This is as thankful as it is gonna get: 25 years and (hopefully) counting!

In a few hours’ time I am turning 25. Well technically, I turn 25 at past 12 in the afternoon tomorrow but I digress. So 25. Quarter-life. I am finally entering that phase and what have I done with my life?

I’d like to think I turned out well. Probably not what my parents wanted at all but seeing as I am 24, employed, living independently, it counts for something, doesn’t it? The road to my ‘freedom’ wasn’t an easy one, mind you. I was a difficult child to love and raise, always crossing lines, but I am thankful my parents didn’t lose hope in me, because if they did, I’d probably be one messed up child.

Oh the stunts I pulled during my awkward adolescent years. My parents are not perfect, but they did well by me during that time. Yes we said some pretty bad things to each other, we hurt each other. That was a long time ago, I’d like to think we’d forgiven each other. I realized my anger with my mother (yeah we went through a very tough time) dissipated when my aunt once talked to me, and she said, “You know, I am happy to see that you’re not angry with your mom anymore. I can see it, in your actions, in your speech… I am happy you’ve let that go.” And it brought me to tears. Letting go of anger isn’t a very happy thing to do, but then you grow up, and realize holding on to it isn’t a very adult and sensible thing to do. The scars would always be a reminder of the battles we’ve fought (against each other) but it would also serve as a reminder to me of the things she wanted to teach me. And if there’s one thing I learned from her, that is learning to live independently. At the age of 14 I knew that there’s nobody else  I could count on to but myself. All the world, and the people may disappear but all you have is yourself. She taught me that. Live and toughen up. She didn’t let me be a sissy and for that I am truly grateful for my mother. My Dad, on the other hand, taught me how to love, forgive and share. Oh yes, you can say he and my mother are two very different persons but they have the same goals: give us a good life, educate us on the ways of life, and let us live. Sure they have very different ways of showing how they care and love us, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Oh wait, actually I do – perhaps a little more warmth from my Mom during my teen years would have helped but then, that’s her – that’s how she shows me she cares. She let me explore the world, they both did. And I have seen the beauty and madness of it – through my very eyes.  I didn’t really like what I have seen, but, I know there’s more where that came from, so – toughen up.

My sisters are wonderful, even though we bicker  a lot. I grew up with four siblings. Our eldest – oh she’s perfect. I think she is. She never was a headache, she did very well in school, graduated with great grades from the country’s top university, has a family, a wonderful husband and two very adorable kids. She’s tough but caring, loving, thoughtful. I wanted to be like her – but sadly, I failed in all aspects. She treats me like an equal, and that’s what I love about her. She talks to me like I am an adult and not a child. She used to worry and cry about me a lot. It’s funny – she’s more worried about me than I am! She’s always there for all of us, and now I assumed her position of “head sister” since she now has a family of her own. Oh I couldn’t do what she could, but I’m trying – doing it on my own terms and capability. She believes in me, in what I can do – she never pushed her beliefs to me, which is great. She gives me advices, but does not push it in my face. I love that about her.

My not so little sisters! Where to begin? They have very different and distinct personalities. No wonder we fight most of the time, but they are wonderful just the same. Anna, the third one – is the quiet, brooding, intelligent, introvert. You can say she’s very hard to read and very hard to get along with, but she could be sweet and thoughtful too. She does not show a lot of emotions (very much like my mom) but when she does, it does shine through. That’s why I am always happy when she shares stories of her week, what happened in school, those stuff. She can be lazy though and it gets frustrating. Actually, all of them are lazy – Rio (4th) and Maye, the baby. It’s very frustrating – but that’s a different story. Rio is the outgoing type. She’s dependable, loyal, but very secretive – just like me. She likes dolling up, she’s resourceful, and really an all around gal. But as I said, she can be secretive, and she has a really sharp tongue I’d like to cut sometime. We talk a lot – she shares stuff with me and I appreciate it. We could talk freely about things but when my protective side kicks in, well, things don’t turn out so well, but we work it out. And the baby sister! She’s always at the top of the class, sweet, thoughtful, and still very childish. She is our baby and I guess in a way she’ll always be the pampered one. My only worry is that she’d find it hard to adjust when she has to finally learn to live independently but there’s still time. She’s always the one who has gifts for us on our birthdays, on Christmas, and other special occasions. You can say the five of us are a nice mix.

My cousins, oh goodness. Our childhood was colourful  wonderful and all-around COOL. All of us are just so close – I have fifteen cousins from my Mom’s side and two from my Dad’s. We’re all so close to each other. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything – they have made it the best. We are all grown up now, but that sense of family and love stays the same, and it will continue to. Oh I miss all of you everyday – especially those who are far away from us. I am always here. We’d always stick together.

