…and why I miss mum & dad on my Birthday.
There is one day in the year, that is different from all other days. That is different for me. This time usually is expected to be cheerful, happy, magnificent, where we can for one day in the year be the centre of attention. People close to our hearts will be around us, making us feel special, sending love our way and spoiling us. But not my birthday!
Many might think I am getting the usual birthday blues – don’t we all? No matter how young we are, we always feel like time is running quicker and quicker, and that we are getting older. Maybe less attractive. Maybe we get less time to see the world. Not much time left to achieve our goals, our dreams. Will I still have opportunity to meet the love of my life? Will I start a family? Will I get to live on the beach somewhere hot, like I have always dreamt about?
Or maybe it’s just the opposite. The older we get, the more comfortable we get with ourselves. More accepting. Mature. Smarter. Wiser. After all, I have now lived for over three decades. I finished school and continued learning through reading, working, exploring the world and meeting new people. I finally am starting to accept my body, my looks, my first wrinkles and even that bit of extra fat on my body.
The feeling leading to the BIG day must be a combination of both for sure. Although, I wanted to explore a different meaning of birthday. Not the day my age jumped from 33 to 34 – from this I am actually quite proud. I can finally say I achieved a lot in my life. I have found some sense in what I am doing. I found what makes me happy and what I feel passionate about (writing this note for example). The context, that is getting more difficult to me every year, is the pressure to celebrate. It’s how I am supposed to spend this day.
For the past 10 years I feel like I have not celebrated. I lived alone. I always worked on my birthday. I go back to an empty house. That scenario for sure, cannot be seen as celebration worthy another year of life. Why is it that on this day, day like any other from a realist perspective – I managed to get down, sad and even lonely? I already talked about the opposite and how much I enjoy my own company, and comfort of my life. Although, this is the day, where I feel like I can’t be bothered to smile. Something is missing. What are other expecting of me?
I finally understood what was missing, was my family. People who have seen me grow and become who I am today. Accepting my weaknesses and failures. All those years, away from home the feeling of emptiness on my birthday becomes more and more unbearable. How is this possible that suddenly a grown-up woman feels incomplete without her mum and dad?
Not just parents, but grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins. Best birthday celebrations I can remember were during the childhood years with cake, candles and a lot of happy people around. These were also the times before the mass media, where human interaction was very important. Nowadays, it is so easy just to send a text message, or even worse – most applications will remind you about your family and friends’ birthdays, and even provide complete template messages. All you need to do is press the “send” button. Honestly, this makes me sad. I don’t feel like there is much personal touch to it.
Thank god that those that matter to me the most, that they have actually picked up a phone and called me or put more personal message. I am too guilty of the social media birthday scenario – but I like to personalise my messages, include a photo or an individual message at least. The most important people in my life, are in my “old school” wall calendar. Paper calendar, month per page on a wire. Yes, I still have one of those in the kitchen and it is not going to disappear any time soon.
But is it really the family I miss? I realised I am jealous of them – my family and friends in Poland. My birthday falls on a national holiday. Country normally celebrates, people have long weekends and travel to the coast, lakes or mountains, they arrange BBQs or at least go for a walk, dinner, meet in bigger groups. The thought of that was making me sad. They are certainly celebrating – while I am here, at work, with poor weather and no special meaning than any other day.
I promised myself that this was the last time, I am allowing this day to make me feel sad. I am planning a big party next year. I will invite a lot of family and friends. I will celebrate back home in Poland. It will be a round anniversary of my birth, I will make it count. Plus, if all goes to plan it will be nice to combine it, with my farewell party. Right before I set of on my journey to Asia. I wonder at times, if the feeling that I get on my birthday and the vision of how it could/should be, is just my imagination? Who is to say that we are only happy with the family around us or by arranging a big party? I keep forgetting I am not really a party person. I don’t even feel too comfortable in bigger groups of people. Yet the idea and vision of what this day “should” look like is making me feel like I am missing out on something.
Up to this year, I always had my work “family” made big surprise for me on that day every year. Balloons, confetti, glitter – I quickly forgot, just because this time, I no longer was with my team. I also, just few days before birthday, got back from an amazing trip to Poland. Was the post-holiday blues still running through my veins? Going through my strong emotions, opened me up to new ideas of how high my expectations are possibly set. Relationship with myself, my feelings and expectations. I want to make sure that every single day is a special day, the happy day, celebrating achievements and failures.
This leads me to final thought, and being able to accept, that birthday expectation is not a set of rules. There is not a right or wrong way to spend that day. That the peace on that day, was in fact what I enjoy, and how I like my life to be. That I had time to reflect on past year and what my next year is going to be like. The coming year is going to be most exciting from them all. I am in process of planning my big trip, changing my life by 360 degrees and opening up a new chapter. That is all very exciting and certainly more important than worrying about how many messages or phone calls I received on the day.
Finally, maybe it would be a nice a touch to wish something good to myself. What I could wish myself for coming year? Be good to yourself, treat your mind and body like a temple. Respect your feelings and emotions and allow yourself some weaknesses. No one is perfect, the happiest person in the world can get a worse day – so can you. But I still would like to wish you a lot of happiness, smiles, sunny days, good luck in new job and make sure to continue working towards your goal – 2020 Asia Trip. Happy B-day Mal! xoxo