I think that the swiftly approaching birthday (once you are in your mid-twenties) always brings a blast of introspection.
You look back on the year that seems to have flashed by in a blur of Mondays, work, debit orders, opting for quiet nights in as opposed to painting the town red, missed appointments, holiday plans that never materialised, promises that you’ll take up a hobby and start something new, etc, etc.
On top of that, you suddenly receive the proverbial slap across your face as you now realise that you didn’t actually do anything for yourself this year. You never kept any of the promises you made to yourself. You missed your opportunity. Now you are about to be a year older, and embarrassingly not a year wiser.
That certainly is a large pill to swallow.
I am reminded of my teen self where I started counting down to my special day 3 months before the time. Excitement was an understatement to describe how I felt about being a year older.
My adult self, however, can no longer relate to 16 year old me whose only responsibility was getting to school on time and washing the dishes after supper. Lucky me.
Instead, I have come to dread birthdays in a way because they serve as a reminder of the big important decisions I have to make, like do I increase my RA? Is now the right time to buy a new car? I have to submit my tax? What? Should I buy a house or rent a flat? What about marriage and starting a family?
The thought alone is usually coupled with a state of internal panic that can only be likened to Tazmanian Devil on Prozac. Yes, these are necessary choices to make but is it wrong that I prefer the comfort (ignorant bliss) of not having to make them?
Adult things aside… what about me? Am I happy? Is this where I am meant to be? Do I like myself? And these are particularly difficult questions to answer because I feel that we put ourselves on hold while we apparently live our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not holed up at home having a relationship with a good book and copious amounts of tea or preferably wine (although those moments are lovely). But I am also not taking advantage of the precious opportunity to say that today I did something new, different, totally “out of character” or incredibly exceptional.
I think we allow ourselves to get so caught up in what we have to do that we forget to do what we want to do or at least make excuses as to why it is just “not the right time”. How ridiculous, actually. We should not in fact seek comfort in the promise of tomorrow for it is not guaranteed. We know this!
Now that I am almost a year older (shudder, gasp) I believe that I owe it to myself to ensure that a year from now I can have that blast of introspection and not be intimidated by it. Instead, I will be content in the fact that I lived a fulfilling year – just for me.
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