This past Saturday, I celebrated my 40th trip around the sun. This birthday kinda snuck up on me; for some odd reason, it doesn’t invoke nearly the magnitude of momentous anxiety as my 30th birthday did, possibly because that occasion felt like a funeral for my twenties. This one, despite society’s arbitrary assignation as the peak of one’s life, is more of a relief. I’ve now made it through my thirties, a decade both contentious and thrilling, full of the most extreme highs and lows in my life, and I’m still in one piece. I’m ready to get on with the rest of it.
The day itself was probably the best that it could have been, despite the noxious haze that still continues to plague Singapore. Adan and Felicia, two of my best friends in my adopted home, treated me and my daughter Anya to brunch at Batter Fluffy Flaps, a great pancake restaurant in Katong (I had Eggs Benedict, but with a pancake instead of English muffin, so good). Afterward, the four us went by bus into town to Kinokuniya, for an event featuring Felisa H. Batacan’s Philippine crime novel Smaller and Smaller Circles. Dinner that evening was sushi from Cold Storage; dessert was black forest cake from the neighbourhood bakery, and I even managed to find a birthday candle to stick on top.
Anya sang “Happy Birthday to You,” and the fact that the song is now in the public domain made it doubly sweet.
It was a low-key day, but I’m now finding that those are the best kind. Even so, I got to spend it with some my favourite people (including my favourite person in the world), eat some of my favourite foods, and be surrounded by books. All things considered, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to mark this particular milestone.