Mixed feelings on my birthday
Friday is my birthday, and I must admit that I am approaching it with mixed emotions. I am happy with my family, friends, clients, my dog Fionna and all the love and respect they give.
Let me start with the good side, I am healthy. I love my work, adore seeing clients, all that is energizing and keeps me motivated. I am proud of getting older because there are only two ways there, or you get older, or you die. I love living so the cost, the price I pay, is to get wrinkles, look and be older.
The issue I have is that birthdays are usually marked by the pressure to be happy, and for me, that is the fastest way to be unhappy. Happiness in my life is something I feel, something that just happens, I can’t plan it, and it is hard to put a date on it.
My Birthday as a Child
I come from a big catholic family, and I always looked forward to my birthday. That day I felt truly special, I was surprised with a gift and had my birthday cake done. I felt loved Perhaps in a narcissistic way, that was my day, I wanted everyone to know that was my birthday and that made that day special.
It always confused me when adults did not seem to share this level of happiness towards their birthdays. I was surprised when they would not say their age or even said that they were not even going to celebrate their birthday. For me that was odd.
Like every child, I enjoyed being special in any way. Birthdays were days where I felt loved, on my birthday people showed me they care, and I enjoyed that feeling.
As I grew up, I learned to temper this enthusiasm. Not that I didn’t feel it, just that I discovered that grownups didn’t mention it and that, it was a sign of maturity not to show so much enthusiasm, so I followed this unspoken rule and learned that I could only mention my birthday a few days before the day.
Into my forties, I was still excited about birthdays even though I saw more and more people around me avoiding their birthdays, not willing to even mention it or just “disappearing” that day…I did still celebrate. I had always some kind of celebration.
Birthdays: Then and Now
I must admit in the last few years that I have approached my birthday with mixed feelings. Many times, with excitement but, often, tempered by a certain level of sadness.
This year with all that is going around the world, the way the COVID outbreak has impacted on my family, my friends, my country, my clients, and of course myself, I am aware that the mixed feelings are more present than ever. Why? Well Maybe because I can look backwards and see the empty spaces left by those who are not here any longer. Maybe because of the pressure I put on myself checking my life to see if I am where I want to be. Maybe the fear of the uncertain future is what has put a certain level of sadness that was not there before or, at least not that present.
Anyway, I took it on myself and decided that my birthday is a day to celebrate, not necessarily to be happy, but a special day. I am alive, here and going. So, I will celebrate.
One of the things i have been doing for a while is making myself a great treat. Whatever I wish and can give myself as a birthday present. It’s like “the inner Ines gives Ines a present and thanks her for being alive and made it through (up to now).
Friday I will celebrate. and hope I will go on celebrating.mu birthdayI dont need a party; I just need to celebrate life. No matter how I feel, no matter what I have accomplished or not. I am here with all that together and that is my life. I huge mixture of success and failures, of presences and absences, of happiness and sorrows.,of lights and shadows. That is me. This is Ines and it is a choice to continue celebrating my life just as crazy as it is.