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

The last day of your Thirties

on August 11, 2014

Last night just before I was about to fall asleep following a slight all day hangover haze after celebrating a friend’s 40th Birthday, Husband said ‘This is your last night of going to bed and waking up in your Thirties’.

Well as if that’s not going to send me bolt upright awake again. Then this morning #2 quietly creeps into our room and asks Husband, ‘Daddy how old is Mummy today?’. To which he replies, ‘She’s still 39, #2.’

So here we are.

Me on the last day of my Thirties.


Never mind about turning 40 tomorrow, today is about bidding adieu to my Thirties.

Husband calls this decade the Transitional Decade after reflecting upon his own 40th last year.

It’s a decade that has been filled with life changing events for us bringing commitment and responsibility. To each other, to our respective families, to work and most of all, to the all consuming commitment and great responsibility to our children.

You could map out on a graph our increasing levels of responsibility as we travelled through our Thirties. It is as how it should be. But it doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t feel the weight of that responsibility and occasionally lament the loss of those truly carefree, days. Particularly the responsibility involving raising a new generation of people in the best way you can. As soon as children begin developing character, language and opinions; parenting soon becomes something far more complex.

I’m still just winging it you know but I also see traces of my Dad, Mr Li, my Mum and others who have played a part in my upbringing in the things I say and do. Even Husband says every so often he can hear the Father in Law’s voice as words come tumbling out when speaking with #1, 2 or 3.

I must have been in my early teens and yearning to be that little bit older like you do. Edging towards being able to do as I pleased. I asked my Mum if she was looking forward to her own Birthday one year, she would have been in her early Fifties by then and she said to me that at her age, ten years go by without you even realising. At the time, I fnarred the idea when all my time governed by the Grown Ups seemed to take FOREVER to pass.

Now I know all too well what she means. Even this last year has flown by.

A couple of days ago when I woke up realising I had just three days of my Thirties left, I felt a huge surge of emotion that bubbled up from the pit of my stomach. Not sadness I should say but a mixture of excitement, anticipation and the thought of ‘Have I done enough with my life so far?’

I guess I could have probably done more. When I think about the wasted weekends of my youth spent in a hungover haze. I perhaps ought to have been doing something more productive. One of our friends we had lunch with on Saturday said she hates sleeping, it’s such a waste of time when you can be doing stuff. I like sleeping. I love nothing more than being wrapped up cosy warm under a heavy duvet which isn’t something you can really do in Singapore.

I wish I had travelled a lot more to places off the beaten track but I figure I can still do that and without feeling the need to partake in any form of extreme sporting activity whilst I’m there.

I know some people have drawn up lists of amazing Things To Do Before 40. I met the wife of Husband’s colleague last October who, together with a group of friends turning 40 within months of each other, had drawn up a list of things they each wanted to do and set themselves a challenge of fulfilling the list before the last of them turned 40. A great idea but not one that I would have been able to do whole heartedly. Not when time is governed by the needs of #1, 2 and 3 being so young.

Besides I rather think I’d prefer a list of Things To Do Beyond Forty. I always have a list of things I really want to do and so perhaps it’s time to be more proactive towards achieving new things.

And yet I am achieving new things, all the time. Perhaps they’re not skills that will set the world alight and perhaps it’s only in things that pleases #1, 2 and 3 the most but I have been continuously moving forward. As have you no doubt.

Progress, self development, growing up or whatever you may wish to call it can be measured not just in ways that you can see like gainful employment, family and lifestyle. But in ways that only you may know. Like how we react to things that annoy us, how we diffuse arguments and what simple things give us happiness.

I started writing this blog exactly a year ago today. Having played around with the idea for some months, I felt self conscious at the thought of writing about myself. (You can feel it in my first post here .) About writing about the people I know too. That is even more terrifying because what if they feel offended by my words? I guess it comes down to trust. Do you trust my judgement.

What did I want to achieve exactly from this blog?

Just a feeling of appreciating what I’ve achieved so far. That it’s not all about being defined by one role or stage in our lives. I’m doing this now, but I was doing that beforehand and now I’m thinking of doing this next.

Having never kept a true diary, I also wanted to document some key stories for #1, 2 and 3. For since their arrival, I’ve become increasingly aware of my own mortality and who better to tell them about me than me. Plus I also realise just how little I truly know about my own Parents and Grandparents having never asked them about their lives before and only catching snippets of their own reminiscing.

Have I enjoyed writing? Yes I have. Very much so. I’ve spent the last year raking up the past and revisiting memories of events that have meant something and I’ve incorporated parts of our lives here in Singapore.

I feel like by putting it all in this blog I’m able to bridge the gap of the life I had before Singapore and the life I have now. I felt like neither group of people I know over here and back in the UK were really getting the full picture. I feel a year of doing this has helped fill in some blanks.

I realise that whilst I still miss the UK and all my family and friends that are there, I’ve had the good fortune to have lived this Expat Life and widened my horizons and meet all sorts of new people and see all sorts of new places. I was given opportunities I wasn’t expecting and have gained more than I imagined.

So what will I do now the year is up? The world’s longest ever 40th Birthday Eve build up. Well I’m going to be Embracing 40 from tomorrow and I haven’t decided how long celebrations are going to go on for. Then I think I might start a new blog looking at Beyond 40. I haven’t quite finished writing about all the things I’ve been thinking about and I’m not quite ready to stop.

And I’d like to thank you for reading it too. It’s been really encouraging to hear your thoughts on what I’ve written about.

So I’ve really got to go now because initially I thought the most that would happen was going out for lunch with Husband today but then he told me a few days ago that I get to spend Birthday Eve in a mystery hotel! And so after a mini tour of the island which could also just be Husband not knowing where he’s going, we arrived at the car park of Raffles Hotel!

I’ve been here so many times for Singapore Slings with visiting guests and ushering in the Chinese New Year and have always wanted to go beyond the ‘Residents Only’ sign. Today I am! It’s so beautiful and we are in the Somerset Maugham suite where he really did stay. It is probably half the size of our flat. I am currently on my own whilst Husband goes and collects #1, 2 and 3 for a mini stay and then they’re being booted off home. This is the first time since #1 arrived that Husband and I are going to spend the night on our own! (Staying in the labour ward doesn’t count.) I feel very lucky indeed.

So this is all from me in my Thirties.

Until 40 it is then.



2 responses to “The last day of your Thirties

  1. Kelly says:

    You still look faaaaabulous :)…enjoy the last day of being in your 30’s!!!


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