiest ending in my entire nursing career. I did things that I never thought I would ever do as a nurse, and as a manager. But I guess all the hardships and sacrifices were worth it, as what happened validated my purpose in life. And for that, I remain grateful.

5. New Beginnings
- I started my new job in the time of Corona Virus. Everything was and still is strange. It is quite difficult to explain how I exactly feel about this new job and the people I work with. But there is one thing that I am sure of- there is a reason why the universe brought me there. For now, I am grateful that I still have a job during this unusual time when a lot of people all over the world have lost their jobs and/or struggling to find a job. I hope and pray that things will be better soon, so everyone can go back to work and truly enjoy the (new) normal life again. 

And that's it. I am 44.

I wish not only for my family and friends' health and safety, but for love, compassion, kindness and peace in this time of hate, indifference and inhumanities. May we all eventually live as one, and may God bless us all.

Please stay safe.



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