For a week or so, Facebook has been reminding me that my birthday is coming up soon. Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg, you did not need to rub that in.
Every year around this date, I write a birthday post. It’s a coming full circle of sorts. It’s about drawing lines, conclusions, and new directions if the situation and state of mind allow for it. I’ve been drafting at least five versions of this in my head for some weeks now, but avoiding facing the blank space until what’s essentially the last minute. The past year has been both underwhelming and overwhelming, sometimes at once, other times in such rapid change of rhythm that it made me dizzy, instinctively reaching out for a hand to help me keep some semblance of balance. Maybe one too many full circles.
Learning when to say enough and walk away. Accepting that there’s only so much you can keep trying and tearing away from yourself for the benefit of another before you end up someone you don’t recognize anymore. Understanding that words and actions may in fact not be about you at all, but a reaction and the result of all the struggles you don’t know about the person sitting in front of you is going through.
Saying thank you and really meaning it. Saying I’m good on my own right now and really meaning it. Saying I understand and really meaning it. Saying I’m curious to know more and really meaning it.
But also, all the things left unsaid no matter how much brave you try to muster up.
There comes a moment when letting go of symbols you’ve held onto for the longest of time is necessary, plain and simple. Strong coffee with lots of milk in my big red mug (Gilmore Girls-style) used to be the perfect start of the day. But after the famous red mug ended up shattered to pieces and replaced not just once in the span of a couple of years, it may be time to accept that the Universe is sending me a message. Seek out new symbols, attach to them new meaning. The end of a chapter is always accompanied by some flavour of sadness and nostagia, but the new one might exceed your expectations.
A few other things the past 365 days have shown me or confirmed for me:
Say what you will, but my friends are the absolute fucking best! I’m surrounded by a group of incredible people, as different as they may be one to the other, but just as fantastic in their own right. I know I should stop questioning it, but I still don’t know how it happened or why exactly they’ve decided to stick around the way they have – some for decades, others for much shorter a time, but caring just as fiercely as if we’d known each other for a lifetime. For some perspective, I was the shiest kid, wishing I was part of the cool gang but always feeling like the odd one out and resigned to the likeliness of becoming invisible one day. I wish I could show my 11-year old self how wrong she was. Instead, I’m going to say thank you to every single person who’s decided there’s something worth sticking around for.
I know with absolute certainty that no matter what, when I’m at my lowest low, when life kicks me in the shins, my family will somehow manage to teleport to the place where I’ve been defeated. Arms in hands, they’ll leave no tear un-wiped, no course of action un-suggested, no comfort food un-tested (food fixes everything, haven’t you heard?). Thank you. I love you.
I’m trying to remember what falling feels like, but it’s been so long and I’ve been so cautious. Love feels like a distant memory right know. The saying goes that women are so complicated that it would take forever to try to understand what they want. But to me, men are becoming more of a mystery the more I attempt to understand them in the context of relationships. Sex is easy, chemistry is what’s rare. If you manage to find someone who shares similar values to yours and both of you are in the same place of emotional readiness, then you’ve hit the jackpot. What happens when not all conditions are met? I dunno, man. I guess you just have to try anyway.
To wrap up – it’s been one heck of a ride and knowing my life, it won’t slow down anytime soon. Summer’s round the corner, so who knows what’s in store next? What I can promise is that if it’s worth it, I’ll be brave about it.