Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. I have mixed feelings about this. In the last 10 years or so, my birthday brings me sadness. There wasn’t any particular event that permanently ruined my special day. I try to be happy about the celebration of another year of life, but there is always a darkness, a heaviness in my heart around this day. I usually end up crying at some point, only when I’m alone though.
First I want to say that I am thankful for each year that I am given. I know there are many unfortunate souls out there who never made it this far. I realize that I almost didn’t make it this far myself. I have a good life with a loving husband and children. I am truly thankful that my husband loves me enough to take care of me no matter how much of a burden I may be at times. I am also thankful that he provides us with a wonderful life of abundance. Yet, every year I am struck with this sadness. Try as I may to ignore it, it always takes over at some point during the day and I break down and cry. I never understood why this happens, but today I decided to try to figure out what was bringing me down on my special day each year. I’ve noticed that there are a few things contributing to my sadness. Things that have added up over time to become a monster trying to ruin my special day. There seem to be 3 major things that come to mind.
The first thing I noticed years ago was the lack of a happy birthday phone call from my Dad. He died 13 years ago. I know it seems silly cuz everyone eventually experiences this kind of loss. My dad was very special to me. Losing him was very hard for all of us. Not receiving his call and hearing his voice on my birthday still hurts. It’s not enough to ruin my whole day, but it is there.
The next thing is, my birthday makes me feel lonely. I don’t have lots of friends and family calling, visiting, and celebrating with me. The lack of fanfare highlights the reality of my loneliness. Again, I know it’s silly, but I still feel it. I know people who’s friends come over to celebrate, or take them out for dinner or drinks to make them feel loved. Even a card or small thoughtful gesture would make all the difference. The absence of this in my life is very obvious and painful. It’s an ugly reminder of what’s missing in my life.
The third thing that I realized only today is probably the biggest one. I think the passing of each year is a reminder of how much of my life has been stolen by being chronically ill. I’ve wasted the better part of the last 10 years or so just being sick all the time. I stopped going places and having fun. I’ve stopped doing fun things and making special memories with my children. I’ve stopped living life in general. I’ve spent so many years laying on the couch waiting for bedtime to come. I feel so robbed! My children will only be kids for so long and I’m wasting precious time. These are precious years I’ll never get back. Each year is an obvious decline in my quality of life. 3 years ago I didn’t use a cane or a power scooter to get around. 3 years ago I could still hold my baby in my arms without too much pain. Now I can barely bend over and definitely cannot lift anything. Where I am at this moment physically is the best I’m ever going to be. Each year I’m gonna be worse off physically. I will only be 40, but I feel like I’m 75. I have to actually remind myself that I’m still young. That normal 40 year olds live a very active and fulfilling life. I know that at (my) 40, the best years of my life are behind me. I will try my best to live as much of a fulfilling life that I can, but I have definite limitations. It makes me sad.
One other thing to add to this milestone birthday in particular is this whole Covid BS. I was hoping to dull the pain of such a scary number by celebrating with a big party. I’ve looked forward to having an excuse to have a big party for a few years now. I’m obviously not having a party. I did, however, decide to postpone my 40th birthday celebration. When it is safe again to be around groups of people, I will have a late party. I’m hoping we can do it this summer because I’ve always wished for a pool party. I always hated having a February birthday with the freezing temps and snow storms. This could be the perfect excuse to live my dream of a summer birthday. If we aren’t ready by then I’ll just have to celebrate a 41st party next February. I’m getting a party one way or the other, damnit 😛
Anyway, that’s enough of my sob story. Poor me, right? Like I said, I live a good life and I have much to be thankful for. I will focus on those things and try to enjoy my day. I will also look forward with excitement for whenever I can have my birthday celebration. It will all work out one way or another. Happy Birthday to me 🙂