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Most days, the annoying sound of my cellphone alarm clock jolts me awake and I briefly wonder what day we are before realizing that it doesn’t matter, I need to get up anyway. Occasionally, I wake up feeling like I have stepped in the wrong life. At times, adrenaline kicks in as soon as I open my eyes—shit, I’m late, I have a deadline, why is Mark whining anyway? Most often, I wake up making a mental promise that from now on, I will go to bed earlier because five hours of sleep just isn’t enough—promise that will be broken the very same night but eh, it’s the thought that counts.

Today, I woke up thinking I turned 33.

A split second later, I pulled the duvet back over my head and closed my eyes to grab a few more minutes of sleep.

Turning 33 did not magically make me a morning person—add that to my list of failures.

Actually, turning 33 didn’t change a thing. Well, so far anyway. I don’t have yet the full 365-days-of-being-33 experience but a few hours into the slightly older me taught me that yes, I’m still the same. Damn. Damn because most days, I feel I just don’t have enough time and energy to be everything I want to be—a patient mother, a supportive sexy wife, a skilled professional and that fun friend everybody want to hang out with. I wish I were prettier, more stylish, wittier, more successful and better connected. Oh, and I wish I wasn’t so damn insecure because let’s face it, it kind of shows here.

I’m annoyed with myself for not accomplishing enough. I have all these ideas, these projects, these theories and despite my best efforts, I always seem to run out of time and/or energy before I can even think about them. Life happens, work, chores, the usual mundane call of duties. Making things running smoothly and being your average, somewhat productive citizen? More or less accomplished. Changing the world, indulging in the pleasures of life and tackling my projects? Postponed, over and over again. Case in point: I can’t even do my own fucking birthday. Like every year, but for writing the milestone article, it’s a day like any other because I wouldn’t know how to organize a party and buying my own cake feels lame, so I end up eating oatmeal and a sandwich at 1 a.m. like every freaking day (it’s okay, I like savoury oatmeal, I have this great recipe with tofu if you care for it).

Alright, martyr mode off. I may have reached the venerable age when Jesus was crucified but I don’t plan on following in his footsteps.

Enough whining.

I have 12 full months of being 33 ahead of me. What would I like? Among other things, and in no particular order…

  • I’d like to be a better version of myself, as mentioned above.
  • I’d like to win something. Not the lottery (I don’t even play), but something. I never win anything!
  • I’d like to experience a bit of luxury. Like a day at a Spa or in a fancy hotel. Just for a change, being pampered instead of taking care of other people.
  • I’d like to wrap up a project I started in 2011 and be successful with it.
  • I’d like to dare to compete instead of withdrawing from the race whenever I feel my chances are slim. Some people are competitive by nature—I’m not. At all. And I tend to just avoid situations where I have to fight and prove I’m the best in whatever.

I’d better get up and get started. I want it to be a productive year.

Self portrait with Mark, March 18, 2016

Self portrait with Mark, March 18, 2016

Self portrait with Mark, March 18, 2016

Self portrait with Mark, March 18, 2016

Picture by Mark, March 20, 2016

Picture by Mark, March 20, 2016

Picture by Mark, March 20, 2016

Picture by Mark, March 20, 2016

Mark now wants to be in the picture... March 20, 2016

Mark now wants to be in the picture… March 20, 2016

Mark now wants to be in the picture... March 20, 2016

Mark now wants to be in the picture… March 20, 2016

Still cold outside! March 20, 2016

Still cold outside! March 20, 2016

Still cold outside! March 20, 2016

Still cold outside! March 20, 2016


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post! It’s like you looked inside my brain and wrote what you saw (my birthday is coming up soon as well).

    I have nothing else to say, your words are my words.

    Hugs and happy birthday!!!

  2. As you know, it was my husband’s birthday today too. I wondered what you would be up to this year.

    Poor him, he spent it on the couch sick after he came from from a work trip with a virus as a present.

    I’m 33 too and I feel like I have not accomplished much. I keep wondering when I will put into action all these plans that I have. The thing is, I am in charge, nobody can make these changes but me. I can get some help, but most of the effort has to come from me.

    I’m not saying that to criticise you, I’m just commiserating. On the one hand, I am happy for the life that I do have, but on the other hand, I ask myself if I am really 33 all the time. How can I be 33 and yet still feel like such a failure? I keep telling myself that I have a lot more than most people and that I should just be content with what I have, but there is always this nagging voice in my head.

