Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On a personal note

On this day 37 years ago, a small family in the suburbs of Boston added a new member.  (That's right, I wasn't born in Kansas; I just act like I was.)  My mother was pregnant with me for almost 10 months, so I think she was pretty happy to welcome me to the outside world.  My 3 1/2 year-old sister, not so much.  She gave my grandmother so much trouble that day, my grandmother declared she must be sick and had to go to bed.  My sister famously replied, "I'm not sick.  I'm just being bad!"  So that was the origin of June 30 as a day worth commemorating.

I have always loved my birthday.  Want to make a big fuss over me?  Yes, please!  I loved it when people bought me coffee, made me cakes, took me to lunch, bought me dinner, put birthday cake shots in front of me.  And the presents.  Who doesn't love unwrapping pretty packages filled with special things specifically picked out for them?  In the past, I have reveled in parties complete with jell-o shots and mojitos.  Or surprise parties.  Or an office stuffed ridiculously-full of balloons.  (That one was fun, but by the end of the day a bit of a hassle...)  At 19, I was made to stand on a chair while everyone in a crowded restaurant sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  I cannot tell a lie; I was thrilled.  I once saw my name and a birthday greeting on the score board at Kauffman Stadium.  I've received tickets to the US Open (tennis) and Crowded House concerts.  The musical genius behind Crowded House even wrote a song for my birthday!  Honest!  It's called "Last Day of June" so clearly it's about me.  One of my favorite birthdays involved my fellow broke law students cobbling together a lovely picnic lunch.  I've always loved the idea of a day whose central theme is "Yay, Sarah!"

But this year, I'm just not feeling it.  There is nothing to celebrate about me or my life right now.  Nothing in my life feels right and nothing is how it is supposed to be.  I never expected to be on my own at 37.  Certainly not since I turned 32 in that magical Year of Sarah and met the one I thought would be with me for every subsequent birthday.  But he saw things differently and there's not a thing I can do to fix it.  Which means that this day will begin and end with me being as sad and alone as I have been every day for the past 3 months.  And I don't much like the way I've handled this detour in life.  I have behaved gracelessly, to put it kindly.  No gal wants to feel sad, alone, and graceless on her 37th birthday.  Even my lame and dreary 16th birthday (it was 59 degrees, raining, and all my friends were out of town on vacation) was better.

And so, after much careful consideration, I have decided to skip my birthday this year.  I don't want to have a "Yay, Sarah!" day until I have better figured out where in the hell my life can go from here.  Hence, there will be no balloons.  No singing of songs.  No treats at work.  No birthday lunch.  No party or drinks after work.  Someone can buy me coffee in the morning (she knows who she is).  She (maybe?) and someone else (who also knows who she is) can join me for a low-key dinner at my friend's house.  Maybe some other close friends can slip me a card when I'm not looking or shoot me an e-mail.  And Maddie can cuddle.  But that will be it.  So if you see me today, be a pal and don't wish me a happy birthday.  Don't ask about my plans or offer well-intentioned comments that this can be the start of a new and better year.  Just act like it's any other day.  That will really and truly be giving me exactly what I want for my birthday.

But never fear: I'll be back with a vengeance next year.  I already have a plan for June 30, 2011.


Anonymous said...

You should have an UNbirthday! Maybe at the halfway point...

Burt Likko said...

Will you accept a newfound level of respect for the challenges inherent in your professional life instead?

Nance said...

Sounds like you're having MY birthday last year. We all have them and, while I know it's zero consolation, I think I know a little of how you feel. Take care.

S said...

I did have a big party this weekend, so it's not like I'm not letting people show love and friendship. And I think there might have to be another party, maybe in the fall when I can have a fire in my fire bowl. But treating today like a special day will only make me think about sad things, so it's better to let today be just another day.

And TL, I do need to focus myself back on work because I've been a little distracted lately. (A lot distracted, really.)

I just hope people understand this isn't about moping; it's about avoiding moping.

lu said...

i had a christmas like that once. and i think you should be able to celebrate your birthday whenever you feel like it, so postpone it until you feel like celebrating!

sorry to hear you are in a funk, i am blaming 2010, it hasn't been my favourite year either.

Lisa Johnson said...

I just read the comments and glad to see that you had a party. But I do hope that things are much better next year. I agree with what Lu said too, 2010 has been a rough one.

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