How To Reconcile When Your Ego Gets In The Way; Or, How I Spent my 33rd Birthday

aurora lady

At the beginning of November, I turned 33.

In September, I started to get weird about it. I received a lot of invitations for parties on my actual birthday, which was a Saturday, so I already knew my day would be dictated as something different than what I wanted– I had visions of a Clueless themed party with friends. Any person with a birthday in November or December knows that you are basically screwed when it comes to celebrating. There’s always just too much going on. I tried not to take it personally (since, I know it wasn’t personal) but it still bothered me.

I felt DISGUSTED with how precious I felt. I felt privileged, entitled, ungrateful and selfish. And immature. SUPER immature.  I guilted and rationalized myself on all of these qualities. The truth is, my friends, family, and community give me love ALL THE TIME.  Yet I could not shake the fact that I was hurt. Can’t I be happy with what is given to me? What sort of person am I, really? The reality was ugly.

I really tried to work through that– I knew it had to do with my ego more than anything else, and I need to reconcile. I meditated on it. I wrote about it. I tried to look outside myself and offer where I was needed instead.

I’m ok with getting older– 33 doesn’t signify anything as far as my mortality. After a few days, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of having a party– even though I had a theme and invite drawn out and organized. I scrapped everything. I made it clear when people asked that there would be no festivities. And I tried to treat it like any other day.

The truth is, this birthday meant something to me, but it didn’t mean what I thought it would.  I thought that somehow this would be the year where my friends would gather and we’d all laugh our asses off and make silly faces and mix drinks and eat cake and dance. Fucking adorable, I know!

The truth was, it was instead a good signifier– an opportunity for assessment. I’m goal oriented, but often too empathetic to others needs, over my own. I started making more lists. More goals. More things I could quit. More things I could start. I know what my priorities are, and as I grow older, that list grows shorter.

This really helped to clarify for me. Maybe you should try it too, on your own birthday. I’m starting to accept that things will always be in flux. I can try my damnest to be in control, but the truth is, the only thing I have control over is my own reaction to everything else. I can press on and work hard with a positive attitude and intentions, but I have to allow for flux.

My body will always be in flux. My art will always be in flux. My friends and family will always be in flux. And I think I’m going to be a lot less stressed and far more happy with this as my reality.

What did you learn on your last birthday?


4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. On my 34th birthday I learned two things: I care too much about attention and the people I thought were important to give me attention at that point were not. So my goal by 35 is to know who matters and who doesn’t.

  2. I just turned 33 too, yay us! This birthday I learned that 33 is damned well the most magical number and we shall be magical all year round.
    On a more serious note I know what you mean though, birthdays are the oddest days, this year I so wanted to curl up in a ball and do nothing and hide but I forced myself to book a dinner and just invite a few trusted girlfriends, seemed like a safe bet! and it was, I had a wonderful time and it reminded me how I can so easily get rushed away with work or as you say with others needs that I forget about my own joy, seeing my beautiful friends gather together for me and enjoy each others company made me laugh and smile and that seems like all I need to go on with for now.
    Love to you and this 33rd year for us both! xo

  3. I spent many a birthday just pretending that there was no significance but I ended up feeling depressed and disappointed. I still can remember specific birthdays and how empty they felt. This year i turned 50. Yes 50! and more than anything i wanted to be surrounded by those i love. It was a beautiful night that i will never forget. It wasn’t a big wild affair, just a gathering. I was moved by the generous spirit of my friends, offering their home, cooking, putting together a wonderful slide show. Once I got over the “oh I don’t want anyone to make a fuss over me”, I found that doing something special for me brought them joy as well. I know how much I love helping others or just offering love and support!

    I gave back the gift of offering my friends and family a chance to get to know each other. I was witness to some wonderful conversations and I am sure new friendships were formed.

    So what did I learn on my last birthday? I learned that it can be the catalyst for love to be shared, if we just let ourselves get out of the way. Give and RECEIVE. It is a gift to do both.

  4. I turned 30 this year and it was terrifying. I wanted to not do anything, and like Dawna, didn’t want anyone to make a fuss over me. What I was too afraid to admit was, I feel alone. I didn’t know who would fuss if I chose to celebrate. I ended up inviting friends out to a bar because I felt like it was something I had to do to look good. To look as though I was doing ok, when really I’m terrified of being alone and don’t know how to accept it. For 31 I’d like to learn to EMBRACE my independence. Really, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

    Also, can we have a Clueless themed party ANYWAYS? ‘Cause that sounds amazing.

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