August 16th came yet once again and this time it closed the chapter on the Turbulent Thirties and opened before me the next decade of my life - another milestone to chalk up experiences and adventures and hopefully with as minimal servings of turbulence and heartache and frustrations.
At least that was the plan as is always with each birthday, I tell myself ".ani it's going to get better from here on."
Sometimes it does, most times it takes itself on its own journey not quite subscribing to my GPS input and navigational skills. Most times it leaves me frothing at the mouth like some rabid creature when things fail to go according to plan and frustrations amount. Sometimes I just step back and let life just ravage my sanity the way it always does without resistance - I've learnt sometimes it's best to not fight back just let it take what it wants and move on.
Rare but yes it happens too, miracles, surprises, pockets and slivers of hope and joy gush and fill me and elevate me back into the land of living, refreshed, rehashed, revitalised until life comes along again and takes its best shot at knocking me down. I keep getting up and dusting off - it must frustrate life a lot that I just don't give up and shrivel and die.
As the days approached to my big 40 birthday, I spent countless days and night drowning in self mortification - I was such a failure all the goals that I'd set for myself at this age - all was but handfuls of dust. I hated being alone here in Dubai. Not finding an excuse to over-indulge in some Secret Recipe cheesecake creation was even more disturbing. I wanted to just be home, with Ash and Kash and feel better about myself that things will get better from now on.
There'd been talk about having a Leo birthday do, a spin off from the impromptu no reason gathering we had on July 15th - the first time I'd entertained colleagues in my humble home. The date picked was Aug 18th and the plan was to buy food and just provide my home as the spot.
The party was good fun, the aftermath took days of cleaning but still I missed spending this milestone in my life with my girls. I mean I don't have a complete family unit but everything is about the girls.
In all of this mania of aging, I decided to challenge myself with the dreaded Dubai Driver's License ordeal. Getting your license in this country is like getting multiple PhDs or root canals - whichever you torture threshold can stand.
First is the ridiculous number of of fees
Second is the ridiculous number of tests and assessments
Third is the ridiculous number of Re-tests and classes for each failed attempt.
Most of the men in my office have at least 4 minimum resits to pass. This even when it was for an Auto License. Ladies sometimes passed 2nd or 3rd attempt on Auto - no need to go into the double digit attempts for Manual License.
I opted for an Auto License which encompassed 20 lesson coz my Msian license was over 5yrs, some AED3500 thanks to a discount voucher from GoNabIt that gave me 10 free classes for 10 signed and paid up ones ... and I passed all tests and assessments on the first round.
27th September on the Final Road Test with 2 other candidates both sitting for their 5th attempt off we went with me being the first up. Incessant yelling and scolding from the RTA Lady Officer and 2 more harrowing test driver experiences later we were parked in the bay and Test Score Sheets were given out with a lecture - mine was clean and said PASS in big bold.
Nearly died from joy - I did it! At 40 I took on something no one really thought I would pass on first attempt but I did. Why? Because as much as I am a battled scarred soldier, I am pretty damn good at some things. And especially when I do put my mind to it, I create small miracles.
So at 40 I earned my Dubai Driver's License at one sitting - the only problem now is I ain't got no set of wheels. In time perhaps I will find myself one. I mean I was 31 when I got my Malaysian Manual Driver's License. I start late but I finish it ace ;-)
Perhaps in some essence, life does begin at 40. Perhaps it is because in many ways we have come of age. We have grown up, we have changed as the trials buffed us about and threw us in the deep ends. I look at a lot of people and realise their journeys are no less inspiring. I find lessons from each of their experiences. I find that I no longer wish to participate in the "this is as good as it gets" living. There's my life and it's waiting to take off. Waiting to make history of some small personal measure.
As much as I do at times want to tell the morons that cloud my happy days with their bile and their self mortifying venom which they so freely spew and spit into my way just because they feel it is their justified right to try and put me in my rightful societal perceptions of what a woman like me should be placed, where to put their sorry asses - experience tells me to bide my time. Their glass ceilings and walls keep me from spreading my wings and reaching new heights but one thing keeps me sane - karma is bad ass, it kicks you when you are not expecting it and it kicks you hard.
For a battle veteran like me, I've been paying karma dues a long time, my end perhaps is just around the next bend or two or more but its there for sure and good things are waiting to happen.
Hitting 40 and looking at what's ahead, it's nothing I've not been prepared for. But with a little bit of luck and blessings, it's going to keep getting better from now on. I have come to a point where if I don't like it, I say so. If for reasons of survival I have to hold my piece, I keep my distance. If I can change something I will, if I can't - sod it, look elsewhere.
The next 20 years is my life waiting to happen and to make it happen the way I want it to is in my own sculpting hands. No free rides, no free passes, no handouts I know ... but with a good stash of soul fuel and some basic navigational skills, I am so going to find this waiting life and then make it reality and wallow like a water buffalo in a pool of mud till my number is called up and it's time for me to call it quits on this karma outing of mine. Hope this is the last of my rebirths and all past dues paid up.
In the mean time here's to the 40s to blooming and flourishing and feeling top of the world. There's nothing this old auntie can't do ... come sock it to me life, you and me we're not just about done feuding are we ???
Happy Trails everyone and much love always ....