A Mantra for Every Woman

Always Awesome,Forever Fabulous.

WhatsApp was blowing up today with all the back and forth messages celebrating International Women’s Day. A friend sent a message with the line “Always Awesome, Forever Fabulous’. I immediately told her I was stealing it. I’ve been lately feeling low and unworthy and this line just perked me up.

“Always Awesome, Forever Fabulous”, huh? I know I know, easy to say difficult to follow. And don’t I know it? Maintaining awesomeness and fabulousness is hard work. There are always competing priorities, emotional messes, and emergencies. The basics of daily life are hardly a breeze – our jobs are demanding, parenting is a challenge even on the best days, and relationships require effort. Then there are social obligations, family issues, office politics, career changes, planning for the future. And let’s consider the courage needed to live a life of one’s choosing. What about the bravery involved in standing up for yourself, making decisions, and dealing with the consequences of those choices? Hard work, indeed. But so worth it!

My friend’s words have inspired me to be kinder to myself in 2018. Just because I want to   continuously improve myself doesn’t mean what I am now is not good enough. I am already awesome and fabulous!

 

My 2017 Gratitude List

Sunday December 31, 2017. The end of the weekend, the last day of the last month of the year.

2017 was not a great year by any measure, plenty went wrong. But I am a glass half full kind of person so I must say plenty also went right. I am grateful for the blessings showered, the opportunities to travel and learn, the deepening of friendships and the recognition of a journey of self awareness.

Humor

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I am thankful for people in my life who make me laugh. I am thankful for being able to see the light of humor in a dark year.  A special shout out to Fowl Language for seeing the humor in parenting and assuring me from time to time that I am not alone.

Nature’s Beauty

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City-dwellers travel far and wide to seek out nature and enjoy its resplendent beauty.  Sometimes we are lucky to find it in our very cities, waiting for us to reach out and experience. Whether it is the faraway Pulau Ubin or the Fort Canning Park in my backyard, nature’s treasures are everywhere.

Role Models

I am thankful for role models at every stage of my life, especially strong women role models. Many times I have asked “What would she do?”.

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CC Image Courtesy Flickr user David. https://www.flickr.com/photos/65193799@N00/3215110390/

These days one of them is Michelle Obama. I want to be Michelle when I grow up.  I want her smile, her body, her wardrobe and mostly I want her marriage.

Food

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Food is a part of my culture. Most conversations begin and end with talk of food – what did you eat, how was it, when shall we eat again, can you share the recipe? It goes on…

I am thankful for the abundance in my life, the adventure of food and cooking. My children are young but well on their path to be culinary explorers – they enjoy new foods, like to help out in the kitchen and are regular viewers of Food TV channel. Other kids watch cartoons my kids watch Giada, Nancy Fuller and Iron Chef America.

Art

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A white wall and sheet of stickers. That is the genius of the art installation Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusuma for the Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery, Singapore. Whimsical and fantastical, a treat for the child in everyone.

I am thankful for the art on my walls, in my children’s doodles, on city streets. Once you start noticing, art is everywhere – you can see it, touch it, hear it, smell it, and taste it.

Travel

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Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller (Ibn Battuta). I am thankful for some terrific travel experiences in 2017 – from scuba diving to 20 metres in the Mactan Island (Cebu, The Philippines) to trekking in a high altitude national park in the Himalayas. 2017 was the year of Asian travel that took us to Hong Kong, Indonesia, India and The Philippines. I can’t wait to explore the continent more thoroughly.  So far we have travel plans for Japan in early spring, The Philippines and Malaysia in summer. I’ve lived in Singapore 10 years, and most of my travel has been in the United States and Europe. How ridiculous is that? Time to change that. I long to see the temples at Angkor Wat, the fall colours in Korea, and beaches of Vietnam.

My Girls

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What would I do without my girls – sisters, cousins, friends? Whether I need to vent or cry, go crazy and let my hair down, go for long walks or lunches, get inspired, distract myself from troubles, or just talk and laugh about everything in the Universe, my girls have been there for me and with me. As I grow older I appreciate my circle of women friends even more. The funny, brilliant, interesting women are indeed my treasure.

Hope and Opportunity

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I am thankful for beauty and inspiration in the most unexpected places. I spotted this summer garden at an Indian army transit post situated near a high mountain pass (~16000 feet). The makeshift garden was put together by a soldier far away from home, with planters made from recycled tin cans and love. It spoke of a yearning for beauty and normalcy in such a desolate place. It filled me with hope.