There is a fountain of youth; it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. —Sophia Loren
Today marks the halfway point of the third decade into my life. To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I feel about it because I’m feeling all the feels.
I have so much to say, so much on my mind. Last year, I shared some thoughts around birthdays. After re-reading what I wrote, I realized that 2020 threw how I was going to celebrate a big milestone birthday out the window.
No big birthday activities like dinner with friends were planned nor did I go on the cruise I wanted to go on for a little get away. However, I did receive text messages, a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my sweet coworkers from my day job, cards, and other gifts from afar.
For the longest time, I have always been so busy that October (and its many birthdays) snuck up on me. I’d forget I’d have a birthday coming. And that was okay because birthdays weren’t too much of a big deal in our family when I was growing up. However, this year? I mourned.
I mourned the loss of a chance to celebrate a milestone birthday that only comes once in life. And I mourned it because I promised myself last year that I’d enjoy life more by celebrating birthdays more in 2020, especially mine. And in a way, I feel like my plans had been jinxed.
The thought of celebrating birthdays like I had talked about in last year’s article was now null and void. I went back to the “it’s not that big of a deal” mindset. And you know what? I found myself feeling sad, a lot sadder than I expected.
As a woman who follows through no matter how long it takes her, I hated not being able to follow through on my intentions to celebrate life, my life, more.
However, there’s a good side to all of this. It gave me time to think and time to reflect. A lot. And that’s what this article is about: all my thoughts, prayers, hopes, and dreams for this next year and beyond. Get ready because it’s a long one.
A few years ago, I was at my mom’s house and was just soaking up my moments with her. I was very much in the moment, watching her talk and laugh. All of the sudden, I noticed just how white her hair had become. And it broke my heart. My mom had aged so much and I hadn’t noticed. I was too busy to notice.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I was combing my hair and saw a white strand near my forehead. As I combed, I saw even more white strands all over my head. I had aged quite a bit and didn’t realize it either.
This past year marked 12 years since my dad left this world. I remember thinking at the time that 54 was way too young. Now, I can’t believe a dozen years have passed. Has it really been 12 full years that have come and gone?
My younger brother is now a stepfather and is running his own business. I also have a sister-in-love in dermatology. When did all this happen?
To be frank, I don’t want time to be going by this quickly and I don’t want any of us to get older.
I want my dad to still be around and for both him and my mom to be around forever. Maybe that’s why I want children, to prolong time in experiencing love, family, and togetherness. If I really sit down and think about it, I go into panic mode, fearing that I’m running out of time on my biological clock. My family means so much to me that I want my mom to have grandchildren and for my brother to have nieces and nephews.
God-willing, my greatest dream of starting a family with the right man will happen. Until that day arrives, I’ll be working on taking care of myself and praying for my family, immediate and future.
For years, I had a hard time figuring out who I was. At first, I tied my identity to my career and became incredibly lost because of it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living and for me, that was a huge part of feeling lost.
Then several years ago, I took an eye-opening freedom course at church and it helped me more than I expected.
It wasn’t until I suffered from anxiety that I began to learn more about myself too. For me, reading the Bible eased my anxiety, so that’s what I did. When it came to devotions, I focused on identity. The more I read, the more my anxiety began to fade. And the more my anxiety faded away, the more I began to truly understand my identity.
I can definitely vouch for the fact that as you get older, you start to care less about what other people think. However, I can attest that when you know who you are and to whom you belong, your confidence in your identity goes through the roof. You become more humble and grounded, appreciate life more, pick and choose your battles wisely and do more without giving fear a lot of space to creep into your life.
Years ago, after one too many bad men, I decided to stop dating. I no longer wanted to waste my time with insecure, selfish, and cocky men. You name it, I’ve probably experienced it. Lying to me saying that they’ve already broken up with their girlfriend when they hadn’t? Check. Asking me to wait if things don’t work out with their current girlfriend? Check. Not knowing he had a child even after an entire year of knowing/talking him? Check.
Ladies and gentlemen, all the above is true. And do you want to know the saddest part? There’s more stories like that and to boot, these experiences were all before an official boyfriend/girlfriend relationship could even begin!
Many moons ago, one of my best friends and I talked about how we don’t like to waste our time, especially on men. The more we talked about it, the more it made sense for us. We talked about finding our identity, figuring out our career paths, and learning our own definitions of success. The conclusion? Why should we let a guy who doesn’t have his life
remotely together derail or distract us when he’s also clearly not ready to come along for the ride?
Why on earth would we waste our time on a guy who has no idea what he wants out of life (or at the very least, have an idea of where he’s going) or someone who isn’t grounded in his identity to a point where he gets jealous of us having a lot of guy friends?
Just typing these things is exhausting. Get my point?
To clarify, I know and am very aware that fantastic men do exist. I just haven’t personally met many of them.
The truth is, even on this milestone of a birthday, I’d rather be single than be in a drama-filled relationship. I’m just not willing to settle for a mediocre man. And I’m not willing to babysit him as he figures out his entire life. He has to know who he is and he has to know what he wants out of life. And he has to have faith in himself, confidence in his abilities, and actually goes for what he wants.
