Every year I have mixed feelings about my birthday. Maybe because this number is changing so quickly and a 4 is in near sight. Or because my son asked me the other day, “Mommy how old are you going to be on Thursday?” Me, “37, Joel”. Joel, “Wow, this is very old, mommy. Like dinosaur-old”. Crickets and silence on my end. Then again, it is just a number. It dawned on me however that I spend a ridiculous amount of energy every year to decide whether I am comfortable with my approaching non-problematic birthday or not.
Is birthday anxiety a thing? Kind of how I don’t like Valentine’s Day? Or how I don’t really care about New Year’s Eve? Deep inside, the optimist in me believes that each and every birthday is going to be a memorable event. Yet, the misanthrope in me thinks that is it silly to place any type of significance on it at all since it is just a day like any other. Just a day on the calendar. Or is it the best day of the year? This is when I was born, on a Sunday at 11.30am, 37 years ago. Some birthdays in the past I do remember clearly while others are simply hazy memories. But maybe this year will be different? Am I trapped in a contradictory hoop of insanity, cynicism or hope? I am an analyst so I thought I give this birthday mystery a little bit of a stirrup by giving my birthday a little neurotic psychological spin by asking the questions, “Does my birthday make me sad?”
Three months out: “Awesome, it is my sister’s birthday on April 4th which means it is exactly 100 days until it’s my big day. Whoohoo. Maybe I should start planning something special like a one-week trip just by myself. Without my son. Maybe a retreat. Or travel somewhere with someone special?”
Two months out: “Okay, maybe this trip idea was a bit crazy. I mean, going somewhere over the weekend, maybe. It would also be cool to get my closest friends together for dinner and drinks.”
One month out: “I don’t even care about my birthday at all. Maybe I just don’t do anything. It is just another day. Maybe nobody remembers. Let me take my birthday date off on Facebook.”
Three weeks out: “Okay, I am just going to chill. Birthdays are completely overrated. I don’t care about mine. Whatever happens, happens.”
Two weeks out: ” Maybe someone is secretly planning a party or something special for me. That would be so sweet. Maybe they are just not telling me about it. Then again, I hate surprises. ”
Nine days out: “Okay, obviously nobody dropped any hints about a secret birthday party. Just my son who asked if I invite him to my birthday party. Duh. To fully skip my birthday makes me feel weird, too. I will just plan a nice dinner with one or two friends.”
One week out: “Okay, a small dinner sounds kind of sad. Maybe I just invite a bunch of people to a big birthday dinner celebration. Whoever wants to come can come. And maybe we can all go out after? I get a babysitter. Maybe we can do it on Friday since my birthday is actually on a Thursday this year?”
Five days out: (putting the Facebook birthday notification back on. I am pathetic) “Formally asking people to celebrate with me makes me feel kind of weird. Also, most of my friends here have kids, so they won’t have time anyway. Babysitters are so expensive after all. And then how would they get along since many of them are from different backgrounds.”
Four days out: “Okay, do I even have friends? Like real friends? Maybe five really good ones. Okay, maybe just two. Or I invite everybody over to my new place/house occupied by Carleton University professors only, to help me move furniture and decorate all night long. Maybe not a good idea. But we could spy on Erik Karlsson. Maybe also not a good idea.”
Three days out: “It is ridiculous at this point. F*** it. I am literally not doing anything on my birthday. It is on a Thursday, so nobody wants to hang out anyway. Also not on Friday.”
Two days out: “Shit, I think I actually do care about my birthday. Nobody will remember it. I have no friends.”
One day out: “I don’t know what is sadder: Not even mentioning my birthday at all, telling everyone or doing something awkward. Option number one. This is the best. Then I will enjoy a glass of red wine by myself tomorrow night.”
Actual BIRTHDAY: “It is my birthday, bitches. The world is my oyster. I tell everyone and everybody is supposed to treat me like a queen. Birthdays are so awesome. Awesome dinner, awesome conversations, and cheesecake with the ones who are very close! My psychology professor would be very proud of me.”
Let’s see what will happen within in the next year but some awesome things are already lined up. I am not setting unreachable targets and goals and just share some things I want to focus on. Firstly, I will start with things that are actually achievable or doable.
I will get into more detail but my book is in its final stages. About one or two more months before it gets published. It was a lot of work, editing, and public relations issues to deal with but I am very proud of myself.
My life is great these days even though the last couple of months were rough. I am not living in the past anymore. The past is over and I am moving on pretty nicely. I stopped comparing myself to others and enjoy what I am doing. I will look back at all this and think about what I have learned from that experience. Most importantly, however, I will treat myself with kindness and focus on my health. Welcome, 37!