As my 44th birthday approached, I decided I’d do something different this year…
Be intentional about having a little fun. With grown-ups.
And throw in trying something new… sushi… since the grown-ups involved love it.
Really, what I decided was I’d be different this year.
The approach of birthdays and holidays always sets something off in me. They’re “triggers” in psycho-speak. I have, what I think is, a pretty good handle on the convolutions of why. Which doesn’t fix things, but prepares me to fight the lies when they start whispering, before they overwhelm.
When it’s my birthday looming, it’s not adding another year to my age that’s the problem… though, I have to admit, now that my age is catching up to my face, I’m not as blithe about sharing it.
Part of it is my insecurity. My life-long drive to feel special, wanted, cherished… worthy. I’m always looking for someone to validate me. And what better time than MY day?!? While outwardly eschewing attention, I secretly long for some undefinable… magic. I have a love-hate relationship with surprises.
But no amount of attention, no birthday awesomeness, could fill the emptiness. We can’t be complete apart from God. Lesser things can only fulfill us temporarily, and distract us from our true need.
I don’t need someone to make me feel special this birthday. I don’t need a grand gesture. I never have; I just thought I did. I’m learning to stop seeking the impossible from others.
I AM special… just like everyone else. I am worthy. I am loved.
No one needs to tell me to make these facts true. If I can’t accept my worth, there’s nothing anyone could do to make me accept it any longer than a moment.
Things didn’t go as I’d intended, but I didn’t really expect them to. Not in an oh, nothing ever goes right for me fatalism, just being realistic as a homeschooling mom of three with a meeting scheduled the evening of my birthday… trying to schedule something with two friends who work full-time. More important things can, and did, come up.
Even this post didn’t go as planned. I started it weeks ago… It’s now the morning after my birthday.
Because there are more important things than my birthday. And, from here on out, I know I’ll say that without resentment.
My day wasn’t quite what I aimed for, but it didn’t have to be to be worth it. It didn’t have to fit any type of preconceived picture to be good. I did get sushi. A couple of weeks early counts! And another friend and I are taking a morning to check out a newish eatery and their scrumptious baked goods. We wrapped up my birthday, after our homeschool meeting, with cake (chocolate with NOT-chocolate frosting), ice cream (Mint-Ting-A-Ling for me!), a family movie, and staying up too late but not having to get anyone anywhere early.
I also enjoyed the Facebook birthday greetings and messages I received despite myself.
When I was planning to celebrate with my sushi friends from church, one requested my birthdate on Facebook, so she could remember when it was. I’ve kept it private for years… because, as I mentioned, I have birthday issues. After a few days of dithering, I decided to make it public. Why not?
Shortly after, Facebook notified me that it was a Facebook friend’s birthday, and told me to do something about it. I don’t like to be told what to do. And I DID NOT WANT Facebook to tell people to send me birthday wishes! I scrambled to set my birthday back to private… but, somehow, I failed…
The result? Lots of Happy Birthdays on my Timeline… Of course I enjoyed it. Despite the underlying chagrin, knowing Facebook told everyone to do it. It’s changed my perspective. I’ve decided to pay more attention and wish more people Happy Birthday when Facebook tells me to. If you’re my Facebook friend, watch out! Even if I don’t get around to posting a birthday greeting to you, I’ll be praying for you on your day.
Welcome to 44, Melinda… It’s going to be great. I’m different this year. I guess you could say I’m still growing up. When 45 rolls around, I’ll be liking myself even better… because I’ll be even more the me I was created to be.
Suicide Watch: The Story of My 40th Birthday
After Suicide Watch: Three Years and A Day
The Fruit of My Broken Brain in 2016
Being Me in 2017
A Lifetime of Longing
Homesick at Home
For the Imperfectly Fathered
Who Am I? Living My Identity in Christ
Even at My Worst, I Was Never Alone