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Assessment Time

(Warning: skittish unedited ditsy reflection post. Read at your own risk)

Which is what tends to happen around birthdays right?

I didn’t have time around the actual day. Excuse: I’ve been learning to use new phone, trying out new running shoes & cross trainers (my extra wide but small sized men’s shoes are hard to find here. I thought my current pairs were fine but once I tried the new ones… okay, shoes do wear out!!!) and, embarrassingly, playing two ecologically themed games… on a PSP.

& of course setting out all my lovely candles & finally finally finally getting to try out my aromatherapy stick set… (!! if you read this you know i’m talking to you!!)

But I was going to write about ‘serious’ life assessment.

Without wanting to contradict the guys who wish me (& everyone else) ‘Happy 18’ & ‘Happy 21’, I do think there’s more than numbers to summing up where we are in life.

Since I’m 47 now, this means I’m in my 48th year of life. I get flashes of horror ‘Omigod, that’s nearly 50!’ & don’t now how I got here.

On the other hand, things are going so much better for me now than at any earlier stage in my life.

Like if I look at my 48th year as the 3rd time I turn 16…

The first time I was 16 years old, I was in Secondary 4 in MGS.

At that time I suppose I was content enough. I was a good student–strong in maths & science as well as having enough language skills to let me coast through other subjects without much effort. I had a corner seat right at the back of the class. In front of me was Waichun (who’s somewhere in Europe now, I believe.)
on my right Ingaborg & then Sirinuk. Haven’t seen either of them since leaving school.

Looking back though, school was pretty dreadful. Can you believe I spent 10 years in that school without using the toilets once because I was afraid of falling down in there?

Okay, maybe I’m the object in there that was dreadful. But I was also very good at passing for normal. I was very ‘Christian’ & remember girls calling each other to pray against ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ coming to Singapore because it was the work of the devil. But at the same time I was terrified of dying, or rather of non-existence because I simply couldn’t understand the How of God & afterlife… & being terrified meant lack of faith which meant that even if God could pull off His Existence I wouldn’t be welcome in His mansions… this side didn’t show, though. I had perfect attendance at Sunday School, sang in the choir, was the nerd geek who handed in science projects on viruses (hey, Singapore just got our first electron microscope around then–it was exciting!) when other girls were studying ‘local flowers’ or ‘edible roots’.

2nd time I ‘turned’ 16… at 32 years old I was editor of a magazine with a big office, a red Citroen (& a Kawasaki Vulcan), apartment with live-in partner, 4 cats… I thought I was set up for life. And at that point, if I thought about it, it was the life I wanted. Except I didn’t have the time to think about it. I thought I was happy then too. I thought that being realistic & practical meant not thinking about stuff like ‘happiness’ because there was just no time.

I was going to the gym because it was routine. Even reading was routine. Yes, I was still writing but–okay, looking back I’m very glad I had that time. I learned a lot there & met some really great people. But again, it’s not where I would want to spend my life.

And now, moving into the 3rd time I turn ’16’. When I turn 48 next year, I see myself continuing on the path I’m on now. I feel healthier & more balanced here than at any earlier point in my life. I still don’t have a clear sense of God or how or where or how dare I relate to Him/Her/Supreme Being but I know that it is all right to go on looking because that’s the way I was created.

If I believe the right yoga teacher will appear when I am ready, the least I can do is believe the same of God.

Could I have found this grace if I’d known where to look earlier? I don’t know.

It’s also possible that looking back from the vantage point of 64 years (if I live that long) where I am now will also seem immature & searching.

Even that will be good. The worst, I think, would be to look back and wish myself back because of what I have lost.

So far I’ve been very blessed/fortunate/fucking lucky–I’m growing, I’m gaining, I’m grateful.


5 Responses

  1. happy belated bday. grace and peace at 47. you’ve gone further than most dare to dream. kudos.

  2. thank you darkorph, garten & jo–appreciate you checking in & chatting (& I’ll watch out for the aromatherapy assassins for sure!) but while i want to say thanks i’m too riled up & cross & cranky at the moment.

    –you can prob see why in following post–

    jo–love talking to you too, but the best thing you can learn from here is prob how NOT to end up like me!!!!!

  3. U r truly blessed u r fine in that 10 yrs without going to toilet in school. I do know that many japanese kids refuse to use school toilet as its not clean enough and they develop kidney problem.
    Its a great read. I love reading how a person’s mind works and develop over the years of their life and i wanna try to learn something outta it.

  4. I agree that there’s more than numbers to summing up where we are in life. But I’m still wishing you a happy birthday!!

    I love the way your mind works. How cool to think of yourself turning 16 for the third time. Gets my wheels turning. I’m only a couple of years behind you, so I will be turning 16 again before too long.

    I agree completely with this: The worst, I think, would be to look back and wish myself back because of what I have lost. I, too, hope I never feel that way. I am perennially disappointed with myself, but never wish to go back.

    Happy birthday to an amazing woman! You are an inspiration to me.

  5. “Can you believe I spent 10 years in that school without using the toilets once because I was afraid of falling down in there?”

    You must have excellent bladder control back then.

    And you wore a semi-Sailor Moon uniform. With the pinafore inside. (Wikipedia states pinafore are worn outside)

    It seems like you have a good life. I sometimes do wonder, if I had known where to look earlier, could I have made better progress now? Like, if I had started yoga and meditation when I was 16, what kind of a person would I be at 32? Would I be a better person? More at peace?

    Or just confused about different things instead? 🙂

    You seem content and grateful for all that you have right now. This is wonderful. You seem to know (in a general sense) where you are headed. That is something a lot of people can’t claim to have.

    What we do now is what determines tomorrow. So, if you are doing good now, you will probably be fine at 64. You might screw up along the way, but that will probably be okay too. You will learn from it, and your life at 64 will be richer for the experience.

    Since I’m late on your birthday wishes, I wish you this instead: May your practice brings you where you need to be.

    PS: I was once warned by a friend about aromatherapy incense. Some of them apparently contain trace amount of arsenic. So, might be better to use them with the windows open.

    My first reaction was, “Cool.” It’s like those Chinese assasins in wuxia movies, that kills with poison.

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