I just celebrated my 39th birthday. Yay! Happy Birthday to me! Right? Yea? We’re happy, right? Umm, no. That is not how I felt at all, and the entire day was spent going through emotional waves, large and small, about how I felt about that day and turning 39. In fact, those waves started at the beginning of the year. When you have a birthday early in the year like me, you tend to tie in thoughts of the big day with the new year in general.
As kids we think of the presents and all the attention that we are going to get that day. As adults we think about how successful our lives are and what we have to do next. We allow ourselves to think deeply about what we have accomplished, what we are failing at, and start setting goals. Unfortunately, my thoughts were more negative than positive, and if I did not have a little angel constantly talking in my ear in the form of my teenage daughter, I am convinced that I would have spent the day really depressed and beating up on myself.
What have I accomplished besides a handful of degrees? I have no career that I plan on staying in longer than I absolutely have to. I only have one child. I am not married (my amazing boyfriend and I are not ready for that step yet). I am not where I want to be physically. I have health problems. What is there to celebrate? How can my birthday be happy if I am failing at life?
When I brought this up to my doctor she said that I should be looking at things differently. She assured me that my life is not a failure, and that I needed to really look at my life to see it for how it really is and not how I was currently seeing it, as well as what led me to believe that it was so bad. And that’s exactly what I did when I went home.
Yes, I only had a handful of degrees, but doesn’t that mean something? Doesn’t it mean that I am an educated woman? I only have one child, but so what? Does success mean reproducing more than one child, or even reproducing at all? No, I am not married, but why is that a bad thing? Isn’t it better to wait for the right man and get married when I am ready, rather than do it for the purpose of being able to say that I am successful or for the title of “wife”? And why is marriage an accomplishment? I am unhappy in my career and want to change it, but so what? A lot of people change careers, and do so at many ages. What about the other good things that I have going on in my life? What about my other good qualities?
By the time I got done thinking over everything I decided that yes, my birthday was happy, and that I had reason to celebrate. My life isn’t terrible. I have been through a lot, but went into them a strong woman and came out of them a strong woman, sometimes stronger.
Now give me my cake.