I originally wrote this 5 years ago on a blog I’ve long since shut down, but thanks the Facebook’s new “On This Day” feature, there is still record of it since the posts from that blog fed into my Facebook notes (if we’re FB friends you can read the original here).
I still get a little panicked when the birthday rolls around, but ultimately that was my year of empowerment. I had begged the universe to make me disappear for every birthday since I was 13 years old, then the year I turned 29 things had begun to shift, and the year I turned 30 was first year I intentionally celebrated my birthday.
My birthday is coming up in about 2 months. I know it’s a little early to be
dwelling on thinking about it, but the spring birthday marathon is in full swing. Between my husband’s and my siblings, parents and close friends we have about 15 birthdays between the end of March and the end of May. Mine trails behind a few weeks into the middle of June, which is good because it gives everyone a few weeks to recover.
I’m pretty sure I’ve complained about my birthday here before, but if not let me catch you up: For the majority of my adult life an inescapable depression seeps in around the edges of my life, usually starting around April…and it grows and expands and aggrandizes until it reaches it’s full culmination on or around June 16th. The few days leading up to D-day are an amalgamation of tears and catatonia with a few windows of slight coherence. I’ve managed in the past to mostly maintain at least a semblance of social normality, but somewhere I think that’s because I have an uncanny ability to astral project out of my pit of despair long enough to smile and nod as everyone says “Happy Birthday!” to which I politely and passively respond “Thanks.” whilst trying to not choke on my own tears.
Yeah, it’s like that.
This year is different though. I’ll be 29. The precipice of a new decade and the year by which society seems to judge your successes. At 29 you have approximately 1 year to have become a real life adult by way of a complete education, marriage, white picket fence, 2.7 kids and the cute puppy to ice that copacetic cake. If you have not managed to complete all of these tasks or are not within striking distance of completing these tasks, you are constantly asked things like “When are you going to settle down?” “When are you going to have kids?” “Oh don’t wait until your over 30 to have kids, then you’ll be the ‘old’ parents.” “What are you planning to DO with your life?!”
Until now – I struggled with the concept that many of these things don’t need to be on a time line, and I damn sure don’t need to define myself by them. Yes I’m married, I have a cute puppy, and I even have a white picket fence. I’m also on my way to completing my education. I think I struggled for so long because the joys of social networking and the laws of community averages have given me the impression that I was lagging behind and there was no way I was ever going to catch up in time.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that 2009 and the beginning of 2010 brought a lot of changes my way, mostly self induced through yoga, education and attitude – but this year…I don’t give a damn if I catch up at all. Ever. I’m right where I need to be and on my way to being in a good many places I want to be. I have set my own path with endless possibilities, and I intend on exploring as many of them as I can.
I think I’ve finally managed to not cave when people tell me how I need to live my life. I’m thrilled with the fact that I’ve learned to do positive things for myself. I’ve found a great balance in my marriage and in my family life and with my friends. Everyone seems to understand that I need a great deal of time on my own and that it doesn’t lessen the time I choose to spend with them. I refuse to let myself feel guilty anymore for doing something that makes a positive difference in my world. I refuse to become stagnant at the behest of those who refuse to move ahead on their own. I refuse to let anyone or anything infringe upon my happiness.
This year I have finally hit my stride. I am not ashamed of the fact that I may not have the biggest house on the block, that I don’t immediately want kids, that I don’t have a new car or that my preferences don’t perfectly align with others. This year I don’t care if you give me a dirty look and don’t speak to me because I didn’t agree with you. This is the year I start calling you out for being a dick rather than being afraid of being confrontational. This is my year of empowerment.
2010 was obviously the year stopped giving a single fuck. Well, mostly. I have managed to continue the momentum of unapologetically doing my own thing. I stumble a bit, but we all do.
And since my birthday is coming up…BUY ME SOMETHING PRETTY.