Reading Adele's birthday post came at a right time when I was doing my own reflections.
I remembered that I still had some pictures which I had not put up apart from these birthday celebrations.
Turning 30 unemployed and living in the world's most expensive city was not something I expected, much less anyone else I'm sure.
My birthday came just a week before my last week at work.
It could have been the most depressing birthday ever, not knowing what would happen next nor how long I would be able to remain in Tokyo. But my friends never let me feel that way. As I opened the presents that lay before me that night, I thanked God for each of them. Looking back, I think I had the best birthday overseas ever.
I don't expect reaching a new decade would bring about much change, like how reaching 21 would automatically make you adult in the true sense. Sure, it's a milestone to be celebrated, but like any other birthdays I only looked forward to the presents and presence of my favourite people. If not for those pessimists who have nothing good to say about the change in the first digit of your age, I would not have given much thought about it.
Some say, it's all mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
As I look back at the past few years that I've lived in Japan, I thank God for those were very good times.
I've done skiing and snowboarding in the highest mountains of Niigata, and took up surfing lessons on a whim in Gold Coast. I've traveled to more countries and continents than I've ever gone to in my entire life. I've tasted the most exotic and expensive food in Japan, namely the Kobe beef and fugu fish, and survived to tell the tale. I've experienced the four seasons and now understand why people count and look forward to events by the quarters.
I've learnt to be independent, knowing that I have so much potential to be more, and had the opportunity to realise all my dreams. Backpacking in Europe was supposed to be a backup plan if I hadn't won the scholarship to pursue my studies, and it turned out very well I must say. I have met some of the most humble and generous people on my travels, and wish you could meet them too.
I've learnt who my real friends are, even if they don't keep in constant touch with me. Support and love come in various shapes and sizes. I've tasted pure goodness that can only come from God, especially at the deepest points in my life. That, at the end of it, I am nothing without Him, is now more than just a Bible verse.
Funny how, looking back, I wouldn't mind if I had to go through all these ups and downs again. Put together all these seemingly little bits and pieces, pile them up, I come away overwhelmed at His blessings. This year alone, I've lived as if I was the richest, and yet I was the poorest that I've ever been. If it's not by His grace, I don't know what else this is.
Indeed, greatly blessed, highly favoured, deeply loved.