Thursday, April 5, 2012

Party of One



I am not much for holidays. Perhaps I lack that sentimental gene, or maybe I just don’t understand waiting for some arbitrary day to celebrate. But either way, I only look forward to the holidays that mean I will get to miss work. I am fond of New Year’s Eve, but only for the drunken debauchery. I think Hallmark has swindled us all with Valentine’s Day. I mildly enjoy 4th of July, but mostly because I enjoy anything that involves beer and grilled hot dogs. I don’t get into Halloween because I don’t have an extreme sweet tooth and I don’t really require an excuse to dress like a whore if I want to. And any long time readers know that I would prefer Christmas not ever come around for me again.
I said all that to say, holidays don’t really do it for me.
BIRTHDAYS, however? I go hard for birthdays.
I buy gifts months in advance and plan parties and dinners. I make travel arrangements and demand people wear crowns announcing them as the official born day reveler. I organize trips to get tattoos and piercings and vibrators and that drink you set on fire before you shoot it. I cook food and mix drinks with a heavy pour and pick out club outfits and scout the perfect 24 hour diner at which to have a hangover breakfast. Really, birthdays are my opportunity to celebrate the people in my life, relish them being born and fete the fact that I get to see another year with them. Birthdays are important to me.
Which is why it’s such a shame mine will be so quiet this year.
Usually for my birthday, I am travelling. Firstly, because travel is the love of my life. And secondly because most of the people I love and would want to spend my birthday with are in states that are not the one I reside in. But this year, like most other years if I am being honest, my birthday snuck up on me, in no small part thanks to the fact that in a short three months, I have gotten in a car accident that rendered me carless, gotten my best friend married, broken my own heart a little bit, travelled to Jamaica, and countless other little things that have fragmented my stride and pilfered my time.
And now, as usual, I am blindsided by my birthday. It’s fucking April already.
As I usually do around this time, I reflect on the last year and size myself up against where I am and where I thought I’d be. To be frank, travelling or not, surrounded by friends or family or alone, the last few years I have fallen short of my own expectations.
And maybe that is part of why I am wearily side eyeing my birthday this year, willing to let it slide by with little pomp and no circumstance.
I am 28 and not where I want to be in my life.
“Where”, part metaphor and part literal state of being, has been the cloud hanging over my head. The last six years I have become a well versed student in solitude. I have taken long walks with silence. I have sat, completely still and unmoving, next to alone. I have curled up to wrestle through fitful bouts of sleep with only loneliness to spoon me.
This birthday will be no different.
It’s not lost on me that I have finally learned the lesson that no man is an island, a warm and fuzzy idea I fought almost the entirety of my life, and now I can’t seem to get back to the people I love so ardently and wholly for the life of me.
Thanks for that, Universe.
So, today on my birthday, as I have so often in the last few years, I will try to smile and enjoy my day and ignore the loneliness that settles cold in my chest. I will appreciate the friends who’ve grown to love me despite my penchant for slow dancing with seclusion, who will drink with me and make sure I get home safely. I will turn a blind eye to the longing to be closer to my friends and family that tugs at my heartstrings. And tonight, I will fall asleep, happy in a melancholy way, grateful to have seen another year, even if I have fallen so short of where I thought I’d be.

Today is my 28th birthday. Wherever you are, have a drink for me. I’d like that very much.

8 comments:

Bri said...

Happy Birthday....this year and many in the last 5 years have been that way for me as well, yes I will have a glass (re: bottle of wine) for you today

A.Smith said...

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday...

I'm so... intrigued... by how those of us in our not-early 20s celebrate birthdays. I see a lot of "not what I thought I'd be doing on my 2?th" going on... real interesting, mostly because I feel like this must mean something, but what?

LadyLee said...

Happy Birthday, La... from your intannet stalker!

Honey, I am 42, and I'm not where I want to be in life... But oh, what a wonderful journey it has been. And hopefully, will continue to be. I'm thankful for each and every second of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Some folks, in the midst of their perfect lives, didn't make it to see their next birthday... You did. There's still much much opportunity for great things to happen. And they will. Don't forget that. Be expectant of it. Crane your neck looking for it, because it is there.

Happy Birthday again! *pours you a virtual drank*

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday La!

Enjoy your own personal holiday girl! Love and live your authentic life.

Wifey615

Lashuntrice aka Mrs Star Status said...

Happy Birthday

Beth said...

First, Happy Birthday! i feel the same way about birthdays. I make a big deal for people that say they don't care and I usually make a huge deal about my own.
I turned 30 this year, just after moving away for grad school in a city where I don't know anyone. Sure I've made a few friends since I moved and I was blessed to have every single one of them come out with me for my birthday two weeks ago. But, all of the love ones were 17 hours away. I had fun, but it was a little sad at the same time. So, I feel you. But I certainly appreciate your approach.
And I definitely had a couple drinks for you tonight with some new friends. :) Happy Birthday again!

unityfalls said...

Happy belated birthday La. I'm sorry your bday wasn't what you wanted it to be. As a blogger above said just keep living your authentic life. You are a awesome human being and I hope your future will surpass your expectations.

Monique said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you. Whether you spent it alone or with those you care about, you made it another year. So what you aren't where you want to be. You have another year to get there and another year after that... Keep trucking.