If you ever signed this, thank you.
(I’ve actually not read this yet)

Years ago, my parents threw me a debut party. I really didn’t want to make a fuss, but my mother’s dreamt of organising her (then) only daughter’s 18th birthday all her life, so I agreed. I had the works – the 18 ‘roses’ (special boys you dance with)/ ‘wishes’ (close girl friends)/ ‘stars’ (people who give you special presents), the custom-made gown, the make-up artist, the crazy food spread, the giveaway CD with my 18 favourite tracks, the father’s speech, etc. It was quite a nice shindig if you’re into that  kind of thing – and this will make me sound like a bratty ingrate – but I really didn’t want the whole shebang. All I really wanted was a nice dinner with my complete family followed by an awesome beach trip with friends. And maybe a trip to South America.

I can only remember a few bits from the party. I remember getting antsy as it started so late and feeling irritated when the DJ messed about my playlist for the 18 roses (which became 20 as my father insisted that I danced with his business partners). I remember having a bit of roast beef and a lot of vodka cruisers, but I don’t think I had anything else, not even my cake. I remember swinging the room for requisite table photo ops and realising that half of the guests were my parents’ peers. I remember feeling moved and actually being teary when my friends said their wishes but I actually don’t remember the full list of roses/wishes/stars. I remember seeing a lot of presents, pretty dresses, a new car, old and new friends including two versions of the ‘love of my life’ (or so I thought) and a haze of blue and silver. I remember the drive back home after going out further with friends, thinking hey.. it’s the morning after and it’s not my birthday anymore. I remember feeling that even after this ‘coming-of-age party’ I’ve not exactly come out of age yet. I felt fortunate but rather exhausted and lost and it felt like the future was one big… ‘Huh?!’

On the eve of my birthday, I’m a bit disorganised with my birthday dinner plans (no big ball gowns, truballoos, nor DJs messing my playlist about!) but I have the same feeling of… ‘Huh?!‘ except I suppose this time around I feel more hopeful about things to come. The past decade feels like a proper coming of age because I…

  • have come and gone a few times over, but realised that I’m blessed to have people I can call ‘family’ in all sense of the word. Home will always be home, but my second/third homes are just as beautiful because of the people in it.
  • may have made a number of wrong decisions but learned a lot more lessons than my parents paid the academe for.
  • now know how to protect myself from heartache without having to feel cynical and numbing myself from ‘feeling more than anything I should’. It took me a while, despite being in actual relationships, to actually allow myself to fall in love and to be in love without hesitations and without second-guessing what I feel. It takes a lot of courage, and an amazing partner to make you see that you are worthy and capable of loving.
  • feel more responsible and accountable.
  • have better relationships with people in my life, especially my family. I now understand that everything we’ve argued/debated/discussed about previously has made me a better person. I’ve listened to my parents more in the past few years than I ever have my entire life. They do know best.
  • have a better understanding of my faith. I feel so blessed, so loved and so… saved. Galing mo God, super!
I still have a lot to learn and there are still times when a flicker of doubt crosses my mind. Then again, as with everything that’s happened in the past decade, I just have to chalk it up to experience… dust myself off and move forward. Plus,with the love and support of the family and friends I have, I know everything is going to be alright. The rest may still be unwritten but I’m playing the part; the future may at times seem unclear but hey… at least it looks bright. =)
I still feel like a child sometimes but then again that’s not a bad thing, aye? I am so looking forward to another year of learning, good food, clumsiness, corny jokes and amazing tunes.
Thank you, you crazy nutters, for staying with me in this journey. =)

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