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?