    Anyway, happy birthday.

    • Re. the “I’m the one in charge” is so true. I didn’t take it as criticism, I feel the same, I have no one to blame but me for not accomplishing what I feel I must accomplish. Ugh.

      Well, I hope your husband get better soon!

      You haven’t blog in ages… where in the world are you these days?

  3. Martin Penwald on

    – You ARE a better version of yourself, because 33 is better than 32 (and divisibility by eleven is awesome).
    – You have won all my consideration for this insightful article.
    – So, go for it. Or a week-end in a bed&breakfast.
    – I am working on it too.
    – Ah-ah ! You are becoming too Canadian/North American, here. I hate this competition mentality which engulf the majority of TV shows, where it becomes even ridiculous.

    “Dites 33”.

    • Divisibility? Like, who does that?? 😆 (/airhead mode)

      I’m not sure about B&B. I always feel weird about them, like intruding in someone’s place. I’d spend my time being overpolite and making small talk, thus not relaxing at all!


      • Martin Penwald on

        I regularly check my odometer to determine 11-divisibility, and if the number looks good, I decompose it in prime numbers (by the way, 1001 is one of the most awesome number in mathematics : divisible by 7, 11 and 13).
        Beside that, I’m fine, thank you.

        In fact, the spa is a good idea too, but I’ve never been in one so I don’t know.

        • I actually double check this fact with a calculator. You’re right, it’s funny. Numbers are weird. Never truly understood how to “have fun” with them even though I see the appeal.

          What’s the current reading on your odometer?

          • Martin Penwald on

            362451 km. It is a second-hand truck I buy in November last year (YEAEEAAHH !!), which was 16 monthes old.

            (And besides that, like I’ve said, I haven’t always been truck driver. I’ve been in Maths Sup/Maths Spé a looong time ago in a galaxy far far away, and it helped to like mathematics here).

          • Maths Sup/Spé? Wow. I admire you, honestly. Math is Greek to me (cultural pun somewhat intended). Like I said, I understand the appeal of maths, the intellectual game… but it’s not for me.

  4. Happy Birthday Zhu.
    Compare with others you are doing very good things .Few people like me just doing 9 to 5 job and coming home take rest seeing few unwanted TV shows ,going to bed and next day continue the same as routine ,I n my view you are making your life as more balanced

    • Aw, thank you. I try to not fall into a routine… but of course, like most people, I’m stuck in one. Routine can be comforting as well, we are creatures of habit after all.

  5. You are such an awesome woman, and from what I can see you have accomplished a lot already!!! Go for your remaining dreams!!! : )

  6. Happy Birthday Zhu, I have been reading your blog for couple of years and I am looking forward for your next adventure.

    • Aw, thank you! Believe me… I’m looking forward for the next adventure too! 😉

      (Two years? Really? I’m honoured, really!)

  7. OMG Bon Anniversaire !!!
    Lots of hugs !!!
    oh I feel the same thing (insecure and not productive). All we can do is do our best and acknowledge that we have people that love us no matter what we are or accomplish.

    P.S. = we need to have a Starbucks date before I or you fly away somewhere again LOL!!

    • Oh yes, we need that “date” to happen… like, this year! Gee, time goes by too fast, it’s crazy. Are you working right now?

  8. Happy birthday! I bumped into your blog when I was considering starting a new life in your part of the world!
    you’ve achieved a lot! 🙂
    all the best, from the other side of the world

        • That sucks! These tests are stupid too, I don’t think they truly assess language skills. I had to take the TOEFL a few years ago and I studied for the test because even though my English was just fine, I think I would have failed, the questions are tricky and nonsensical.

  9. Joyeux anniversaire Zhuliette ! 🙂
    I’m glad I can follow your life here (I’m such a lurker) and get to know you at least virtually!

  10. Joyeux anniversaire et bravo pour toutes ces bonnes résolutions! On s’en reparle dans 365 jours! Fait qu’t’es bélier comme moi?

  11. You are far too tanned to just be coming out of a Canadian winter. Happy (belated) birthday – pretty sure I make all these same birthday wishes every year!

    • I shall thank you for the birthday wishes, like every year 😉

      Yeah, still a bit tan… not much though. But my skin isn’t super white in the first place, more like olive.

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