with very little pomp and circumstance, 36 is here
By the time I publish this, I’ll now have 36 years of age. I don’t think I was prepared for what looking at that number would feel like for myself. Inherently, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a number. And, I don’t particularly feel a certain way about celebrating birthdays with major fanfare. Yes, every August 17th that rolls around I want to be surrounded with the people I love, but at the same time, I want none of it. I just want to do something completely for me. It’s this constant conflicting feeling, and it boils down to just wanting to be recognized and seen, and loved for being me. So, I either make it an event myself, or don’t do anything in particular because I don’t want the disappointment of someone not seeing me for me. And thus, the yearly cycle of figuring out what I want to do, how I want to celebrate, the questions and feelings of having to “do something fun” and worthy of signifying a new year around the sun, adds a layer of stress.
My family isn’t a big gift giving family. We’ll have a meal, and provide some act of service, and maybe some quality time together. So, it makes sense that that’s what I also want to do: I’d rather have my one-on-one time with people, and just connect, and laugh, and likely share a meal. Most of the time, I just want to be away and am happy to be doing something for myself. And, honestly, the most memorable birthday I’ve had as an adult was my solo trip to Paris. While I knew a couple of people also there at the same time, and we spent time together, it was primarily a trip for me and whatever I wanted to do. Whatever I wanted to explore, and feel, and dream, and experience. On the cusp of a new decade, and it felt like a culminating move into a more sure sense of self.
Now, here I am a new year older, and I don’t think any one emotion that outweighs others. I’m definitely feeling loved and seen by those who sent me well wishes. And, while I don’t have any expectations of folks to remember: I feel some weight and some sense of loss from certain folks. I’m not saying this to point out that this is The Signifier of the level of closeness or friendship, but I see a stark change this year. I see how much things have changed in my situation, in me, in my relationships to certain people that used to be so much more prominent in my life. I feel like I see who I am more, and know that awareness of myself brings discomfort but also confidence in who I am, and how I show up, and who shows up for me, and wants to in whatever capacity they can. I know things are different for so many people, and I remind myself that we ebb and flow in closeness and capacity, and I enjoy the times we spend in the moment, and I too forget sometimes when we’re not together. And, that’s okay. I’m both content with and disappointed in where I’m at right now. I’m grateful for changes and regret some choices. I’ve learned so much and have so much more to learn and grow into.
I’m now 36, and I don’t think I ever imagined where I would be in life but I know I didn’t imagine this. There are so many things that happen in life that the current life I live isn’t one I would’ve pictured for myself. But, also, I don’t think I ever had a clear picture. I may have drawn some scenarios when I was younger, but I don’t have a recollection of what I wanted to be, what I wanted for myself. No picket fence. No career path. Ultimately, I think I just wanted to have fun, and love from family and friends. To have people in my life who I care about and those who care about me. People I can laugh with, and cry to, and experience new (and old) things with. Those who see me.
This past year has been a tough one. There’s been so many major things, and I’m still going through some tough stretches. I’m still unraveling and stitching things back together. But, I know I’ve learned so much, I’ve grown so much, and I think I just wanted something today that felt … quieter. Something for me. It would’ve been great if I got off the waitlist for The Eras Tour, but while I’m sad Taylor Swift didn’t come through for me this year, there’s always next.
hbd to me.
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