We would be partners who do our own thing while we support and encourage each another. I just can’t settle for anyone less than this type of partnership.
And I await the day I meet this magical unicorn.
I don’t talk about my faith much as I feel it’s something personal. I will say that since reading the Bible, even if it’s just a daily verse or devotion or one passage a day, it’s truly lit a fire under me.
I’ve learned so much about my calling, and furthered my understanding on how I can use my talents to help others while not wasting my God-given gifts. Attending leadership conferences and small groups has deepened my understanding of it all and of God.
After a decade and a half, I still consider myself a baby Christian because I know I have a lot left to learn. I feel like I’m just now beginning to understand who God says I am…fearfully and wonderfully made. And I’m beginning to understand who He is and that with every passing birthday, just how blessed I am too.
Having God by my side certainly makes my life a lot better, more fun, and easier.
While I don’t feel like a complete failure, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished what I should have by this particular milestone of a birthday either. And I’m saying this not by society’s standards and timeframe, but my own.
It took me a long time to realize and learn how to use my gift of writing. Part of me feels like I’m way behind. And even though I don’t know where I’ll end up exactly, the point is to use and exhaust my gifts before I take my last breath. I’ve been jotting down thoughts for a book in the future. I even completed a song with one of my best friends this year too. All I want to do is to keep using my talents to continue publishing on this blog to help others.
On a similar note, the thought of being an “old blogger” crossed my mind earlier this year. I even contemplated why I was doing something that looked like it was meant for young(er) people. To be frank, I already feel old in the online world. With platforms like TikTok, I feel like my age is enhanced even more so too.
Never in a million years did I think that I’d be in the “influencers” category.
Why? I never pegged myself as a seller. Rather, I see myself as a writer and storyteller. However, as time goes on, I keep hearing from readers about how they trust me. And isn’t that what influencers do? They establish trust. And if they’re really genuine, they can sell through storytelling. All that to say, I guess influence does come with the territory of writing.
Maybe, I am an influential blogger? I mean, I don’t see myself closing the blogging chapter any time soon. I love it too much. Writing, communicating, networking, and creating is what makes my heart sing. When brands reach out to me, I find myself thinking, “How can I style their product that will do their brand (and my brand) justice?” and “What’s the most creative way I can shoot this product or tell this story? And one that hasn’t been done before?”
I get giddy thinking about creating content as my full-time job. And what I look forward to most in the future is doing this with my favorite brands while I travel the world!
Although my income hasn’t increased for me to quit my day job yet, this article from Vogue about Influencers as the future of retail made me feel so good and was published just in time for my birthday.
And yes, I am being responsible by building my savings account and saving for retirement. However, I can’t see myself retired because I love to work. The fact that I know I can never “retire” due to crappy options for retirement that our grandparents (and some parents) already have is also a reason for me to never stop creating for a living.
My style has evolved tremendously over the years. From having enough red clothes to wear for an entire month to matching my eyeshadow to my tops to favoring neon colors, I’ve come a very long way, haha!
From making fast fashion purchases to emotional shopping to now making well-thought out purchases, I’m incredibly happy with where I’m headed fashion-wise. My wardrobe continues to be pared down to quality, timeless pieces that speaks to my personal style.
And I do not ever plan to stop dressing how I feel in my old age. Yes, I will be that woman who will still get her hair done, looks puts together even in leggings, who will still love to wear designers duds, and I will pass that on to my grandchildren.
On a similar note, granted, I didn’t have an official birthday outfit this year per se, but next year? You can bet, I will be purchasing an entire outfit, head-to-toe, all from my favorite brands/designers to wear!
When I was a kid, I hated that I was flat-chested AND had to wear glasses and braces. I was struggling big time. My family was going through a lot at this time as well. I was made fun of more than I cared for because I wore glasses and was a quiet kid. I didn’t have a lot of real friends either. And because my parents were super strict, I didn’t have a social life. Needless to say, middle school was not a favorite time in my life.
Fast forward to my young adult years and it’s a completely different ballgame. The glasses and braces came off and was replaced with contacts and a beautiful smile just in time for high school. Dance and choir ended up boosting my self-esteem too.
As a result, I didn’t have a ton of insecurities when I was a young adult. I loved my mindset and my body. I loved that my mindset was getting stronger. And I also loved my long and thick hair, easy-to-tan nearly hairless skin, and my body. I still do.
Although I’ve gained a ton of weight in the last five years, I still love my body. Why? Because I know I can always release the weight and be in better shape now than I was in high school. After all, my mindset and confidence in myself is a lot stronger. And I can control what kind of body I want.
What I don’t love? On this birthday, I don’t necessarily love the grey strands of hair that represent how fast life is flying by, how expensive skincare products that actually work are, and the distorted idea of beauty due to the internet and social media.
Even though “Asians don’t raisin,” I do know that I want to age gracefully by loving myself even more so.
