We’re at the halfway mark of 2019, and some of the biggest news were who lived and who died in Avengers: End Game and the Game Of Thrones (GoT) finale; the brewing trade and tech spat between the United States and China’s Huawei; and the resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May.

I haven’t been following GoT, and most of the loose ends were tied up in Avengers so I’m happy.

I switched over to Huawei in January after using iPhone for years as the poor battery life, constant iOS updates, which made everything slower, and the exorbitant price finally got to me.

Interestingly, a comparison was drawn between what happened to Toshiba 30 years ago and Huawei today. Similarly, a trade war was waged on the company as it affected American interests.

Toshiba’s president then was arrested, factories closed down, exports to the United States banned, and Japan’s semiconductor industry was forced to share technology with them.

This time around, however, China will not be easy prey to strong-arm tactics and it will be intriguing to see what pans out for both countries, and indeed, for the rest of us mortals.

Undone by Brexit, May will see her successor having his or her work cut out. While most would agree that May was dealt a “terrible hand” from the start, her ideology, “bashing of immigrants”, worsened housing crisis and increased child poverty, among other things, only served to drive the final nail in the coffin.

Dubbed as “the worst prime minister in modern times” by The Guardian and a “disaster” by CNN, May’s legacy of failure is a far cry from Britain’s other female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her firm stance on policies and promotion of change.

Britain’s Prime Minister May reacts as she spots a dog bounding over to greet her as she leaves following a church service, near her Maidenhead constituency, west of London recently. Photo: AFP

For women, it’s often a tougher game: damned if we do, damned if we don’t. For those of us with lesser burdens, seeing how it was Mother’s Day last month, it seems apt to remind ourselves that it’s OK to be imperfect and a little off balance sometimes.

I chanced upon Leah Lewis’ piece on “I’m done trying to be the perfect mum” which would resonate with most mothers.
“Being a mum is an emotional balancing act. You are pulled like a tug-of-war rope, but still expected to remain sane. Motherhood is so rewarding, but the pressure to be ‘the perfect mum’ can leave you feeling empty and broken inside,” she writes.

Quite often, the battle is not even with other women, but with ourselves as we set this invisible bar that’s never going to be attainable.
Once, I asked my boys whether they minded not having more birthday parties. I had seen a friend posting about a themed birthday party that she had organised for her children, and a wave of guilt swept over me. In response, my kids stared at me like I was a nut job.

For us, birthdays meant a nicer than usual family meal, sometimes a cake, and at most, my two closest friends and their families, which practically grew up together with my boys, come over to make things merrier.

I never had the time nor the energy to organise grand celebrations with some clown magician in attendance. And now that they are older, the boys prefer to go out with their peers instead of the parents anyway. I guess every family reserves the right to do things their own way.

There were times though, when I chided myself for not filling their days with more meaningful activities; that I didn’t save enough memories on photographs or videos; feed them healthier food; and basically, be better at this business of motherhood.

But judging from how my boys are faring, I guess I don’t suck that badly at being a mum.

I’ve since come to terms with myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Instead, I’m learning the joy of “just being”.
You’d be surprised how hard it is to not organise everything; to pull back instead of being driven and goal-orientated all the time, striving to prove your worth; essentially, doing what we do to make every second count.

Coincidentally, a story popped up on my Facebook feed recently that had the incongruous headline: The purpose of life is to be a nobody. At first glance, it sounded like some cult ideology, but it made sense to me.

“We spend our time acquiring things we don’t want or need, we falter at the first sign of hardship and inconvenience, and one day we wake up to a ticking clock realising that, all this time, we’ve lived somebody else’s life.”

The writer goes on to say: “Being a nobody frees us from the irrational pressures and expectations of an uncertain world.
“Being a nobody gives us the humility to realise that it’s our struggles that define us, not our desires.”

Case in point: Hollywood celebrities who work their guts out to be rich and famous and then go out in shades and disguise, hoping no one recognises them. Life is funny that way, isn’t it?

A friend sent this quirky quote and it seems a fitting end: “Life is like an ice cream. Enjoy it before it melts.”

“Not everything worthwhile can be measured, and not everything that can be measured is worthwhile.” Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my.