A birthday is a lonely time. I have spent most of my years condemning the “we enter this world alone, we leave it the same way” attitude. I scorned this grim perspective. Excuses! Excuses to keep friends few, lovers distant and to decide against investing in a family.
I have been unfairly impatient, annoyed or even revolted by those who naysay my perception of community, of safety in numbers, of the proverbial village. But, it was wrong minded of me to think that fear or need are any less insidious. Little did I know, that even though my conscious brain did not want to keep people out, my worried mind had been stockpiling brick and mortar, building sturdy walls with an unnerving, Germanic efficiency.
Maybe it is my superlatively crappy taste in men or my increasingly older, more grown up and Pangea-like network of friends or my inability to properly manage expectations. Maybe it is my penchant for maudlin music or how I have managed to pull up all my roots or, as my mom put it in my preter-pubescent youth, maybe I will always be just a little bit miserable. Whatever its origin, I found myself on the eve of my birthday griping that the day, supposedly self-celebratory, is more often an experience more akin to viewing the nobody-gives-a-damn-about-you element of your life through a pinhole camera. This shit doesn’t feel like a party. But even as I type it, I step out of myself, look in and toe-tap at the out of character negativity.
“This is not who you are!” My subconscious chastises. “You are fifty shades of grump,” my inner goddess says, rolling her eyes. She threatens my puss-face with a birthday spanking.
Now, that might actually be fun. So with sweeping, elementary-teacher perkiness I have decided to set about birthdaying right, to practice what I so often preach. I plan to view myself as alone but not lonely, as awash in bounty and good-luck! As gracefully growing up, broadening horizons if also waistbands.
I will high five strangers and sing in public. I will wear absurdly high heels, indulge in too many calories and chemicals. I will laugh and flirt with more than one person at the party; dangle the possibility of birthday sex at people who I do not want to have it with, then go home single and pass-out cold still in my clothes. Because I am still young yet. Because I know I am cute, even if I am not your type, buster. Because it is just another year. Just because. A birthday is a lovely time.