So my birthday was yesterday. Which turned what would have been an ordinary Tuesday (make the bed, feed the cats, sit in traffic, go to work, be annoyed by everything, sit in traffic, ride the horse, pour the wine) into a Tuesday that stuck me with the sort of melancholy that only comes with an occasion that forces you to reflect on your past year and take stock of your life and count your chickens every other dangerous metaphor you want to throw in there (New Years can also do this. Be forewarned). As Anne Lamott says, "The worst part about celebrating another birthday is the shock that you're only as well as you are."
I don't particularly like my birthday, because let's face it, adult birthdays are let downs. If you're not a four-year-old in a party dress waiting for the ponies to arrive, it's kind of inevitably disappointing. It's what I've come to recognize as my birthday malaise. I think forcing myself to be happy and chipper and in a good mood all day because people are wishing you happy birthday so that's how you're supposed to react kind of zaps all my energy, and leaves me longing to climb back under the covers and wait for the day to pass. Compound that with certain people who made sure that I felt as unspecial as possible yesterday and I was feeling pretty down. I wanted to tell them that I already felt pretty unspecial, so they really needn't bother, but I didn't. (Side note. It amazes me that adult women can be as mean as middle-schoolers. I can't be the only one who still encounters this as I get older.)
Birthdays, like Valentine's Day and all other holidays, create this expectation that you're supposed to have special plans and have a really fun day planned and get treated like someone who's really important. But when that's not the case, when your day is just an ordinary Tuesday, those well-meaning comments can feel like digs. Even though they're not. Even though people are just saying exactly what they've been conditioned to say when they say, "so, any special plans this evening?"
But it made me feel like snapping at people. I wanted to remind them that I'm single and I live alone and I've had kind of a crappy year, so of course I don't have special plans. Yes, as I said in my last post, I'm figuring out how to be happy and grateful and content with my new life, and in honest moments (as opposed to morbid, self-pitying moments) I have zero desire for marriage or a family and I love my quiet little cottage. But yesterday... although externally I was humming right along, liking all the facebook posts and cheerfully answering texts and eating my birthday cupcake, inside I was throwing a major pity party for myself. Despite the 100+ people saying nice things to me via text and social media, I was barely holding it together.
But then I got to the barn, and my friends were waiting with wine and flowers, and I shared a carrot cake cupcake with Tucker and Goose. And I had my first genuine laughs of the day, without even a hint of awkward fake laughter that's barely covering up the sheer existential dread. What would we do without horses? And horse girls!
|These flowers prompted many remarks. |
All of which were met with a grumpy "no they're not from a boy."
But - and this is important. Do not go feeling bad for me. I did plenty of feeling bad enough for myself yesterday to cover all of us. And for my facebook friends, don't regret wishing me a happy birthday or telling me to have fun or any of the other lovely things you said. I loved them. They made the day palatable. They reminded me not to be so glum. You all reminded me that I have no reason not to be happy about my life-stock and the number of my chickens.
Remember Eeyore's birthday party? When Eeyore is all gloomy because he can't sing and dance on his birthday, and then Pooh and Piglet give him an empty honey jar and a popped balloon and he's happy again? It was basically that, only slightly less adorable. And ended with an empty wine bottle, rather than an empty honey pot.
|I love this photo|