A Blessed Journey To 45

Having celebrated my 44th birthday in lockdown last year, when life seemed so obscure and most people were living in fear, I chose to be hopeful that my journey to 45 was going to be meaningful regardless of what the world was going through. This is not to say that the journey between 44 and 45 was without challenges, but things could have definitely been worse. So, I remain grateful for what was, what is and what may be.

This morning, I woke up to the sight of one of my greatest blessings in life. He was stood by our bedroom door having just come back from the kitchen to get a glass of water. He talked gibberish (which he sometimes do to amuse me). We both giggled and whilst he cosied up back into bed, I said I was getting up. It was only 6am and already, I was wide awake. Perhaps I was excited to turn 45 today, or probably because I was thinking of the errands that I needed to do. Then I was reminded of the message that my staff sent me yesterday, "promise me boss, you will rest". And so I changed my mindset and put on my running shoes instead. As soon as I took my first stride, thoughts came rushing in. My pace was slow, but my mind was racing. I reflected on the past year and how I got here safely, at 45. A lot of things have happened to me personally in the last year, both good and bad.

I started reflecting on my relationship with J. We've been together for seven years now, and although things are not perfect, I can say that we are blessed to have each other. Our relationship grew stronger during this pandemic and to be honest, I couldn't imagine myself being in quarantine with anyone else but him. He was my dose of diazepam when my anxiety creeped in. He was my voice of reason when emotions took over me. He was (and still is) my constant reminder that life could always be worse, and that I am blessed to have everything that I need in life right now. And despite the fact that we haven't been anywhere in the last 16 months, we have been enjoying each other's company in the comfort of our home.

My pace was steady. At 06:20 per kilometre, I felt comfortable. I ran towards Buckingham Palace. It was very quiet at 08:00. The sky above the palace was clear blue, no single cloud in sight. As I turned left to Horse Guards Road, I reflected on my parents. I was reminded of that day when my mother fell. I was on the phone to her. She rushed to pick up the phone but stepped on a stone and lost her balance. She managed to answer the phone, but she was already on the ground. She has not been able to walk since. My father on the other hand was reasonably okay until about three months ago when his Diabetes became severely uncontrolled, affecting his eyesight, his legs and his kidneys. And only last month, I had the worst fear of the year when he suddenly taken ill and was hospitalised for the first time in his life at 75. Thank God, he is at home now recovering well and almost back to his old self. Despite their current medical condition, I remain blessed because they are both alive and fighting. And if I had one wish for my birthday, it is to go home to my parents as soon as it is possible.

I decided to run past Trafalgar Square to check the pre-EU finals preparation. There was police presence and staff were busy putting more barricades in place. I ran towards Covent Garden, then reflected on work. It's been seven months since I left my first pandemic job and since I started my second. Two very different experiences, but it's safe to say that I am in a much better place now. Imperfect, but my team is perfect for me. This is despite the fact that there are  a few people who are quite challenging to manage. I am very blessed to have my team because above anything else, they are good people- and I guess this is the reason why we are successful as a team.  So, I can confidently say that despite the pandemic, I remain blessed because I was able to find a job that reasonably works for me, and also a short walking distance from home.

When I got home from my morning run, I took a moment to reflect on my health and J's. I was reminded of that time early this year when we both had COVID-19. We were lucky as we both had mild symptoms, but with Covid, any symptom can be quite worrying because it can progress quite quickly. We both recovered well from this and thank God, we haven't had any health issues since then.

My reflection was interrupted by a buzzer. It was a box of beautiful flowers from one of my former staff. The flowers came with a lovely note, followed by a text message that said, "You deserve more". Such a heartwarming gesture from someone that I've only worked with for seven months.

Then it was time to check my messages, and I felt so touched and humbled by the number of private messages I received from friends and family. These are the constant people who never forget to greet me on my birthday year after year. And for this, I am beyond grateful.

Today, I celebrate the blessings that I have received in the last year, big and small. And I am blessed to have been able to celebrate my birthday virtually with my family.  It was reassuring to see my mother at the dinner table for the first time in a long time, and my father in his usual grumpy self.

It was of course a real pleasure to have spent my birthday all day at home with J, catching up with family and friends and watching The Championships

At 45, I am blessed not because of my material possessions and my achievements, but because despite sadly losing a loved-one last year, all our family and friends are otherwise alive and well. Besides, I have a job that I am fairly happy with, and I have people around who care about me. And I guess during this time, this is all that matters.

So here I am, watching the Euro Finals hoping that England wins, so I can say that my 45th birthday is historical because England won after 55 years! 😆



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