I am 39. Today. Yeah, yeah, happy birthday to me. I’m not writing this for the wishes, but because of how much I’ve been freaking out over this silly number. 39. My very last year as a 30-something. There was a show called Thirty Something, once upon a time. There’s never been a show called Forty Something. 39. Gulp. Like, super huge gulp. I’m freakin’ out, man! Why are birthdays such a big deal, and how do we survive them?
It’s Just A Day, So Why Do Birthdays Seem So Scary?
I remember my first birthday freak-out. It happened young for me. I turned 10. That’s when I first realized I’d never again be a single-digited human. Double digits from now on out, yo. That year we had a pool party and I opened my Rainbow Bright doll and cried. Were double-digit humans allowed to play with Rainbow Bright? Could I still like unicorns and canopy beds and strawberry shampoo, or would I have to become someone who worried about braces, and glasses, and boring shampoo?
I mean, I get that that’s all pretty heavy stuff for a ten-year-old, but there I was, Rainbow Bright in my lap and sobbing. My parents decided I’d just been over-excited, but I’ll never forget that freak-out. It’s the first one I really, truly remember. Not a tantrum, not me trying to get anything, just the raw panic of growing a year older.
Nothing has changed.
I spent yesterday on the verge of tears, imagining this day. Would anyone remember? Would I feel older? Would it hit me that this was the last year in my thirties?
Oh my god, I’m not married! I have no kids! I rent a house and have roommates and I’m totally failing at this adulting thing!
I think the freaking out comes from ‘shoulding’ all over myself. I ‘should’ be here. My life ‘should’ be at this point. Should’s a bitch, yo.
Truth is, I’m happy with my life. I work for an amazing website creating content that (hopefully) other people connect to. I’m not married, but I’m not unhappy about my singlehood, either. It’s freeing to not have a relationship. When I want to do something, the only person who has to decide is me. That’s kinda nice.
Same with kids. I love kids. I always wanted to be a mom. But kids are like mini-teathers. Life becomes so much more complicated once kids are a part of it. Wonderful, too, I’m not saying it isn’t great, but complicated. And as I look around my chaotic home, that I’m renting, with roommates, it’s probably best I don’t have any kiddo’s.
You know what? I also don’t think I’m failing at this adulting thing as much as I feel like I am. I mean, I actually have a career I love rather than one I’m stuck in. I get to work from home, spend time with family when I want to, travel when I want to. That’s pretty much winning, amiright?
So freaking out. I might still have a bit of the panics today, but I’m hoping that if I can keep putting things in perspective I’ll see this new year as a gift, and not a reminder of my ever-approaching demise. Plus, hopefully I’ll get some cake. And if I’m really good…ice cream.
Happy Birthday to me, indeed!