I know when I started off with 2010, I had just submitted my resignation to XYBASE after what had turned out to be a fairytale gone bad because the bad guys won or rather I got too tired fighting battles on all sides of my life, the never ending divorce visits to court had left me with an allergy to altercations of any sort and I tended to implode more than take on the fight. I'd reached that point where all you want in life is a little peace and quiet to think about my future.
The 3 months notice period I had to serve saw me doing everything status quo - none of that kick off my shoes and file my nails from 8am to 5pm work week - not that the management appreciated this but now when I think about it ... it really doesn't matter they didn't because my clients did. And that's where the lasting impression mattered most.
Come the 31st of March my official last day, I was staring at being jobless for the very first time since I was 19 fresh after my STPM exams. Back in the good old days, my jobless state would have been welcome 'me time' in between new jobs. But alas times are different now. I had 2 kids to raise, bills to pay and no chicken feed pay cheque coming in to help stay barely afloat.
So when an offer that was not exactly to my expectations came about to move my ass to Dubai in search of the proverbial greener grass on the other side - which in itself is an oxymoron seeing as Dubai is a desert - what green grass was I expecting to find but perhaps those thorny shoots that camels make a meal off in the sandpits.
The first months were hell. I missed the kids, I missed home, I missed all things familiar, I had the sinking feeling of tighter belts because of unfavourable exchange rates and a package that didn't quite make the mark of a Gulf package. I sobbed for days in my hotel room, as I battled wanting to give up and go home instead of being in an even worse situation - in a foreign land alone without the kind of moolah you needed to make ends meet. Dubai is an expensive place to live in.
But I am always blessed. I made new friends through other friends who turned out to be like angels in my darkest loneliest hours. I renewed ties with old friends here and the familiarity of their smiles and warmth and friendship made it a little less daunting despite the challenges.
It also gave me time to sit away from all the mania I've lived with the last 8 years. The distance allowed me to pray, reflect, talk aloud to God, cry to my hearts content, do things differently and not worry who might disapprove. It gave me the very much needed space to find myself, a journey that's only beginning as 40 rolls up to me.
My 2 trips home showed me what troopers I have for daughters. They too are coming to terms with this forced separation. This last trip home for Christmas, I realised that my kids understand things a lot better than I give them credit for.
We talked about the fact that as far as I know they have a step brother. I explained that the fact remained that Jacob is their father and that his son will always be their half brother and that if their paths were to ever cross to remain civil and adult about it ... because it is not their half brother's fault. The faults lies in us the adults who did not think about consequences. They seemed to be able to accept this fact and even joked around taking scenes from the Parent Trap and asking me if I threw a hair-dryer at Jacob when he said he wanted to leave. We had a jolly good laugh driving back imagining me hurling a hair dryer at him.
And although they might in their little hearts yearn for a father to pamper and spoil them like all their girlfriends, they've decided that just the 3 of us is good ... and why spoil a good thing is how I see it.
Being a long distance mom is not an easy thing. The guilt trips that plague me for not being there for them 24x7, knowing I am missing so much cause they are growing up so fast. In another 8 years I will be having to watch and let go of my firstborn as she spreads her wings off to college life and a future she makes for herself. And as much as my younger insists she wants to be the baby forever, in another decade I cannot fathom her wanting to curl up to mommy and go oogly eyes at me at a drop of a hat.
These things you cannot recapture when the moment is passed. There is a reason God created parents and children. And because some adults decide to change their plans, others have to pick up the slack and move forward. I wait for their emails and to hear their voices on the other end of the phone even if calls are short and all news is shared in one breath. I cherish these moments probably more now that ever before.
My vacation home this year end I noted I hardly ever raised my voice and yelled at them when they became brats. I didn't that that unlimited tank of disappointments and stress to fuel an outburst. Instead I talked to them calmly and found that this worked better - lesser tantrums and tears but a more open channel to speak their minds.
I know I am grateful for what 2010 has given me ... it's not yet the bed of roses that I'd hoped to be at hitting 40, but it's definitely no longer the bottom of the cesspool of negativity I used to be in.
The challenges that have come my way this year, have naturally made me more resilient and more focused as to where I want to be heading to. 2010 gave me new friends, renewed and strengthened my sibling bonds, brought me peace of mind and calm from the past turbulent waters. Reflective I have grown emotionally and mentally and perhaps spiritually too.
I am thankful for a year that was deemed as it begun it's journey from bud to blossom as the start of all new beginnings, when slates were wiped clean and new colours where handed out to paint and clay to mold, and words to create song and prose.
It was a year that I relearned the meaning of blood is thicker than water, the truth that in loving with no conditions and expectations one had less chance of being disappointed, I discovered that when you stop loving yourself and give yourself no value - the world values you even lesser and it stops loving or appreciating your presence in their lives.
It was a year to let go of past disappointments, take the lesson but dispel of the bitterness and hurt. To stop and look deep into my conscience before doing anything of gravity. Could I live with the repercussions. It was also a year I learnt that some tenets we might hold steadfastly to, under circumstances we are forced to do exactly the opposite of what we believe and we can live with those decisions because this is the one life we have, the one life to make a lasting difference to the world we live in and to the people who are our world.
2011 will certainly have its own challenges of that I am certain. But what I am more certain of is that there is nothing I am incapable of facing and overcoming - because there is a God who carries me through when I need Him most, there are my family and friends my forever cheerleaders shouting Go Ani Go Ani Go!! and wishing me the best life can serve me.
When I look back at where I was in 2000, a new mother and a wife with a sinking feeling that the captain was not quite steady in his course, 2010 though fraught with some less than welcome experiences, I am smiling wider and broader and that sparkle in my eye is slowly coming back.
What an amazing decade past, and what an EVEN more amazing life ahead. Nothing to stop me from getting to where I want to be, only myself if I ever stop believing in myself and faith, family and friends.
Happy and Blessed 2011 served with a huge portion of good health, wealth and love is what I wish for all of you my colours words and clay as I step into 2011 ready to rock it good and steady.
See ya in the new year :)