My birthday is coming… Still got two months till it rears its ugly head, but it’s already darkening my door.
Why would a 29th birthday bother someone?
I’ve hated my birthday for years. It’s the culmination of a myriad of things, like the fact my birthday falls on Halloween. That SOUNDS like a cool birthday, but in reality it becomes inconvenient. I never get to take my birthday off because taking month-end off in my profession is impossible. People also make plans for Halloween. It’s a big party holiday. When presented with my birthday or some party with strangers downtown… downtown wins. It’s just a thing. So, with no one to invite to a party, and no way to take off for it to even really party, my birthday is just kind of a burden for me.
The last GOOD birthday party I had was when I was 15. Mom paid for me and some friends to hang out at Dave & Buster’s, and then all us lil goth kids when to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). We ruined the experience for the mid-thirties couple behind us, but we didn’t care. We laughed, tried to scare each other, cringed… did kid shit. I think my mom was just excited for me to have some friends. They were fleeting, even at the best of time. I can’t recall doing anything for the rest of my birthdays after that… until I was 21.
A 21st birthday in America is a big deal. You can finally drink! Woo! Rager! Or something. The thing about my 21st first birthday is that I didn’t WANT to do anything for it. I was scarce on friends, as I had been for a while. My live-in boyfriend of the time decided it was a great excuse for a party. So… he invited all of HIS friends. To his credit, he tried to invite mine. Some showed up for a minute, but most didn’t even filter through. His friends were nice, though. This guy we called Fargo cut my birthday cake with a Samurai sword, and everyone got wasted. I tried to have fun, but I actually went to bed before everyone even left. It was a great attempt at a party, but at the end of the day it just had nothing to do with me.
The next year (I think) I didn’t even try to have a party. Instead, my friend Billie and I went to Zombie Crawl and then to a Polkadot Cadaver concert. It was great! I had a lot of fun. She’s in Oregon now, though. So… not really something repeatable.
I’ve had other people try to wrangle something together, but over the years my birthday started marking more than my inability to maintain healthy friendships. People’s careers took off. People got married. People had kids. People moved away. People changed. I’ve been at the same place for 12 years, even though my position has changed. I’ve got an alright career, but nothing to metaphorically write home about. I stopped dating. I lost friends. Every year my birthday just seemed to come around and remind me that another year had passed where I had earned no real adult points, and nothing had changed.
Obviously I’ve changed. I’ve clawed my way up to office manager, so far from the little file clerk I was 12 years ago. I have a house, four dogs, a cat, and I’m doing well for myself. I’ve stopped being a little goth kid and even found a moderately classy sense of style. I earned a college degree. There’s a lot in my life that’s worth being proud of. Still, every year, all I can think about is what I haven’t done… the typical adult milestones I haven’t even tried to get to… and it depresses me, because at 28 and 10 months, I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
My mom tries to console me. She was 34 when she had me, so there’s plenty of time for family. She never knew what she wanted from life till she decided she wanted the best for ME. She was a party girl and a serial bride. I appreciate her sentiments, but I’m not a party girl… and I haven’t even had a boyfriend since 2012. That boyfriend, by the way, has been married for over a year now.
So, I’ve been trying to think of things to do to avoid my crisis. I’m still unmedicated, still very bipolar, but I’m back to rapid cycling (pretty sure, now). I’m TRYING to do something different, which is leave… but I still feel like there’s so many things I just DON’T do, and I will probably never do.
And really, that’s fine. There’s no REAL obligation to DO these things. I don’t believe in marriage. I don’t really WANT my own kids. I don’t really want a big, fancy career. I just want to be debt free, with my dogs, and have a job that pays the bills without making me cry. I could use a significant other, but a best friend that lived in the same state would do. But knowing these things, and being rational about it doesn’t fix the feeling that I’m missing out and being left behind.
So… if you’re reading this… if you have a suggestion for something I could do to NOT have a total crisis this year, that would be fucking stellar. All suggestions appreciated.