What’s in a birthday? Well, birthdays have different meanings for different people. For some, birthdays are a big deal. They go all out; partying until the sun comes up. There are those who pretend like their birthday isn’t a big deal, in the hopes that someone will in reality make them feel special; I mean after all—it is the day of their birth. For others, it’s just another day. Then there’s what I like to call, the ‘Birthday Loathers.’ These are the people that dread growing another year older. They sit and ponder what they’ve done with the past year—and how much of an impact they may or may not have made.
When I was younger, I used to enjoy my birthday---until 8:57pm. That is when I was born. Even when I was a kid, it hit me---that yes, I am getting older. At that age, I didn’t know what getting older really meant. I knew it meant I would be closer to driving. It meant I could maybe stay up later. It meant that, hey, I was going up another year in school. I remember, on my 11th or 12th birthday, after all my family had gone for the night---I went to my room and laid in bed looking up at the ceiling. My mom came in to wish me a final Happy Birthday, and could see that I was thinking deeply—in an almost upset manner. She asked me what was wrong. I began to tell her that I feared getting older, that I wasn’t sure what my purpose was---that getting older really scared me. Her response was simple:
“Everyone has to get older.”
So we do. We go through the milestones. 16, we get to drive (hopefully). 18, you can buy lotto tickets and cigarettes (and, if you really wanted to you can go to a strip club). 21: The biggest milestone of them all. 25, you can rent a car.
Tomorrow, I will be 26. Yesterday on my way home from work, I got that ‘Oh no, another year older’ feeling. Then today, when I really thought about it…maybe my 26th year is the true escape from the shitty stuff I’ve had to deal with this year. Wait. Scratch that. The previous statement did not sound at all eloquent.
What I am saying is, perhaps rather than the New Year, (which is supposed to technically be a clean slate for you and anyone who believes in that kind of thing), perhaps your birthday is the point where you really get to start over. Another year older, another year wiser, right?
On my 25th birthday, I woke up in my own home, let my dog out in my backyard, and opened gifts that had been left for me by the kitchen table. Of course, he had listened, and gotten me what I asked for, per the usual. I know that sounds really snotty, and please don’t take it that way.
So I went to work, and he went to work, and I came home….and no one was there. It hit me, that yes, his job did have different hours than mine, and that was something that I was going to have to deal with. Birthdays and holidays—were something that he might not be around for. So, that night my parents came and took me to dinner. They gave me the sweetest card, which made me cry. Then they left. They left, and I stood at the front door choking back the tears as they drove away. I was alone….in a home that was far away from everyone that I knew. At the time, I shrugged it off, because we had bought the home together, and it was ours. So, that night, as I often did, I went to sleep in a giant King-Sized bed: alone.
Alone. Whether I would like to admit it or not, in the end---I was more alone than I thought at the time. Sometimes we don’t want to accept the truth, even if it’s so blatant that it’s smacking you in the face. I’d like to think that I was just blind to it all. Naïve even. The truth is, deep down, I knew it was over.
So in my 25th year, I lost a relationship, I lost a home, I lost a family, I lost a job, I lost a grandmother. While all of those losses may seem like enough to send a person over the edge, I feel oddly calm about it all. You see, when something or someone walks out of your life, another something or someone walks in to take its place.
Family and friends have really stepped up to sort of pick me up off the floor. Believe me, for awhile there, it was touch and go. As dramatic as it sounds, go back and read some of my first blogs. In one of them, I talk about how all I want to do is go back to bed. I get up every morning, looking forward to the moment when I can crawl back into bed. Not because I was tired, but because I didn’t want to face life. That’s some pretty depressing shit, and yeah, I do have some depressing moments (still)---but I feel about 15 times stronger than I did October 23, 2012. That’s something to be truly proud of.
The thing is, there is no way I can thank all of the people who have contributed to my sense of renewed life. There are so many individuals who’ve read my blog—and have reached out to me to tell me that I am going to be okay. When someone that you don’t talk to every single day does that, it means something. There are others who told me their own stories. It was then, that I knew there was a chance for me to be happy again—because those people had been through it before and they picked themselves up off the ground, only to carry on and find their own happiness. To all the people who stand by me every day, who support my statuses about going to the gym every single day, who listen to me and read my blogs…and are by my side….I owe you more than you’ll ever know.
So there it is folks. Another blog that has lots of random tangents—and weird thoughts. It makes sense to me---and if you were me then I guess it would make sense to you too.
So here’s to a goodbye. My 25th year was full of my unwillingness to let go. My 26th year, is all about letting go. Starting with the deletion of a phone number. The phone number of He Who Must Not be Named. The end of an era.
I know this is a short blog, and that it isn’t as inspirational as my usual thoughts----but hey----
It’s my birthday (well, almost), and I write what I want to.