36th: Aging, Apathy and Acceptance

I was a few months shy of 25 when I moved to Holland. Yet in the first few years, I would always be carded if I buy alcohol or cigarette. I don’t remember exactly when they stopped asking for my I.D. but last week at work, I jokingly asked a colleague if I still looked 27 and he looked at me confused and sternly said ‘no”, as if my question was the most bizarre he heard that day.

Eleven years of living in the Netherlands and I barely noticed how time changed. I recently turned 36 and since my immigration, the years have been grinding steadily, albeit boringly consistent. I fell in-love, I migrated, I worked, I amused myself with wine, travel and marathons in between, I bought a house, I started a family and since then life had been about motherhood and working to pay the mortgage, debts and house renovations.

(Don’t worry! This is not a quit-my-job-to-travel-the-world kind of post)

I think I talked about this in last year’s birthday blog. To break the monotony in my life, I feel like I needed a challenge, another ultra-marathon or perhaps a new degree. I was seriously weighing my options until the Covid-19 pandemic throws my 2020 plans out the window. From wanting a new adventure, I slipped into a state of indifference, a slow descent into apathy.

Or was it apathy? Didn’t 2019 just crush me and I’m still recovering from the shock?

2019. I roll the word off my tongue full with nostalgia. Because 2019 feels like it belongs to a different lifetime.

Was it really just one year ago since we buried my father in-law? Was it really just a year ago when I tried to run an ultra-marathon and travelled to lessen the impact of his death?

Maybe 2020 was meant to be this way. Maybe it wanted me to mourn, to slow down with the things I wanted to achieve, to actively look inside me and re-examine life more carefully. Maybe it wanted me to experience this apathy so that it can show me the way forward.

(In fact, I didn’t know apathy was the word I was looking for to describe my state of mind until I started writing this post).

At 36, I’m a few kilos above my ideal weight, my face has aged, and I have visible layers of flab in my stomach. While I can probably blame it on pregnancy and slowed metabolism, the truth is I let it all happen. Despite broken nights, I was fit until the 2nd half of 2019. Everything went downhill when I lost interest in training for another race. And perhaps I’ve reached my lowest point this month when I started stocking up on candies and cookies, which you would never find in my pantry before.

So yes, maybe I needed to give myself time, to make space in my head and acknowledge my state of mind. It’s only with acceptance that I would be able to deal with it.

This is a birthday blog but I actually celebrated my birthday few months ago, but I couldn’t write down my thoughts coherently.

But last week, I went to Yoga twice and even ran 40 minutes on Saturday. It’s far from running 100 kilometers weekly, but I’m already proud of the fact that I managed to get off the couch on a cold and rainy Autumn day. I even made a pact with myself (for the nth time) to start training again and take meditation seriously. Hopefully, my mojo will also pick up along the way.

And how am I dealing with aging and looking like it? I recently upgraded from supermarket facial products to respected beauty brands. I know I have to pay more attention to my skin. Like all the other areas in my life, my body, my well-being, they need proper care, now more than ever.