Before the pandemic hit, I went to the gym religiously for two straight years. This December will mark an entire year since I’ve been inconsistent with working out. And honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. Part of me is thankful to be using this break to sleep more because God knew I needed sleep. Badly. Another part of me misses the gym so much!
I still can’t believe I thought this thought, have said it out loud several times, and have now written it down on my blog to forever live on the internet.
2020 has been the longest break from the gym I’ve taken since beginning my health journey. And I’m feeling uneasy about it. I’m worried about my performance when life returns to a new normal this time next year. I know I’ll be excited when I get back to my first weighted HIIT session, but I also know I’ll be freaking out on the inside. Will I be able to lift weights as easily as I did before? I mean, carrying a dining room chair to my kitchen feels heavy to me right now. Did I mention that I absolutely hate starting all over when it comes to working out? Ugh.
And if I let myself think about it too much, I start fearing the reality: the fact that my body is decaying more as I age.
Then again, when I see that a fit 84 year old grandma can look like the way she does, what do I need to be afraid of?
Here’s to manifesting being in the best shape of my life by my birthday this time next year!
When I was in high school, I hated the thought of never seeing my friends again. Now that I understand what true and real friendships are from the school of life, not seeing certain friends isn’t the worst thing in the world.
As an adult, I have various friendship levels: best friends, close friends, good friends, friends, and acquaintances. And I for one, prefer to be in contact with best and close friends the most. These people are people I have as “favorites” in my phone. These people are who I’d invite to my future wedding and they would be, hands down, the kind I’d trust to keep details of my life private should I become famous. The ones who can keep secrets are my kind of people.
During my birthday this year, I also realized that I’ve become a very private person.
For the past few years, I pulled back on sharing videos on my Instagram stories. And the main reason is that I don’t want to give the internet too many details about where I live, what I eat, what gym I frequent, where I shop, etc. I’ve also found myself not sharing my entire wardrobe too. That, I don’t know why considering I’m a fashion blogger, ha!
At the beginning of this pandemic, I learned that I was okay with being a hermit crab. What I’m not okay with now is having to take a rain check on coffee, lunch, and dinner dates with friends. I even had to RSVP a ‘No’ to a small Thanksgiving gathering. God, I miss social gatherings and dinner with friends. I absolutely hate not having a balance of having a social life and being a homebody.
In my early twenties, I traveled a ton for school, work, and leisure. I felt on top of the world because I was having the best time of my life. Seeing Italy, France, and Greece have been the cherry on top of my European travels so far. Among local-ish destinations? I loved seeing Canada. And Alaska was something else. Mother Nature was just showing off there!
I was seeing going places and seeing countries my parents hadn’t visited.
For this year’s milestone birthday, I really wanted to take a cruise somewhere. Yes, I was willing to overlook being seasick just to visit a country I had yet to visit because I love traveling that much.
One of my favorite things about traveling is that giddy feeling I get when I clock out on my last day of work before going on vacation. And as much as I hate not getting sleep the night before a flight, I miss planning trips with my friends and packing outfits to snap and share later.
I yearn for the day I get to visit the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, and Japan with my best friends. I’m also dying to go back to Italy, France, and Greece with them too. Partly because of the memories and the other because of the food. Let’s be real, haha!
I know it’s been seven months for the entire world, but for me, it’s really been seven years since I’ve traveled to another country. And it saddens me that it’s been that long ago.
Right now, I’m dreaming, saving, and planning to take more family-focused trips. My mom has always wanted to see Hawaii and my sister-in-love wants to go to Japan in the next few years.
Since I wasn’t able to go places with my dad before he passed away, one of my greatest dreams in life is to be able to take my mom to see the world with me. It’s my ultimate birthday prayer for this to happen.
Although I understand that the older we get, the busier we are, and the less we’re open to being spontaneous, I still want to live a great lifestyle. On this particular birthday, my young mindset has come to terms that I just don’t want to fall into a routine. I still want to be spontaneous even when I’m older, and even when have a family of my own. I mean, what is a fun life without some spontaneity, right?
While, I am nowhere near marriage, I’ve always thought about what my future lifestyle would be like. And while I’m not making the kind of money I want (yet), I have always thought about living a luxury lifestyle.
On this milestone of a birthday, I’ve thought in-depth about how I want to live my life. And honestly? I want my life to be full of love, laughter, amazing relationships with people, wonderful memories, and luxurious shopping trips. I also want to celebrate my birthday more with every passing year. To have my passport stamped from all over the world would be a dream come true as well.
To live a life of adventure and comfort with my family and friends is my ultimate dream. I not only want to shower them with gifts, but I want to give them the best experiences life (and money) has to offer.
As you can see, I’ve had a lot of time to think about on my birthday this year.
Not only has this milestone of a birthday a part of deep reflection, it and 2020, has given me a lot more to think about in regards to planning than I expected.
And before I end this article, let me clarify something.
I’m very aware of the blessing that is called life and love where my journey is heading. However, I’m not ranting nor am I asking for pity from my readers. That’s not the point of this article. I just wanted to be real and raw with things that have been on my mind lately, as I do with everything I publish.