It's my birthday today!
For some reason I woke up with that 1960s song in my head "It's My Party, I'll Cry If I Want To". I sing it in my head in a rather upbeat way, considering I'm still unemployed and the first few months of this year have been rather trying.
I'm well into my 30s, and I woke up as I always do on my birthday. After weeks of anticipating what it will be like to be a year older, I wake up realizing that I feel the same as I did yesterday.
This is not a bad thing.
I remember when I turned 30 -- it was a lucky year as my birthday fell on a Saturday. I woke up that day thinking I would feel older, but I didn't, and it was such a relief to me. My boyfriend at the time rented a limo, and a bunch of us went out and partied and had a great time. The next year was markedly different, however. When I turned 31 I poked my head up out of my cube and said "It's my birthday, does anyone want to go out for a beer?"
Since then, it's gotten to be a progressively mellower non-event. I get a few cards, I might get some people together to have a drink, but I don't care to celebrate my birthday the same way I used to. Now I'm beginning to understand why my Grandmother didn't want anything done for her when she turned 90.
This is the first birthday in a few years in which I don't really care that I've gotten a year older. My husband and I had tried to have a baby the past few years, with no success...and each birthday since I turned 35 had become a marker of how old I was getting, and how much closer I was getting to 40 without a child in my life. I could write a book about how horrible it is to be constantly reminded that at my age every other woman on the planet apparently has a kid, or at least wants one, and the ever-ticking clock that comes with being in your late 30s starts sounding like an alarm going off.
Since we gave up on it and decided to grow our family in a different way (through adoption or foster children) in the past few months, suddenly I realized that I really don't care if I get older. I know people who have died of cancer or other illnesses by the time they're in their late 30s, and I'm happy to be alive, healthy and relatively happy, despite my ups and downs of the past few years.
I've learned a lot in my 30s. I've learned how to be a better friend, how to take less B.S. from people without having to burn bridges, and I've learned to cherish life more than ever. And most importantly, I've begun to understand that age is really just a number, and my attitude towards life is really what counts.
I've chosen to be a survivor, and not just that -- to thrive, despite whatever adversity life throws me. I know a few people who insist on being victims -- whenever something bad happens, it's always some sort of "ism" that did it -- sexism, racism, or other discrimination. Not me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "PollyAnna" who thinks that everything in life is meant for good. I know there are bad people and bad things in this world. But every time life hands you lemons and you don't try to make pie or something else out of it, you're missing an opportunity to not only eat some good lemon pie, you're letting someone else dictate your day.
Well, It's my birthday -- I'll cry if I want to. But I don't want to. I want to enjoy this day off and go have some fun.