The State of my Fortysomething-hood Address: The First 100 Days
When I turned thirty, I was excited. I was riding on the wings of a new life in Manila, and I had nothing and was no one but I was working on owning something and being someone. Turning forty, on the other hand, was full of trepidation, largely because I was sick, but also because I never really paid attention to the passing of the years, until I woke up one morning and realized that a decade has passed me by. My contemporaries were having grandchildren. Former classmates were celebrating two decades of married life. Twentysomethings were calling me "Tita." I, however, remained where I was in time, until time kicked me abruptly out of my thirties. I can't say it didn't try to warn me; of course it did, but I wasn't paying attention. I guess I was too busy living my life.
So here I am now, a hundred days into this fortysomething-hood. I haven't yet figured out how to proceed, but here are some things I have learned recently.
I don't really need as many material things as I thought I did. I could be totally happy and productive on just a five year-old MacBook Air.
I am not a shoe person. Neither am I a bag person. I have ended up using the same bag and the same two pairs of shoes for the past six months and I have never noticed until now.
My father is the most reliable and the most patient man I know, my mother the most caring, but in a slightly nervous fashion.
It is possible to have housemates and never know their names. It is also possible to have housemates you don't know the names of and still care whether they need pain killers for their menstrual cramps.
I still detest the idea of dying my naturally salt-and-pepper hair a different color.
I cannot live without a table and a traditional electric reading lamp.
My genes have asserted — and I have conceded — that my hips will always, always be at least 40 inches no matter what I do.
People totally take naps while riding public transportation, and they don't always get robbed.
It's possible to get to the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus, from where I live in the City of Manila, for less than 50 pesos.
There are over ten different kinds of folding umbrellas that Fibrella makes.
Metro Manila has the worst sidewalks. One can actually get injured — and infected — just walking on them.
It's important to get regular facials. Good lighting is equally important, both when studying and when getting my picture taken.
I don't need 1,000-count pure cotton bed linens to have a good night's sleep; all I need is peace of mind.
It takes me one hour to walk leisurely from the office to where I live, 45 minutes if I walk fast, and 30 minutes if I walk really, really fast.
I can read three Agatha Christie novels in one day if I wake up early, go to sleep late, and do nothing else on that day.
I will not die if my clothes hangers don't match.
When it rains in Metro Manila and I'm walking, the rain actually pours up from the pavement as well as down from the sky. Manila is creepy that way.
I have more than one kind of friend. I have the kind that actively checks on me and always insists on helping me out, everyday, and not without a little drama, and I also have the kind that quietly watches out for me from a distance and protects me in their own aloof way, without my knowing. I love both kinds of friends.
Writing things down and making lists is a crucial activity for survival.
Not all automatic transmission cars can be driven the exact same way, but all manual-transmission cars are the same.
You really, truly don't remember things from a fugue. Hollywood got this right.
Just as friends and family are important, so are fellow writers. They are the friends-and-family that always assure me I'm still making sense even when the rest of the world thinks I'm batcrap crazy.
Writing a book is a wonderful antidote to having accomplished nothing else.
There is a real and permanent cure for varicose veins.
Women wear short shorts everywhere now, which makes the aforementioned cure for varicose veins even more welcome. On the other hand, men's shorts these days are no longer shorts. They are vile, hideous half-pants.
Wide-range multi-coated progressive lenses are very expensive, but they are worth it.
There are times when a full jeepney becomes like a mini-barangay.
Three 27-inch LCD monitors placed side to side can really heat up an entire cubicle if the airconditioning is not turned on.
Not all projects that offer good pay should be taken. Sometimes the most fulfilling projects are the ones done pro bono for clients that actually care about other human beings.
If a man really loves you, he will come after you even if you leave him, storming your world with a passion so decisive that it changes him, turns him into the the man you want to be with.
It is possible for me to forgive the man I love and still keep my standards.
I am more aware now, not just of the minute, quotidian details of life, but also of the grand, overarching principles that surround living.
I have an idea of how small a dot I am in the universe, but I am also aware of the ripple that I can cause in this universe.
I have finally learned how to listen to time. It is telling me stories; it has been telling me stories all along.
[Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,]