On my 28th year of life to the very day otherwise known as my birthday, I spent the majority of the day trying to force negative thoughts and regrets from my mind for everyone else’s sake.
I share a birthday with my aunt and we book the day to go out for lunch every year to open presents and cards and this year I was stupidly grateful that no one had bought me a card with my age on. I’m long past the point when it is acceptable to do that. Anyway, we usually have some good girlie chats and it’s always fun but this birthday I felt a tad off.
It’s not that I care about getting older, I don’t, what bothers me is my lack of accomplishments in my 28 years. When I was 21 there was still time to improve life, to make some sort of a difference, but when the dreaded thirty is in clear sight and I’m already losing my energy and enthusiasm, time seems to be running out to make that drastic change and maintain the ability to bounce back if I make a few mistakes getting to the right place.
It’s too dangerous for me to lose everything right now, it may make me blissfully happy but if it doesn’t things will be so much worse. I can’t risk it.
So, over the course of the day I was routing through my thoughts and questions then fighting back tears; ‘do I want a baby? Would I rather have a puppy? Do I want a career or a family? Am I infertile by now?What colour can I decorate my sitting room? I’m so tired I need coffee. When will this headache go away? Why has everyone sent me money? Doesn’t anybody know me at all? Am I creating this headache by thinking too much?’ And so on…
I realised that I spend so much time enacting in my head how things will happen that I never really do anything. It applies to everything too, I didn’t get up out of my seat to get a single thing, not even to go to the ladies room, which would be a task for my own benefit obviously and I didn’t bother, what does that say?
Laziness to you I suppose but to me it’s fear. Fear of falling on my face in my Barbie heels, looking in the mirror when I wash my hands, walking out and wondering how many people are judging my weight, body shape as I put one wobbly leg in front of the other trying not to slip on the polished parquet. No, it’s too risky! I can’t be judged anymore.
After the bill is settled I nestled myself safely between the other women as we made our way to the car and I just couldn’t get my mood to shift at all. Something felt wrong, I was anxious and tired. It was like standing on a misty field right before battle not seeing the enemy across the way, but knowing that they were there waiting to charge as I stood defenceless squinting into the early morning fog, it would not clear.
Through the thick of the trees I imagined voices telling me to cheer up ‘it’s your birthday’, but if I asked why they wouldn’t answer, my voice would echo into the silent space where I envisage them standing. There’s no one here but me telling myself that something is wrong with my life. I must make my peace with that.
When I got home I was informed that my patio door had been unlocked all of the previous night and all day long while I was out. A silly thing in the grand scheme of things but I assumed that was the origin of my cloud of foreboding that hovered over my head all day. Subconsciously knowing how close I could have been to losing all of my possessions and more importantly my sense of security and privacy in my own home.
Nothing happened. Happy Birthday to me!