Yesterday was my birthday so this post gets to be about me and my feelings. Gross. If you have been around, reading what I write, watching my stand-up, listening to my podcast or just hearing me talk you may be aware that I have a pattern of mild mental break-downs each year around my birthday. I don’t think I am the only one to do this but I do know the most about how mine go.
Break It Down
Typically, the break-down starts a week or two before and I start aggressively re-evaluating everything in my life. Every decision I have made, the people I do and do not associate myself with and what I am currently doing and how it is not adequate enough. Some people never do this, some people do this once a year, some people just call this “the morning.”
Instead of spending more time during the year investigating why I feel this way, I simply had learned to deal with it by distancing myself from everything and letting myself actually feel all the insecurities and doubts. Once it’s done, I return to ‘civilization.’ I suppose people who take a vacation for their birthday each year are doing just that. Last year, I went camping by myself for the the first time and although in years past I have had a big party with all my different groups a friends, I think I secretly knew I always needed the alone time.
This pattern started on my 21st birthday, when I decided to work at the trampoline facility until midnight and then go home alone (yes, my life has always been this glamorous). It had been a very tough year for me and I know that is quite the opposite of a 21st birthday but it did seem like what I wanted to do. I was sad at the time and other people get very sad for me when I tell them that story but I do not think doing it differently would have been a good idea. I remember sitting in my bedroom after work, being alone, just thinking and not doing anything. I listened to Florence + the Machine and that was it.
Each of my next birthdays did have a party part to it and they were fun and I enjoyed them. I do love my friends and family, I have great ones. The party is always the perfect excuse to get all those cool people together but I still always do something by myself. In years past I have taken myself to dinner, gone to a park that I like or taken a trip alone. Although it can be painful to be alone with how you are really feeling, I think it is healing and I recommend it to you as a gift to yourself. If I could live at a retreat I would. Essentially, I have learned to embrace the break-down. I write about it every year and just let it happen.
Why This Year Was Different
This year has felt a tad different. Maybe 27 is the year I stop caring so much. I don’t really know what made this year different. Could it be that I am more financially stable than years past? Absolutely not, quite the opposite. Could it be because I feel I am in a better mental place than before? Not at all. Could it be because of love? Nope, why would that ever happen.
The few differences I have deciphered include being older. But you are older every year? I know that. This is the first year I have been told ‘I look good for my age.’ People have often told me -usually with no make up and my hair up- that I look young but this is the first year a woman was informed it was my 27th birthday and said ‘you look good’ but qualified it with ‘for my age.’ All you other 27 year olds need to step your games up.
I have made quite a few mistakes this year letting stress and pain get the best of me and maybe it has left me too tired to care. Or I did let myself re-evaluate on a more constant basis so I don’t have to pack it all in to one time. Because of both of those things, I am medicated and that may lead to a dulling of the feelings I normally have about my birthday.
Or maybe I did something right for once. Maybe that’s it. I moved and traveled a lot this year. Within the last few months I addressed my crippling anxiety, started working out constantly, barely kept myself afloat financially and set some very specific, very thought out goals for 2017. Maybe all that has alleviated some of the tension. I recognized I need to have more time alone and outside so I have been doing that. I cut some negatives from my life and added back some things I know I love. I also, take the time to tell people I love and that help me how great they are. So maybe, I broke a little less because I cared a little more throughout the year instead of cramming it into a week. We’ll try again this year and I’ll let ya know how it goes.
My birthday was great, I spent the weekend in New Orleans with my mom and did my first half marathon with her. Then yesterday, my actual birthday, we walked around the city together and I got to show her one of the coolest places I have gotten to travel before we headed back to our respective homes. I loved it. Now, I will do my own outdoorsy bullshit and I will be ready to take on another year.
Thank you to everyone who sent messages, comments, texts, e-mails, calls and voice mails yesterday. I appreciate you and your kindness during what has previously been a break-down-dance time for me. 🙂
If someone else’s birthday is coming up, use this banner to buy them something on Amazon 🙂