There is an oft-quoted statement, “Life begins at 40.”
Well, I turned forty a few weeks ago and if you ask me if I finally have my cataclysmic awakening yet, well — there’s really none. I woke up the same grumpy bitch, had my bitter coffee and rue my lack of carbs in my attempt to lose weight and live maybe to 60 if I am lucky.
But what I do know is that I am more thankful to be given the opportunity to reach my 40th birthday. The past ten years of my life have been a trip and one hell of a ride – I grappled with multiple bouts of anxiety, insecurities, depression and self-destructive tendencies and denied myself chances to celebrate milestones, breakthroughs, and achievements. For years, I wasn’t sure if I am indeed living a blessed life. It’s sad that turning 40 served as a catalyst – a reminder that I have a lot of people on my corner and that I am, indeed, blessed.
Turning 40 meant throwing a party and celebrating the path to the mature years. But, the weirdo in me just refused to denounce my life-long citizenship in Neverland. So, faced with my 40th birthday, I decided to throw myself a children’s party held in one of Manila’s biggest fast food chains.
The children’s party, minus the F word, served as my template on how I wanted to meet my 40th year on earth – fun, carefree, thankful but definitely without the drama. I just wanted to celebrate my birthday the best way I know how: by having fun with the people I loved the most.
I did not have to worry about the food and the venue because I know Jollibee would take care of it. My plan was to gather the people I loved in one place; make them laugh their lungs out and then feed them some good ol’ food, the kind I loved when I was a kid and had zero shitty metabolisms: Filipino spaghetti, chicken, fries and ice cream. For the parlor games, I shopped for cute items in Divisoria and then planned the ultimate party give-away:
The Adulting Survival Kit is everything you would need to emerge partly sane in this crazy, crazy world: coffee to keep you awake as you chase your dreams; a pencil as you build you masterplan for the future; wet wipes to remove the world’s grime away; mints because a fresh breath is always appreciated; band-aids to cover all wounds; headache medicine to battle stress away and chocnut — because life is always better with chocnut 🙂
Now, for some party snaps:
One of the reasons why I wanted to give myself my very own children’s party was because my family wasn’t really well-off while I was growing up. This meant that my parents prioritized our education on top of everything else – of course, aside from our basic needs. So lavish parties for milestone birthdays, as well as ostentatious toys (the kind usually owned by our neighbors), was a no-go. While my siblings and I definitely felt the penny-pinching when we were young, we also knew that our parents gave us their all when it comes to sending us to good schools.
In the end, we were the only kids to get a college education and pursue careers among the third generation from both sides of the family. We were able to buy what we want, travel where we want to go and even have investments outside our day jobs. This is thanks to the hard work of our parents who went into debt, ate so little just so we three will have our fill, and sacrificed their time with us in exchange for money for schooling.
Still, I wanted to know how it felt like to have a birthday party – one where an oversized bee mascot danced to the latest songs; where you win pencil cases and erasers during party games and where you are the spoiled, little child even for just one day.
And for my fortieth birthday, the Little Rugrat in me was able to experience all of that – with family and friends that I love so much.
Now that I am forty – was there any change, you ask?
Well, I am more conscious now about my mortality; and I’ve also come to accept that there are things in life that I may have to live without. I’ve also become more conscious of the future – of the need to work hard so we can have a better life; to build a nest egg so that we won’t have to grasp at straws when we get old; to value relationships more over work and career.
But I am still the same old me. I still watch K-dramas and follow the career of Korean pop stars in secret (in case you are wondering, I stan Nu’est – look them up, they are amazing). I am still crazy about travel and still on track for my Plan 47 before 50 (47 Prefectures before I turn 50) Travel Plan…and yes, my sticker collection (for the bullet journaling) can still rival that of a teenage brat.
F*ck forty — and that’s what I exactly have in mind. Forty or not – I AM LIVING MY BEST LIFE.