January 16, 2017

Four-O on a Blue Monday

Today is the day.

Source: Google Image

On the Bluest Monday ever as indicated by the formula above, I turned 40. Yep, I hit the big Four-O alright!

That’s all of me as an 18-year old with 22 years of life experience; old enough to recognise mistakes all life’s stupidity I have made since the coming of age, yet still young enough to brew some more mayhem before I turn vintage! I’m a retro and I call it the art of learning. 

Still. What the hell is Blue Monday?!

Swear to God, it’s a term I have never heard of until today. It only became known to me when Silver Bullet translated what the Radio DJ said about today being the gloomiest day ever.

In the office, Blue Monday which occurs typically on the 3rd Monday of January for countries in the Northern Hemisphere became the main topic of the day. It’s a term used for the prediction of the gloomiest day when unhappiness peaked due to post Christmas bills, debts and the wearing off of the holiday buzz.

The term was coined by a Dr Cliff Arnall back in 2005 by using the above equation. This year, it happened to fall on January 16 and it is considered the gloomiest, bluest and most depressing of all the other Blue Mondays with the added factors of Brexit, Trump as well as the deaths of celebrities and childhood heroes. 

Hmmmmm. See! I’m still learning and as blue as this Monday had been coined to be, I am far from depressed.

In fact, this Capricornian Fire Dragon albeit feeling a little aged and tired, is still feeling sharp, fine and full of spirit. Step on my piddly-little dragon tail and I’ll bloody whip-lash your ass off. It’s true.

And it has to to be. My birth month and my horoscope say so. Especially since Facebook has been hounding me with ads since about a month ago, following me around and trying to entice me to click on T-Shirts that scream “ME”:

Source: Facebook Feed

 My birthdays have always been a low key affair. I’m not so big on the entire hoolabaloos; dinner with family and a small gathering with friends are just sufficient.

With none of my friends to celebrate with this year, we kept it really simple; a home-made cake from Silver Bullet, lots of kisses from the kids and a visit from my in laws. 

Living on hugs and kisses
A home-made birthday cake by Silver Bullet

Every year, I always make sure that it is the day that I stay away from work. Not this year. 

Unlike my previous employers, organisations in the Netherlands do not grant an additional birthday leave. So this year, I went to work.  Already last week, my colleagues who keep yab of the team’s birthday, reminded me that I’ll need to celebrate it the Dutch Style.

That means, like every other Dutch person celebrating their birthdays, I have to bring my own birthday cake or little treats (traktatie) for my own party for my colleagues.

Not that I would mind but having lived in Asia for all of my life when I get pampered on my birthday with people buying me lunch, dinner, birthday cakes and treats, this was new to me. 

But , take heed. It’s the Dutch culture.

Here, the birthday person is expected to bring something lekker. Buy or make, it doesn’t matter. Then expect that you (and your family members) are going to get congratulated the hell out by (almost) everyone accompanied by the famous 3 Dutch kisses.

The Dutch are big on birthdays. Not celebrating it is practically unheard of and today, I had my first taste of yet another Dutch hospitality in the office. Not only because it was my birthday, but for the fact that the big four-o is considered to be special:

Popping Confetti!
The state of my desk!
The works by thoughtful colleagues!

All I did was go to the bathroom for 10 minutes and within that time, my team mates bombarded my desk with what you see above. They also stuffed balloons into my bag and presented me with a sashay with the big Four-O on it along with a bunch of flowers as well as presents.

What a treat! Especially since I still consider myself as a newbie in the organisation. 

So. Blue(st) Monday? Nah! That Arnall guy and his formula, is (excuse me) just BS.

What this is really is the true meaning of the real life, Dutch Style. I guess this is where life begins – at the end of your comfort zone. 

Posted by:    |    6 Comment
  1. HAPPY HAPPY BIG FOUR-O! How nice of your co-workers to surprise you like that, Ann! You don’t look a day older than 30. It must be the kids that keep you so young. When I turned 40, my daughter was about to turn 20. 🙂 She is also January baby and would appreciate those posters, ha!

    Wishing you all the happiness, abundance of presents, health, wealth, and anything else you wish for.
    P.S. If you lived closer we’d go for a girls night out. Mwaaaaaaaaaah!

    • My colleagues are too nice. I was really surprised and did nto expect it at all.
      The kids keep me mental mentally alert! Hahaha…you are too kind, but then again people always say it’s the Asian genes. My mom is over 60 and she still looks like she’s in her late 40s!
      Wow! You were a very young mom! Happy Birthday to your daughter; whom I remember is a spitting image of you. You know, Jan babies kick ass! ;D
      That would be so very mice to have a girls night out. I’d love to sample your jellyfish drinkie! ehhehe Thank you for the wishes, Jas! xoxoxox.

  2. Happy Birthday !!! oh what a Dutch treat! I thought Dutch birthdays are b-o-r-i-n-g! But I guess you have one fine circle out there. You don’t look 40 at all, what’s your secret? 🙂 I wonder how is it for me when I reached there.
    Such a sweet family you have, and I am sure that that is all that matters Ann, at this point simple pleasures with our love ones are the best gift.
    Life has just begun, so enjoy every bit of it. Love from Germany!

    • Thank you, Christina! You are very kind to say I don’t look 40. Must be the good Asian genes or just weirded out of life! LOL. I’m sure you won;t look your age when you get there.
      It was a lovely Dutch treat indeed and so far, the Dutch birthdays we have attended (mostly friends and family) have not been boring at all. I guess there are exceptions and we have also gone for the boring ones. Well, only 1 so far and that’s out of acquaintance more than anything.
      Age is a number and life will continue to kick ass! 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday! Other cultures also give a treat on their birthdays. I like that idea. But what a nice thing for your 40th! That’s the year I started saying “I’m entering my prime.”

    • Thank you, Barb! Treats are always nice – birthdays or not. Just that birthdays come with the dreaded age! LOL. I wonder how long I can go with “prime” before I start accepting that heck! I;m bloody OLD!


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