Posted on October 15, 2020
*** I wrote this article or story (whatever you call it) a week after my birthday. I decided to shove it apart out of fear and embarrassment of exposing this vulnerable part of me. But then I asked myself, if it’s now, then when? ***
Last September 13, I celebrated my birthday by taking a trip to the grocery store and then went to my go-to restaurant for a seafood pasta take-out (no cooking on my birthday this time). Celebrating a birthday alone, especially in this quarantine COVID time, is alright. In fact, to my surprise, I felt genuinely happy on my isolated birthday during covid, a feeling which I had not felt for years. Maybe because I had learned to let go of control, and I allowed the Universe to move my life freely like a river.
Of course, I did not wake up on my day and miraculously burst into a joyful song like a character in a children’s movie because YOLO. Heck No! I was battling insomnia for the entire month of August, and you guessed it right, because I was overthinking. I panicked when my own thoughts hit me that my life still did not turn out the way I mapped it out. You see, when I was 18, I told myself that I would make it big-time by 25, get married by 30, and bear children right after. Then, I quit my job and turned 25 jobless. I did manage to get professional success in the succeeding years, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me. So, when I turned 30, I resigned as a Nutritionist in a leading diet company in the Middle East, and then I assured myself that I would have it all by 32 – a fulfilled career and successful marriage. Fast forward 2020, I am no longer 32; I am home quarantine alone, childless, and unmarried. Worst, I failed when I took a risk to chase a personal dream.
Here, I gathered 35 life reflections, as I celebrated more than 3 decades on earth (and counting). You may call it My Quarantine Isolation Diary:
1.) Jealousy is Normal… We are humans, after all.
What is not normal is when we let it overrule our daily living. I think jealousy is a reminder of our inner dreams and desires. I have learned to acknowledge this feeling as a way of improving myself while keeping a healthy environment by appreciating the object of jealousy.
2.) Betrayal is part of life, and it’s normal to get reactive.
Whether it’s a friend who stole the person we like, a sneaky roommate who used our personal belongings, a trusted friend who suddenly ghosted on us, a promised gift that never arrived, or a person who stopped believing in the dream. Whatever it may be… betrayal is painful. But I don’t get explosive. I cry; I vent; I let myself get hurt, but I don’t break or destroy beautiful things to justify the emotional feeling.
3.) Be mindful when handling hot objects in the kitchen. SERIOUSLY!
This did not end well with me. I was sent to the emergency room (ER) for a second-degree burn on my legs because my mind went somewhere while I was holding a boiling pot of water. From there onwards, I am alert whenever cooking in the kitchen.
Bargaining sleep to party on a New Year's Eve, then rushed for a 4 AM shift right after. Because when I was younger (ahem), an 8-hour sleep was an option.
23.) Household chlorine bleach is one of humanity’s greatest inventions.
I swear by its cleaning property that I always have one in store. From cleaning my kitchen sink, scrubbing the stubborn dirt in the bathroom, erasing that slimy grime in the toilet, down to removing the coffee stain in my immaculate white skirt, this bleach ultra-cleans it all (maybe it’s the Virgo in me talking). But really, this liquid cleaning solution has never failed me.
24.) Be kind.
But never let people take advantage of our kindness because that would be a different story.
25.) Be polite, and appreciate the people who do the same.
You know, I highly value those magic words.
26.) There will always be rejections.
Whether it’s an unreciprocated love, a job opportunity, or an audition to a part that I wanted to play, like betrayal, this too is painful.
Having rejected for countless of times throughout the run of life, and to say that it is okay is sometimes not enough. Yes, it severely hurts, and there is nothing and no one to blame, not even our self. Eventually, we would be fine. I refuse to define my life because of a rejection.
27.) Pain is sometimes a catalyst to remind us of our forgotten dreams.
A formula that came into my mind while I was on a grocery escalator many years ago. I was an OFW in Kuwait back then. I was on a gloom on that day that I got teary when the A-ha moment came.
Yes, rejection, betrayal, insult, or, whatever it is that causes pain, is sometimes a redirection to pursue all of our greatest dreams.
Smorgasbord Breakfast at Lenotre: Celebrating my first birthday in Kuwait.
28.) Never lie to friends.
And this extends to the people who put their great trust in us. Be it a sibling or a family member, a colleague, to your significant other, and most importantly, to ourselves.
29.) People may come and go, but the real ones stay.
In my three and a half decades (and counting) journey in life, I have learned to let go of people maturely, i.e., because I know that the purest gems will always remain. They are rare, and we are the luckiest to have a few.
30.) A relationship is mutual.
That’s what it is to me, may it be romantic, platonic, or filial. It’s necessary to uplift and support one another in this changing world, with no sugar-coating and preconceived assumptions. I call this a no judging breakfast club.
As a colleague once said: mental health is a basic need, more so nowadays.
31.) Love is everything.
It puts glitter in our eyes, which sparkles as we smile. And I am manifesting for that endless romantic euphoria in this lifetime.
Nonetheless, give love while waiting for that special someone. Keep hold of love for love itself is generous. It is what keeps us animated, pumping life into our veins. It doesn’t have to be romantic because love itself is everywhere- the love for our dog, our friends, our siblings, or our craft. I find it hard to explain the exact meaning of love, but a young boy from Lebanon once told me that love is a not word but a feeling. Maybe that’s why I found love having infinite interpretations.
Years ago, before I turned 30, I read this article from ELLE: 30 Is A Bullshit Age. Relatively, when I turned 30, life did not go exactly to my plan. There's also another blog article that says: the "30 things to do before 30" lists are unrealistic, in which I agree.