At my parents’ age, I never knew they’d meet friends that would love them and make them ‘family’. But they did. And my sisters and I grew up with their kids as well. We’re at it now for 10 years. Isn’t it great? It’s wonderful that we just all ballooned up into one big family even without blood relations. It goes to show family isn’t only based on blood – but by love, respect, and friendship. They”ve all been supportive of each other, and I admire that friendship, that love. I wish us, their children, would be able to continue that. It’s a beautiful thing.

In my 25 years of existence I’d like to think I made good friends, and that I am a good friend. I have gained a lot, and lost some. I have good friends – and I am thankful I met them. In friendships, we share our lives with them, we love, trust and respect our friends. Thankfully, my friends are all like that. I may not always reach out and keep them updated of my everyday life, but they all are always in my prayers. I wouldn’t trade their friendship for anything. Most of them  I met at school – imagine being together with them everyday. They have seen me at my worst and at my best, and accepted me as I am. Some I met under weird circumstances, but what I cannot deny is that each friendship I made is destined to happen. We do not keep in touch or see each other as often as we’d like, but one thing is for sure: the love remains. Also, when I started my current job, I didn’t expect to find good friends – but I did. And oh boy, everyday sure was fun. We just love each other. We care for each other like brothers and sisters and I couldn’t be more thankful. You guys rock! I will always treasure each and every one of you.

I have also been in a couple of failed relationships. Oh the times I spent wishing all of them didn’t happen! But they did, and all because of my naïve youthfulness. I never believed in courtship. My rule was, if we both like each other and like to see if it would work out, then let’s. Apparently, it’s not a very practical rule. I got my heart broken couple of times because of that! But one did work out. It’s been on for six years now. I’d like to think we will be able to make it through for a long time. I just never met one quite like him. Oh the multitude of feelings he makes me feel, even now – I don’t know of that’s healthy or not, all I know is they keep me grounded. I learned a lot from him, I love his family – they are wonderful – generous, kind, just lovely! They welcomed me and considers me family – how lucky am I? I’d forever be grateful that they accepted me. It is a privilege, an honour  They are really wonderful. Oh and of course I do love him. We have been through hell and back, and I am not saying going through hell is a good idea – but we made it through, and I am thankful. Nobody knows what will happen next – but we’re okay, we’re fine. We have faith; we’re going to make it.

Career – (or the lack of it). I have been working for four years as a Production Editor. Three years for Springer US, and now I am currently working for Wiley. It’s not really the job I wanted to end up with, but I learned a lot from the publishing world, not to mention being in contact with the world’s pioneers in the fields of humanities, sciences, medicine, technology, economics and social sciences – it’s a pretty great feeling. Plus, seeing your name as part of the Editorial Board. How great is that? I am honoured to be working alongside these great people – my colleagues, my journal contacts – but perhaps this isn’t my field. I am not unhappy with it; but I just don’t see myself growing old in this industry. It is a great opportunity – but I might leave soon. I will miss it, definitely. My colleagues have all been supportive, helpful, and indulgent – I’d definitely miss all of you. You’re angels.

So how do you measure a life well-lived? Career? Success? Money? Love? Fame? Influence? If so,  I am pretty doomed then. I wish for a lot of things, I hunger for things that probably don’t matter, and I dream a lot. I don’t think my life is fruitful, or even meaningful. I am just one of those people who exist – with the same existence. We work, live, love, eat, do everyday things – without knowing what for. We could say for family, for ourselves, for a loved one, for a lot of things, lot of people – then what does it mean? How does it matter? This sounds like existential bullshit, and I guess it is –  but I’d very much like to believe life has a meaning. Well, we live and we die. I guess when you did your best to live it, and been good to people, it’s okay.

So I guess after that very long post (part rant), I just wanted to thank all the people who shared their lives with me. You stayed by me and it’s all that matters. I love you all. I’m looking forward for more years with you! That is, if you’ll have me still.

25 years. Everything’s uncertain. Things happened and will continue to happen. Who knows how long I’ll live? Let me live. Let me love. Let me write. Let me day dream. Let me do things, everything, at least once. Perhaps it is the secret to life. This is a gratuitous post, oh yes, but indulge me – at the moment, this is the best way I can lay it all down. And currently, Beck’s Loser is playing. (If this song any indication, then I am screwed.)

A very happy 25th birthday to me tomorrow!


5 thoughts on “This is as thankful as it is gonna get: 25 years and (hopefully) counting!

  1. Oh dear, where to start?

    I am suddenly reminded of the anger that I used to have for my mother. It’s been so long that it could have been a previous life. It just dissipated through a process called… what? Forgiveness, perhaps?

    And oh, we missed you last Sunday? We could have initiated you into the book club in cold blood, haha. Happy Birthday! 😀

  2. 최다해 gongjumonica says:

    I am currently calling you, Cupcake, but the operator said you can’t be reached. Oh, where in the world are you? Hahaha! Happy birthday, dear! Will try to call you again later 😀

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