Updated: Apr 3, 2020
In 13 days, I will hit 39. Meaning my last year in the turbulent thirties bracket. Which, in my head also means the last 378 days of technically being young. That amplified with unpredictable mood swings from Tamoxifen.
WOW. What a great way to transition to midlife!!! (GULP.)
I'd be lying to the world if I'll proclaim that I'm grateful and happy yada, yada... all that positivism pop culture we are so into nowadays.
Okay, let me correct that: I am grateful to still be alive at this point and yes I am happy to be given the second chance to life but as a live and loud woman who maximized her youth to the fullest... show business, global travels and crazy rendezvous here and there... kissing the younger years goodbye is a tough pill to swallow. I know that there are much bigger problems in the world than me morphing into an adult but as I always advocate in my blogs, I have to feel what I feel because feelings are valid.
Call it way too early but I'm experiencing an advanced grieving as I exit my 38 years. (Dear Birthday Blues: YOU SUCK.)
But I won't let all this "boo-hoo sucks to be you" feeling stop me from doing my WINNING thing. (Repeat after me: I REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM!) Thus, I'm turning things around and note down 10 realizations I've gained from living in this wild world for 38 years with awkward short hair and a cute scarred left boob added in the mix.
1) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. LITERALLY.
Broken family, teenage self-esteem issues, dirty pretentious show business, solo globe trotting, multiple heart breaks, depression, anxiety, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, estrogen block... all of that and I'm still alive, would you believe?! Yes all of these challenging experiences somewhat placed multiple chips on my shoulder but it also gave birth to Jaymee 2.0 a.k.a. "Jaymee Wins," my stronger, feistier, go-getter, say what's on my mind, allergic to bullshit version. And there ain't no holding back from here.
2) Prejudice does exist. IT SUCKS.
I thought they just exaggerate on TV and in the movies but they don't. It's a real, existing issue! In my experience, it was never done in my face but I still experience it passively through backhanded comments, treatment in the workplace and shopping at stores. There's this constant need to work harder, prove something and go above and beyond as an immigrant. But I'm willing to stretch my emotional and intellectual growth muscles to keep improving. If that's what it takes to WIN, so be it.
3) Transitioning to midlife is hard. IT'S NO JOKE.
I never understood before why people go nuts when they're about to hit mid-age. All of a sudden, they get a sports car, learn how to play an instrument, get wild in the clubs or change their hairstyle to mohawk. In short, the hungry teenage rebel within has been resurrected! I totally get it now. Transitioning to midlife is a huge milestone reminder that youth is done. And as I am transitioning to mine, I can't help but munch on more chocolates than usual, be extra vain and splurge on shopping here and there. Thank God there's yoga to help me get to acceptance stage with ease. (Breath in, breath out...)
4) Haters gonna HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE.
When I was young, I've always had the tendency to people please. But I realized that you can be the most cultured, educated, polite, honest and kindest person in the world but some people will still hate you. And this gets worse when you're becoming more successful. The more you progress, the more haters you get. So either you stay mediocre and be in agreement with the world. Or be great and learn to rise above the haters. I chose the later. I didn't fight for my life to be extended just to live in mediocrity. F*ck that I choose to WIN.
5) Control is an illusion. NO SUCH THING.
There are certain things we can control in our lives... how we spend our money, how we manage our weight, our way of thinking, and what we will eat for dinner. But generally, we have no control over what life will throw at us. My perfect analogy is the wave and the surfer. We can't navigate the current that creates the waves. We can just learn how to paddle in and glide through with whatever wave gets in our way... big or small. Same with life. Sometimes, shit just happens. Big or small. And the only thing you can control is how you'd manage and react as crap hits the fan. So let go, let flow and trust the Creator. Only he sees the bigger picture.
6) Most people can't handle the truth. BOO.
One thing that a breast cancer diagnosis taught me is to be very vocal with feelings and needs. Otherwise, people will be people and assert their own set of insecurities, fears, opinions and limitations on you. Unfortunately, not everyone likes to deal with the truth because it either sucks or it's too much to handle. But you know what? F*ck it. It's your life and happiness at stake. Say what you believe is true to your core and protect your joy bubble from being popped. If others can't handle your ballsy truth, then they shouldn't be a part of your life to begin with.
7) Great energy attracts great energy. SEEK IT.
You are who you surround yourself with. No matter how positive and happy your outlook in life is and yet you hang out with negative and ungrateful people, you will unconsciously adapt their vibe. Before, I feel guilty being too picky with the company I keep. But later on, I realized that choosing the right tribe is a form of self-care. If you had a child and you found out that he/she is hanging out with the delinquents, wouldn't you intervene? So go ahead and seek fellow WINNERS if you want to be one! You deserve to be with people who support your prosperity and vibrate in the same badass frequency as you or higher!
8) You only live once. MAKE SURE YOU DON'T STARVE.
I'm all out for the YOLO hashtag after having a close encounter with death. But just to be on the level-headed side of things, I believe it's important to take calculated risks too. Yes, go ahead and travel the world, follow your passion even if it pays peanuts, do the things that make you happy but at the end of the day, make sure you won't go on major debt, be homeless and starve to death as you're screaming "Carpe Diem!!!". Be financially responsible still even as you live your life just to secure your bases especially as you get older.
9) Don't force a square peg on a hole. CARVE A SQUARE HOLE INSTEAD.
All my life, I've tried to keep my hair long, controlled speaking loud and forced myself to want a white picket fenced house, tea parties, children and pink dresses otherwise known as what most Eastern women want. It took me 38 years and a boob malfunction to realize that it's not me at all. I actually love short hair, I speak with a full voice and I curse, I like small apartments, I like making art not babies and I hate pink. Bottom line, I'm done trying so hard to reshape my square edges just to fit the society's hole. I'd rather make a square shaped hole no matter how hard and long it takes. It's about time I keep it real.
10) Love yourself. FULL ON.
I realized this as I stared at my bald, pale, weak, bloated self during chemo. If I don't love me at my worst, then who the hell will?! From thereon, I saw myself through compassionate, loving and forgiving eyes... life will never be perfect and so will I but I shouldn't punish myself for it because I am doing the very best I can. If you haven't started yet, it's time to start the journey to self-love. Don't wait for a horrible disease to get into it. Yes you are flawed and it's okay. There's always room to learn and improve. You are given the privilege to live by the Creator so you are and will always be worthy of love.