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Happy Birthday, Pooja!

I turn 50 today.

Like many people, I agree that age is "just a number" and birthdays in the past have been mostly about celebrations. But 50 seems different–– or at least different enough to make me pause. I’m not sure what 50 is supposed to feel like, I do know that I don’t feel it. How old do I feel? Somewhere in the mid to late 30s seems like a good fit. Well, then it must be true that 50 is the new 30.

The number itself makes the mind boggle. When my mum turned 50, her life was at a turning point as that was the year my father fell very ill–– I was by her side as a 26 year old. When my grandmother turned 50, she was already a grandmother to me at 10 years old. And here I am at that same age–– but at a different stage, with my daughter leaving elementary school.

These calculations reflect changed times–– I was able to have a child at a later age, I don't feel older than other mums in school, and most importantly, I feel that I have a say in how I wish to feel as I grow older. Age isn't going to happen to me, I feel I have a say in the process. I know this is possible as I have seen my mum (@happy_shashi) do just that. She rocks in her 70s.

A dear friend said to me today that I have the next 50 years to decide and practice what I want to become. The best part of being at this stage of life is just that. Who I am, the choices I make, are for me to decide. There is freedom in being a certain age, knowing who you are -- and who you are not. There is another kind of freedom that matters -- and that comes from being physically and mentally strong and flexible.

So when I think about the next decade, l know I wish to remain a permanent student. I don't tire of learning and I don't think I ever will. I wish to continue doing the work I love, it gives me purpose and such satisfaction. I want to continue being authentic in my relationships, even if that brings about some discomfort. And lastly (but by no means least), I wish to continue optimising my health. I make a lot of decisions that are around health and wellness and from this week, I will be starting the process of TNC membership on myself–– I will share the process and findings here.

Till then, I plan to make the most of this COVID birthday–– zoom calls with friends and family, and a trip to Tiong Bahru to pick up my favourite coffee and cupcake at Plain Vanilla bakery.

As we say at The Nutrition Clinic, the best is yet to come.