A counterpoint to Lyka's 'A Time to Kiel'.
This morning: I woke up on the first day of my 39th year, I got off the bed, kissed JP off to work, shitted, shaved and showered. Naked, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. Creases in my face. A certain roundedness in my stomach. A giving-in on the firmness of the ass. The ravages of the years.
“This is you at 39 – live with it.”
I packed my bags and went to work.
In the office, I try to finish the Nth project proposal of the last 5 months. My thoughts meandered and I pondered how my life has changed in a year.
A year ago today, I had a high-paying, high-profile job. I was respected by the people I worked with. I lived with a man who loved me and dogs that adored me. I lived in a house with a sitting room that opened up to a courtyard garden and a patio with a view of the city. I was surrounded by interesting people. And while I consider only a small fraction of them as friends, they all show up to my parties.
I felt lost. I needed to go home.
So I moved back to the Philippines.
After a dabbling with the idea of freelancing, I committed to a new job for a year – nowhere as high-paying or as high-profile – and I am still in the process of earning the respect of my new colleagues. There’s loads of travel which I don’t like but my boss is willing to negotiate. In this job, I haven’t found a need to stop myself from saying what I think for fear of some foreign superior’s disapproval.
Sometime after the move JP broke up with me twice saying I might be better off without him. I broke down in pieces each time but I managed to find some parts of me strong enough to assure him this were not so.
Now I live in a hotel with JP. We left the dogs in Africa with his kids. We are still waiting for his business deals to become final before moving our new apartment. It will be modest by comparison, but I look forward to my mother bringing my sister-in-law’s adobo every week. And I’m starting a monthly poker night with my brothers.
I also re-connected with my gang. That group which is more family (that you chose as opposed to that you were born with) than friends. We don’t see each other often but each get together is blog-worthy. I help organised two 40th birthday parties and we are now planning our Christmas holiday in Baguio – kids and all. I reconnected with id, a close friend I used to work with and we took ball room dancing for a while and try to have blog brainstorming once a week.
I started a blog. Made blog friends. Won the titi twice in a row. The last one made me think and so now I write this post.
My life is not perfect. I made decisions that may not make sense to anybody else but me. But they are mine. I have a feeling that I found my place and in the process I have been found. Being with people I love and who loves me I am reminded of Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to Edward in the movie “The Hours”:
”To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.”
illustration in this post by Ismail Fatah Al Turk