It was my birthday last week. I know, I know… happy birthday to me and all that jazz. But I’m not writing this article to attract a bunch of belated birthday e-wishes. I’m writing because I want to share with you all the fact that I had a great birthday. Yes, that’s right. An unmarried, childless woman in her mid-30s can actually enjoy her birthday. Who would have thought???
Last year I had a massive birthday freak-out. Like serious stuff. 33 seemed to be a major milestone that nobody talks about, a kind of silent torture. Forget about 40 being a challenge. 33 was the end of my early 30s, the bit where I could still get away with being irresponsible. Somehow it felt like the end of my youth. I didn’t have any more excuses for failing to move into the world of adulthood.
Because, by society’s commonly accepted standards, I’m not really an adult yet. I should have purchased a house by now. I should be married. Or at least have had a commitment ceremony. I should have a sensible job. And it’s not just society ganging up on me. My biological clock is definitely in agreement that I should be in the kick-off phase of Project Children at the very least, preferably well into post-implementation.
So theoretically, my birthday this year should have been a pretty depressing day. But… it just wasn’t.
Whilst you wouldn’t find the last 10 years of my life in any of the “how to” guidelines sactioned by the establishment, one thing is certain… it’s been one helluva ride. And it’s been MY ride. Me living my life how I wanted, not how society told me I should. Screw what society wants, I’m responsible for my choices in life. So why should I let myeslf get disappointed or depressed about where my choices have led me?
The power of taking responsibility for our choices cannot be overestimated. Losing the victim mentality of what time has “done to” us or how it has “escaped” us can bring us a sense of ownership of both our past and our future. I’ve written before about appreciating the journey… and this birthday I found that that approach was just what was needed to beat the birthday blues. Owning my choices and acknowledging the experiences they have brought me helped me down the path to passing a truly happy day.
We all make different choices in life. Maybe you have a life that complies with society’s expectations and it makes you perfectly happy. Maybe you don’t have that life right now, but want it at some point. Maybe you’d prefer just to find a deserted island and live a single and solitary life forever. All these options are A-OK. I’m not saying that everyone should be anti-establishment rebels depriving their parents of grand-children.
What I am saying is that being a blubbering mess on you birthday is not a cool way to spend what is ultimately a special day. A birthday should be a time to celebrate your achievements rather than bemoaning what you haven’t gotten around to yet or how quickly time is passing. It’s a day for paying attention to what you have, rather than what’s missing.
Actually, why restrict this thinking to just your birthday? It’s a pretty great outlook all year round! Let’s brainstorm some examples. What do you have in your life that you appreciate? Ok, I’ll start. I have…
Birthday pavlova accompanied by champagne!!!
Note: The author takes no responsibility for ending up in said condition of “blubbering mess” at next birthday, ie the big 3-5. In case of such an incident, feel free to point her in the right direction for a re-read of her own post!