The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Take time to reflect a little

on February 12, 2014

When I was thinking about writing this blog last year, I wasn’t sure how to start it or how it would all pan out. I thought it would be quite a lighthearted way to recount some memories from my past. I thought writing this blog was in sole response to paving the way to turning forty. I thought it was in reaction to the notion of life beginning at forty but what about all the years that got you to forty.

The truth I now realise, six months into this journey, is that I felt I was losing track of the things that I held dear to me. The people, the places, the ideas and feelings I once had. I felt that after five years away from my family and friends in the UK; living a life that has been a whirlwind of change and activity; meeting some amazing new people, many of whom have since moved on from Singapore that what I really wanted to do was take time to recount and take stock of all that is now and all that has been.

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I think what I needed to do was remind myself of the life that I had and bridge it with the life I have now so that I can wrap it altogether for the next step. I think what I also wanted to do, needed to do, is remind you that I’m still very much here and that whilst I have new family members to take care of and there are miles and time between us, I haven’t forgotten about you. You may think this all sounds a bit twee but five years of living abroad as an Expat at a time when most people I know have laid down roots can feel quite discombobulating. I can’t believe I’ve used the word discombobulating, when is that ever going to happen again?

I am a sentimental soul at heart and I don’t mind admitting that. Although we assume we know we are valued and loved by those closest to us, I think it’s good to let them know at least once a lifetime that they are and why they are. Writing it in my blog allows me to express these feelings without having to have a few pints and declare ‘I love you’ in the way that a few pints allows you to do. It also spares the stoical amongst you the embarrassment of this occurrence in person and having been away so long, it has been important to me that I do let you know.

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Taking care of a young family also takes up more time and energy than I imagined possible which leaves very little time to nurture friendships and relationships like they need to be taken care. Of course social media helps a lot but it doesn’t give any depth and is very much surface level communication. As it should be.

It’s not been as weird as I thought writing a blog, even though it’s very much a one sided conversation about me which is quite a weird and slightly egotistical thing to talk about. I’ve definitely enjoyed the writing and thinking about what to write about and how to word things because you have to be mindful of the people you want to talk about.

Naively, I thought rummaging through my memory archives would be all about the fun stuff, the happy times but anyone who has reflected upon the years will know that it doesn’t work like that. Of course it can’t. All of us have experience of some Big Life Event that has shaped and changed us in some way. I know it’s necessary, otherwise how else can we be of support and comfort to others without empathy. I don’t wish to take on everyone’s problems by the way but I do believe in a certain degree of openess when all is not right with the world.

I’m really glad I started this blog. I would have been annoyed with myself had I let it go without even trying. Someone once said that it must also feel like therapy, I guess it does in a way. Especially when I’ve spoken about the loss of someone special. It gave me comfort to be able to affectionately talk out loud about them. I’ve felt better talking about how I feel about not being in gainful employment which made me feel like I wasn’t pulling my weight for a long time. Even though I’m grateful for having this time with #1. 2 and 3 which wouldn’t have happened in the same way had we stayed in the UK.

Sharing some of what our life in Singapore is all about has also helped me appreciate it a lot more too. It may seem quite exotic and in many ways it is privileged but it’s not going to last forever. I already know that one day soon, I’ll be in the middle of a cold, wet British summer and wonder why I never made more use of the pool we have downstairs lying in the sun with a big, fat gin.

I guess overall, I feel much more appreciative of many things now that I’ve spent six months reflecting on the past. You can be so busy filling your calendar with events, with doing things, with time passing you by so quickly that you can feel like you’ve achieved hardly anything. But you have. You so have.

So as I pass the halfway mark, I’m going to be continuing with my blog and I’ve been thinking of things to write about. I’ve been listening to a lot of old Desert Island Discs podcasts which has got me thinking about the eight songs I’d choose. It’s a tough one and requires a lot of thought. Have a think about yours too. I think I’ll do Room 101 as well and Mrs Cake Pops suggested ‘Things I’d tell my younger self’.

That’s all for now. Goodnight. xx

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