Thursday, 29 March 2012

40 is the new 20... Definitely NOT...!!

My 40th birthday went uneventful last year, spending it together with Hari Raya holiday in Bangkok with my in-laws. Nothing special happened and I didn't feel any difference between celebrating my 31st, 35th or 40th birthday. At that time, turning 40 was just a number.

Last week, suddenly I could really feel "The 40 Effect". I was just resting when all these feelings came unannounced. There was this voice knocking on my head and said,"Hey you, you have spent half of your life already." The voice woke me up like an electric shock. Although I had always realized that my youth has long abandoned me, since a 20-year-old college student called me auntie..;(, only last week I felt that I am actually "not-so-young-anymore"..! Seriously...

What have I done in the first half of my life? What would I do on the next half?

I can tell you I did so many stupid, silly, crazy, embarassing, dangerous, nasty and ridiculous things during that first half. Along the way, I did hurt several people with my words and actions. How I wish I could tell those people how sorry I am, how stupid and inconsiderate I was. I told myself not to be as stupid, compulsive, erratic, and selfish in the second half of my life.

While most westerners celebrate youths and despise growing old, I find myself enjoying my wisdom age. A lot of people told me how nice it was to be young again... To be 17 again.. OMG, I don't think I want to be 17 again..! I can't imagine wearing huge shoulder pads with big Janet Jackson hair and Madonna net stocking..! (I still have my horrid pictures that make my husband laughing and teasing me nonstop).

I don't want to be broken heart and crying over lost love again (I m still stuck with huge eyebags). I don't want to study until 3am and have to go for exams anymore. I still have nightmares about being unprepared for pop quizz and forgetting homeworks. I don't want to endanger people with my zig zag driving anymore. I don't want to do embarassing things anymore (too many to count).

Turning 40 makes me feel more relax. I don't care about what strangers think about me. I am done trying to impress people. I know what's important in my life. I can finally differentiate between love, lust, in love and like. I can now live with the fact that different is good and arguments are not always bad. I can think using my brain instead of relying purely on my feeling.  I can see inner beauty behind imperfections. I can see evil behind sweet pretty faces.

The only downside of turning 40 is I can't eat 8 greasy meals a day without worrying about my cholesterol and my waist anymore.  While I gained weight easily, I could also lose it fast.  My weight in a week could be as volatile as the stock market.  Now... once it goes up..... It really stays there for weeks no matter how many times I hit the gym or do my Janet Jackson moves.

Other than that, 40 is fabulous.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

No more wild party and flirting, brother....

My youngest brother ended his single life last week. He had a very romantic and intimate beach-front wedding on sunset surrounded by close relatives and friends. When I said close, I really mean super tightly close that made my mom roll her eyes and wanted to scream.

He wanted to get married in this beautiful private villa in Bali that can only accomodate a maximum of 80 people. While it may be normal in the West to have a small intimate wedding, it's nearly impossible to have it in Asia. The allocation for groom's family was only 30 pax, with the rest was divided among bride's family and their friends. My mother had a very difficult time trying to figure out how to tell our relatives that she couldn't invite them for the wedding. She tried to make my brother change his mind but he had his own idea of his dream wedding and we had to respect that. In the end, my parents decided to invite ONLY their siblings, without the children (my cousins) and none of their friends. They were embarrassed and feeling so bad for not being able to invite everybody....

I could see how happy my brother was on his wedding day. He really had his dream wedding. Despite the initial rejection of having a small wedding, my parents had a great time... Spending really intimate, quality time with their brothers and sisters, with their in-laws, with my grandmother, with my brothers and sister, with their grand children and the bride's family. It was really a celebration of love. Everything was so beautiful that I got emotional. I couldn't hold my tears when both of them said their wedding vows. The tears loosened the glue on my right false lashes. It peeled off and stuck on my tissue...!! Heck, I peeled off the other lashes out... It was not my wedding anyway, the false lashes may go..



When I talked to my friends about this small wedding, their first question was, "How could your mom approve it?" From my siblings' and my weddings, I learned from my parents about being unselfish, about giving the best wedding presents to their children (by trying to make it a stress-free wedding) and about giving freedom to their children (people say freedom is the best thing in life).

My younger sister had to shake hands with 2,000 guests on her wedding day.  It consisted mainly of my parents's business associates, friends and relatives. She was sent to Emergency Room at 2am after the party due to exhaustion. But she was very happy because she had her dream wedding... She loved and had always wanted a big wedding.

Everybody has a different idea of his/her dream wedding. I am so thankful to have parents who let their children have their own dream weddings although sometimes they had to hold the embarrassment when their friends asked them why they were not invited.

I had a small wedding too... I only had 330 close friends and relatives. I only invited relatives and friends who still communicated with me regularly, who were in my life constantly. I didn't invite distant relatives whom I saw once in 4 years (or more) and acquaintances who didn't even know my last name. I wanted to celebrate the happiest day of my life with people who really knew me, who cared and loved me... Not people who just wanted to see how my husband looked like, whether I look ugly in my dress, what kind of food was served or even worse, those who wanted to get some ingredients to make juicy gossips. I met this lady who told me, "I really want to see how your husband looks like because I was not invited to your wedding.". I was surprised that after 12 years, this fella still remembered that she was not invited to my wedding. From the way she said it, it clearly showed that she really wanted to tell me that she was not happy being excluded. However I was so glad I didn't have her on my wedding because she falls into the third group: people who come to weddings to get materials for juicy gossips. I knew it because right after that she gave me this interview of my husband and his family background. I just ignored her.... It's simply none of her business and I didn't want to waste my time for her noisy stuff.

While my wedding was done exactly like I wanted, actually I had always known that the wedding itself was not really that important. The Marriage is. A lot of people concentrate too much on the weddings but after that forgotten about the seriousness of marriages.  Marriage is a long journey that makes couples smile, smittened, daydreaming, laugh, and experience the most intense feelings of love.  But it also makes couples cry, fight, angry, sad, frown and experience the most intense feeling of hatred, of wanting to drop everything and leave (or even kill someone).  It is more complex than arranging flowers, selecting menus, getting the perfect dress, having 5-tiered cake or even flying guests accross the ocean.

Right after Akad Nikah, when I was officially become a Mrs., my husband told me that from that moment on, we should not care whether or not my make up melted, whether the food was enough, whether the sound system was bad or even if it rained (we had an open-air wedding at the valley). The most important thing was that we were (are and inshaallah will always be...) husband and wife. I like that...

To my brother who may read this blog...  Wishing you a happy and beautiful Marriage Life, as beautiful as your wedding was. May God always guide and bless you...

And to my new sister-in-law.. Welcome to our big loud family and hope you will get used to his snoring... :-)