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

I don’t know you and yet……..

I always find the feeling quite bizarre. That feeling of sadness at the news of someone passing. Famous people I mean. Not the people who surround you everyday.

The people whose face seems so familiar. Instantly recognisable if they were in the picture round of a pub quiz. So much so that if you happen to celebrity spot them in the street, your first thought may be to call out in greeting to someone you know but can’t quite place. Maybe a friend of a friend, someone you met at a party perhaps or through Gainful Employment. Then you realise actually you don’t know them at all and hurriedly retract that outstretched hand about to wave and break off making eye contact. Well you do sort of know them. You know their name at least, what songs they’ve sungs, films they’ve been in, their favourite colour even but still you’re strangers. 

That is what I find quite bizarre. No matter how famous they are with their highs and lows splashed across the media pages on line and in print, you don’t really know them at all. Yet news of their passing can bring a sense of loss. I often wondered whether it was weird to feel that way. With it being someone famous and all. Are you really allowed to feel a sense of grief over their death? I thought grief was reserved for family and friends only. 

The news of people passing having enjoyed a long life or tragically an all too short life is sad without question whether celebrity or not. But when it is a celebrity who has influenced your musical choices, picked you up when you were feeling down, called to you through their lyrics and bonded you with like minded people. I think it’s perfectly natural to feel a sense of loss. An acknowledgement of how their contribution through film, song, political beliefs or something else has impacted on you. Your youth, your student years, your carefree years and now your parenting years whereby you want to share your cultural preferences with your children. 

Mostly I feel so sad because the work of these people made me happy. Still makes me happy. Probably always will. Isn’t that a great achievement for anyone. That album you listen to because it was the soundtrack to a particular time of your life. The film that always gets watched to kickstart the festive season. The book you read that transports you to a different time and place. You can listen to the music, watch the film and re-read the book so many times and it never gets old. I’m a big fan of a number of celebrities for various reasons. Mostly because they make me feel good and happy which is their job after all. I like those that work hard with their talent and also did great things with their fame and celebrity status to bring about change.       
   
I guess it shouldn’t feel so bizarre at all. Someone that makes you happy has passed away. Unexpectedly so. I was just looking at the promotional posters of David Bowie’s new album in the shops at the weekend. Then all of a sudden, on a Monday afternoon whilst sat at my desk, a BBC news flash pops announcing the breaking news that David Bowie has died. I was almost filled with disbelief. But how? How can he be? He’s just released a new album that should mean he’s alive and well. What do you mean he’s passed away? 

A man who has been in the background of my cultural choices. The tv shows named after his title tracks and the vivid images of the different personas he took over the years. The rock and roll lifestyle I’ve only read about and not seen pasted across the internet. I can just focus on the simple fact that I liked what he did and I am sad to know that they are no more. I’ve read many an article and obituary about David Bowie these last two days. The fact that he kept his illness quiet for so long and essentially kept the general public at bay to spend his days with those that matter. A far cry to the actions of many a lesser celebrity who like to keep you informed every step of the way. 

For the rest of us, we can seek comfort in the work they left behind. Listening to old albums in a new context, Appreciating true genius star quality. Celebrity and fame means such different things these days. Some people are so called celebrities and yet I couldn’t tell you what they are famous for. I imagine they can’t either. 

So I’ve concluded with myself that it’s not so bizarre after all, feeling a sense of loss over the death of someone famous that I don’t really know but sort of do. I’m appreciative that what we still have is years and years of timeless enjoyment that can be shared with our own children. Already #1, 2 and 3 are familiar with the Best of Bowie album and Space Oddity is a favourite. No doubt they will soon be familiar with this lastest album, his parting gift as it’s called and I shall listen to it with poignancy but also positivity as I share his music with a new generation.

  

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It’s 2016 good and proper

We’re only five days into 2016 and there has been no easing into it gently. 

It was a good decision to stay at home this Christmas holidays. With the big changes we have had in 2015, it made a lot more sense to enjoy some fairly low key quiet time in Singapore together even though it was very tempting to make a quick trip some place else. When you don’t spend much time at home, it’s good to appreciate it again. Whilst realising at the same time that I really need to do a big clear out……..

Anyways, the holidays have been long for #1 and 2 but I think they enjoyed themselves and of course Christmas and Star Wars played a big part of it. Tomorrow they are back to Big School. So one final act to mark the end of the holiday season was the taking down of the Christmas tree decorations. Gone are the twinkling lights and brightly coloured baubles. Long gone are the presents under the tree. It’s time to pack all the decorations away for just another 11 months and if you can’t wait until then the shops will be fully stocked by September.

  
But for now, it’s time to start the New Year!

Or if you’re in Singapore, it’s time to start preparing for the new Lunar New Year! I can’t believe how fast the shops were to empty its shelves of Christmas paraphanalia to make way for Chinese New Year stuff. Definitely leaving no room for festive sentimentality but that’s another occasion.

There was only semi drunken debauchery this year but any kind of mild drunken debachary can lead to a very slow start the next day. What was highly exciting is being able to stay out until nearly 2am and catch the new MRT line from right outside Singapore Bake Off’s condo to the nearest station to ours that’s just a 10 minutes walk home. How times have changed. Like wanting a comfortable seat and the music at a level you can actually hear a conversation going on around you. The great thing about #1, 2 and 3 being that little bit older this year is that we can prepare their breakfast utensils the night before and how grown up is it for them to pour cereal into their bowls themselves without Grown Up supervision! Unlimited Cocopops! It’s New Year’s Day afterall.  

Whilst there was huge antipcation of what 2015 would bring and a degree of uncertainty with it too, 2016 looks  more settled. Insofar that I’ve made the leap back into Gainful Employment, we’re still living in Singapore and #1 and 2 have started Big School. With these transitions and constants also brings new perspectives such as the whole work life balance question. The most important thing for me is family and spending time with #1, 2 and 3. Equally important is spending time with Husband. As is spending time for yourself. And friends. And family. 

I know last year there were many moments I felt like time was running away from me. Not enough time for #1, 2 and 3, for Husband, for myself, friends and family as I adjusted back to a life that involved Gainful Employment. It’s only with hindsight that you realise such a big change is a big deal and you down play it because there are lots of people who are in exactly the same position and who have been in that position a whole lot longer. But there’s no point being hard on yourself. 
  
Whilst I wouldn’t make it a New Year Resolution to spend more time doing all the above, I’m more conscious of decisions that places those things at the centre of it. Perhaps it means being a little more selective rather than agreeing to everything but time well spent is something I’m after doing more of. Because as you know, time can pass by so quickly. Already we’ll be a week into the new year and whilst it’s still a long few weeks before pay day, we’re already wishing away January.

Except if you’re #1 who turns a big SEVEN very soon. There is no time to sit back and rest on your laurels as life is forever evolving and we’re trying to keep up with everything that is going on. 

It’s exciting though and looking ahead there are big events to look forward to. This year we’ll be welcoming new family members. I can hardly believe that our Dazzler, who I looked after when he was a small child, is about to become a father himself. There are weddings to look forward to (d0n’t break out into a cold sweat, I’m not referring to just you and you know who you are!) Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and people to see again. Races to run, new skills to learn, old projects to finish off. 

With a new year brings a time to plan ahead and embrace the good things. Things that I’m very much looking forward to. It’s also a time to acknowledge the things that you wish to change and not be bound by reasons why you can’t. 

Happy New Year! Wishing you good health, happiness, peace, resilience and much love.

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