I turned a year older this month. I know that probably calls for some sort of celebration, maybe a party replete with streamers, cake, party hats and candles. Lots of candles. Yet, it doesn’t feel warranted on any level.
Contrary to what you may think, I actually love birthdays. I look forward to them with an eagerness that could rival a child’s impatience on Christmas Eve. The night before my birthday, sleep eludes me. Every year, I tell myself that this time will be different but it isn’t. I stay up past midnight, knowing that close friends will send wishes my way. There is a certain assured feeling about the whole thing that makes me ponder on this primal need to connect, to feel loved and to feel special.
What is the significance of a birthday, after all? Celebrating the day we screamed our way into existence hardly seems to justify cake, unless you are a ten-year-old with an insatiable desire for cake (which doesn’t necessarily imply that we need a birthday at the age of 37!).
Yes, that’s how old I am now. I am officially past the barrier of worrying about what people will think of me when I tell them that I am a 37-year-old mother who works from home, blogs a good deal and dreams enviously of a day when she will sell many, many copies of her unwritten book.
A year ago, I tentatively used to tell people that I blog, acutely self-conscious and shuffling my feet in embarrassment. Now, I’m on the verge of printing out business cards with a logo and a fancy font that proclaims the same thing. (I’m kidding!)
To a large extent, social media with its in-your-face proclamation of everything from birthdays to what the pet hamster had for dinner, has been responsible. While my public, blogging persona is pretty active, churning out posts and promoting them everywhere, the introvert in me stays wrapped in a protective cocoon of comfort, sharing what I choose with the people I count closest to my heart.
Truth be told, there is a greater sense of calm, more happiness and far more love in my life right now than ever.So, the dichotomy is this, I realise: I love birthdays; it’s the public celebration that I don’t love anymore.
It wasn’t always this way-this need to break away from pomp. Somewhere between the thirty-six candles and the blown-out wishes, my heart seemed to say Enough. Take a breath, slow down, pause and reflect upon what it means to have lived on this planet for thirty-seven years.
In that stillness, in that glorious infinitesimal second that is a cocktail of emotions across nearly four decades, my soul whispers, ‘Celebrate the day when you are at complete peace with yourself.’ Now that is a day I won’t mind lighting a candle. Or thirty-seven.