Hello September – a seemingly awkward month for me all these years – how has it been for you?
The earth has been pretty tragic these few weeks – with floods, hurricanes and earthquakes – wrecking up the lives of many people. The stock market has been performing poorly and morale has been really low at work but I guess I’m still feeling okay cause I finally went on a really short 48-hour trip overseas. I really want to re-start travel blogging with a post on that but I’m still taking my time >< I hope I’ll get there within the next month or so cause the place I visited (Hat Yai, a place in southern Thailand) is a really lovely place and I had the opportunity to spend time in the not so tall mountain, with wonky data/internet, and stare out to the picturesque view from noon to dawn. We even had our meals in front of nature and slept in tents (with proper mattresses). It was also fun to reconnect and travel with a friend since our last short trip 4 years ago. Time really zoomed past in the covid years and sometimes, it doesn’t feel not too long ago.
September has been an awkward month for me since the day I was born because, yep is is the month of my birthday and let’s just say, I don’t enjoy birthdays much because I am not a person who enjoys celebrations nor being in the limelight. As far as possible, I would wish for my birthday to be as low-key as possible and I got my wish this year and I didn’t even have a cake =) It might sound a little sad but I know I’m pretty glad that somehow it ended up this way this year. Well, my birthday wasn’t forgotten by my close friends and family but they did respect my decision when I said it was fine not to have a cake. We had been eating quite a bit of cake lately (cause of the other birthday celebrations from the younger ones) and I’d buy my own cake anyway if I have a craving for a slice so I rather do away with all that photo-taking. I don’t know if I’m the only weird one that feels/act this way but I do try to deliberately hide my birthday date away from my colleagues. I don’t usually enjoy surprises thus I would rather steer clear from all that birthday song singing and attention even if it was just going to be less than 5 mins of my time. As a result, I sometimes end up working on my birthday (in order not to be suspicious over a random day of leave), even to the extent of sacrificing my ‘birthday leave’ entitlement so I can remain under the radar. I even started a job on my birthday and went by with the day without anyone finding out.
The situation was even funnier when I was in New Zealand (now that I am looking back on my past memories). I didn’t want to let anyone know it was my birthday, but I still wanted to eat good food outside (cause I enjoy spending money) so I told no one but one friend and made her promise to keep a secret. Anyway, so there were hopes of an aurora (southern lights) sighting and the wider group made plans to drive 3 hours from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo to try our luck. I told the wider group that I bought a cake, in view that we would be hungry while waiting for the aurora. However, the strong winds, the cold and the darkness made everyone forget about the cake which travelled back to Christchurch and I took it out the next day and cut it up for everyone to eat. Since the next day as no longer my birthday, I was willing to tell my housemates that yesterday was my birthday and they ended up exclaiming on how I shouldn’t have kept that secret. A few days later, they surprised me by entering my room while I was blowing and combing my hair (looking terrible from the photos) and presented a homemade cake with candles. Based on the video recordings, I was genuinely shocked as my birthday was over and it took me a couple of seconds before realising that they were singing the song for me. It was a fun memory which was also precious as I was moving to another town the next day so it was kind of a farewell memory for me as well.
Fun fact: I’m writing all these thoughts without reservations here because I know my friends (in real life) don’t read my blog, so somehow it’s fun to be ‘anonymously’ writing about my emotions.
Another fun fact – I was the person who stopped the ‘habit’ of buying birthday presents among my different cliques. Traditionally when we were students, we used to chip in as a group to pool money to buy presents for one another. My friends always struggle to think of a present to buy for me because there’s really nothing I want and to be honest, I don’t recall much about the presents I have received right now. The only one probably being a YSL perfume as I was ‘forced’ into telling them a gift idea. I remember liking a scent when I first smell it at the airport but concluded that I don’t use perfumes enough to justify such a luxury purchase (I was still a student). Fun fact – the perfume is still in my room, in a discoloured/oxidized paper box and I think it is still 70% unused. I still use it on special occasions (where I do remember its existence) and gosh, the smell is still there, though I can’t remember if it was the same as before. On the other hand, I’m more conscious of the birthday presents I gift myself. There was a year I took leave and went on a solo date at a massage/space place which had free-flow food. The services wasn’t that cheap and it was something that I don’t splurge on unnecessarily. I guess I’m still more of a person who likes experiences more than physical items. The present for myself this year? Well, I decided to stop tracking my monthly expenditure for the entire month! It may sound like a ridiculous present but the joy of not remembering what you spend on is true bliss. As a result of this ‘present’, I’ve signed a manicure package which I will hopefully forget in the months to come because it is not recorded in my expenses tracking app. I still have more days in the month to make such frivolous purchases so let’s see where this gets me. Maybe some air ticket or something =p
Anyway, so the reason why I wanted to stop the birthday present buying culture was because I didn’t like the idea of having to pretend I genuinely like something when I don’t. whoops. I’ve received absolutely useless presents my life (like things I don’t use at all) and yes I’m a super realist. Now that I recall, I actually gotten cash from my friends before as ‘gifts’. In fact, one of my farewell present in a previous company was cash, while another was shopping vouchers. I don’t recall what were the things I spend the money on but hey, at least I remember what they gave me. I recall myself explaining to people on why money is usually always the best present (especially for people like me) as it saves time and agony on the gifter and the receiver won’t have to deal with bad presents. I’m the sort of person who will not utilize things if it doesn’t suit me, or if I don’t like it. While I can try my best to be courteous and ‘wow it’s really beautiful’, but hey, the item is going to be cast aside by me. I also struggle with the idea of re-gifting or even donating away as I felt it would not be very kind to the gifter if they ever find out so.. yep, I still hoard such bad gifts somewhere in my room. While the ‘thought’ counts, we can just do away with the actual gift and put a pause on consumerism. I’m more receptive if the gift is perishables (aka food) or things that I can use. Then again, if you’re giving me hand creams and skincare which I have a lot of it.. it might end up being a waste too. Yep, as you can see, it is really tough to be a gifter so, do reconsider if you are having second thoughts the next time.
Can’t believe that it’s gonna be Q4 in a few weeks time and in a blink of an eye, we will have to welcome 2024. What does the future hold for you?