I sit typing this as the day draws to a close. 11:15pm, that’s when I started. I have to complete this post by 11:30pm because one of my goals for this year is to get more sleep. With Zac waking us up at 5/530am every morning, the only way I can get a nice stretch of sleep is by, well, sleeping earlier than usual. Somehow, my children are allergic to sleep AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY.
35 years and almost 12 hours ago, on this day, I was born. It’s been such a ride, so many highs and so many lows. The lows were horrible, difficult to live through – so many deaths and illnesses and poverty and emotional scars. But the highs? Oh, so many beautiful memories. No matter how bad it gets now, I know and remember that it could have been worse.
And so I am very glad to be here today.
In my youth, I dreaded growing older. When I was 18, I shuddered at turning 25. And look at me today, 35 and proud of it. I think it has something to do with being so much more comfortable in my own (ageing) skin. I know who I am and what I am and you can take it or leave it. I am no longer in the business of trying to make everyone happy – I do not give a shit to what you think.
A few weeks ago, I had a bit of an existential angst. Or moment of realisation. One of those things. I was thinking of something else and randomly, it dawned upon me that my birthday was coming up and HOLY SHIT I AM TURNING 35. That’s like one foot into the door of middle-agedhood. And I had a sudden panic attack. 35 and what have I done with my life?
And that’s really me in a nutshell, always wanting to do this and be that and getting frustrated that my situation does not permit me to do so. That’s why I decided that this year will be the year that I am patient with myself, that I do not ask too much of myself.
Knowing that there is so much that I seek to achieve, and also knowing that I am hopeless at organising my life (see what I mean by knowing myself well), I downloaded two apps on my phones. They are habit trackers: I set habits like “Go to bed at 11:30pm”, “Practise yoga” and “Write/Create” on certain (or all) days of the week and then when I attain these habits on a daily basis, I mark it off with a tick. It makes me accountable to myself and also, hey, it’s pretty cool to see the boxes checked. Let’s hope that by the time I turned 36, I am still going to bed at 11:30pm, practising yoga everyday and writing.
Usually, I would spend my birthday with my favourite boys. This year, however, husband took on a new job and he started yesterday. Which meant that it was impossible for him to take the day off and spend it with me. No biggie. I decided that since it was my birthday, it would be a day for me and took the day off.
I dropped Aidan off at his childcare centre, all sobbing and clinging on to my leg. I half wanted to grab him and bring him home with me but steeled my heart and walked away. Left the littlest at home with my mother and I went for an hour’s yoga session. Stretched out the kinks, pushed my body a little further than it has been used to for the past four years and it made me feel so good.
BONUS: the gym’s hairdryer is DOPE and it made my hair all perfect and nice, in a matter of minutes. MINUTES.
I then met my favourite girlfriend – she whom I have known since we were 13, spotty and really awkward – and we had lunch and tea together. We hardly meet, what with our brood of five between us, but it’s always a joyous thing when we do. It’s a most wonderful, funny and heartwarming and honest and giving friendship.
In the evening, I sent my mother home and went to pick up the man at his new far-flung office. We drove home in happy conversation, had dinner and then had cake again. Aidan sang me a line of the birthday song after I threatened to withhold cake from him, Zac ate so much he farted twice and then we put them to bed.
And now they are happily snoring in their beds and I am writing.
It’s a simple day. No gifts, no flowers, no big gestures.
But I am happy.
This year is not looking like it will be easy, what with the man’s new job/long working hours/traveling/office location and my steadily increasing workload. Some days I think about it and I despair. Just a little. But I know I will get through it.
I always do. I’m a survivor. I’m strong.
Happy birthday to me.