Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Love Notes to myself on my Birthday

8 minute memoir - Birthdays

Birthdays always feel like a complicated affair for me.  It's really nice to have a day that other people acknowledge as a special day you were born and yet somehow that's always a little uncomfortable for me too.  Birthdays have often been this weird let down kind of feeling for me - even when I was much younger, and I've never been able to explain where that comes from really.  I've gotten into fights with friends on my birthday.  I've cried after leaving a birthday celebration.  I really related to Betheny Frankel when she spent her birthday crying in the bathroom at an extravagent party.  It's never been the fault of anyone - but it's always just felt like a very strangely disappointing day. 

This year on my work calendar I noticed on July 27th it said "take off this day if you still work here".  I made that little note on the calendar a year earlier.  I remember that birthday, when I turned 48 was a particularly trying day for me.  It was a day filled with stress, both personal stress and stress at work.  And I remember when I finally got around to going to dinner with 2 of my kids that evening I just felt like that birthday was more stressful than most and hence, the next day I made this nice little mental note and calendar note to take off my birthday next time it came around.

As July approached I didn't delete the note to myself but I also did not plan to take off that day.  It seemed silly and wasteful to use one of my vacation days on a day when actually, I probably didn't have much to do to celebrate anyway.  Besides, who celebrates 49?

But every day in July when I logged into my calendar and scanned my appointments, there that little reminder sat blinking away at me.  It sort of taunted me.  I thought about deleting it, but I couldn't quite make it go away.  It felt like if I deleted it 48 year old me from 2015 was going to be pretty irritated with 2016 me.

Finally, the week before I turned 49 I arranged to have the day off.

It was the best decision of my life.  Okay, that's a little hyberbolic, it was a good decision.  The best decision of my life was deciding to have kids.  My kids have always made my birthdays really great.  I think it's just me that's always overthinking on my birthday.  Having the day off this year helped me to not overthink it.  I went with the flow.  Jordan and I got crêpes.  I did a little shopping.  I got a pedicure.  I went to dinner with my kids and had a delicious burger.

Here's the thing. I actually think I do know the reasons my birthdays are complicated affairs for me.  And it's more than I want to divulge in an 8 minute memoir.  Maybe you have complicated feelings about your birthdays too.  Lots of people do.

What I know for sure is when July 27, 2017 rolls around I will be taking that day off too.  I already made a note.  I'll be floating in my pool, having lunch with someone I love, or eating a Sprinkles cupcake.  Whether I'm alone or with other people the secret is this - just be nice to yourself that day.  I'm the one who has been screwing up my birthdays this whole time.  I'm guessing that's why birthdays feel great when you're 1 - you're too young to get in your own way of having a great time. 

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