Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Unlike the A-Team, I can't seem to make this plan come together

I love birthdays. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the lives of others… and to be celebrated of course. Everyone needs to feel special at least one day of the year.

Historically, I’ve had a close group of women friends who made it a point to get together to mark each other’s special occasion with dinner, drinks, funny cards, and great camaraderie. Then, as each of us reached our 40th, we would get a special ring. Not all of the group have reached that milestone yet but, once we do, I’m planning to nominate we change our unofficial name from the Friday Night Girls to the Fellowship of the Ring :-)  I know, I’m a geek.

Reaching even further back beyond what feels like half a lifetime of the FNG fellowship, there’s the unique bond I’ve always shared with my sister (aka C.B.). Our family is weird. For many reasons, but one of the best is that she and I have the same birthday a year apart. (My mother’s is the day after… I know, weird). All my life I’ve shared birthday celebrations with my sister. If it made for fewer gifts for each of us, I don’t think either of us ever cared even when we were young and selfish. We’ve always felt like odd sort of twins, despite my being the older sister and taking massive pride (and advantage) of that fact, and have hung on to our family birthday traditions as much as we can as we’ve aged and moved away… and away… and away.

So, birthdays have always been a good time for me. Well, almost always. I can only remember one year that I hated it. Ahhh, 27. Drama, emotional angst, wallowing in self-pity. Picture this dear reader: me lying flat on my back on my living room carpet with a huge glass of red wine in my hand and music blasting from the stereo loud enough to bring my upstairs neighbor down to bang on my door.

Why the patheticness? It had hit me that The Plan was shot. Girls, you know the plan! Most of us had something just like it. I was to have met Prince Charming sometime in the my early 20’s (despite the distractions of grad school and establishing myself professionally), married Mr. Right, and had a couple of years luxuriating in our marital bliss before proceeding to have our 2-3 children all before I turned 30. This was so all the kiddies would be grown and gone before I got “too old”.

Hitting 27 with no man in sight crushed that plan like a ton of bricks – a growing career, supportive family, great women friends and a couple of good male friends as well to feed my need didn’t count. It was clear that I would have to re-imagine my future, my goals, my self-image. Thus the pity party.

Thankfully I was able to scrape myself together well enough that future birthdays were again causes for celebration rather than self-pity. And, as my new picture of myself solidified, my confidence grew. So much that I hit 40 last year with a freight train’s worth of satisfaction and conviction that the 40’s were going to be My Decade. After all, hadn’t I made a new life for myself? I’d left my job, my home, my friends and family and hauled myself all the way overseas in search of adventure. I was high on a sense of accomplishment.

Now with a month left till 41, I find myself with the urge to pour a large tumbler of something alcoholic and play Linkin Park as loud as I can. Not so much out of self-pity as of sober realization that no matter how young I feel inside or look on the outside, I’m about to fall over the crest into the second half of my life. Right now that feels more like a downhill slide – single, alone, making a new life for myself at a time when it feels like everyone else… isn’t.

Ok, so there’s some self-pity there. The truth is 41 is the suck. I think I’m just going to have to wallow here for a bit before strapping on my boots, sucking it up, and coming up with The Plan 3.0.


Viajera said...

Love it! We are all allowed 5 mins. of self-pity, but then we have to march on, as you have done.

I hope it's a nice Italian red an I'm sure "Bleed it Out" would compliment it nicely. ;D

Niamh Griffin said...

The point that we do pick ourselves up and get on with it. Sometimes we make these crazy plans but they're not really for us; we're just following what we think we should be doing. Have some chocolate with that wine and get ready for a big party:)

Sirmelja said...

LOL - Viajera, I'm going to try to sneak a little bit more than 5 minutes. But you and Niamh are right, eventually I'm just going to have to get over myself :-)

Chocolates are good. Any other suggestions for a little self-pampering ladies?

singleinny said...

Sirmelja, I stumbled across your blog today, and have been reading your interesting posts. This post, though, I've read more than once,because it's so true, and sounds just like me or any of my friends. Plans are the problem. I hope you had your wine and chocolates.

Sirmelja said...

Welcome singleinny! Glad you found me and hope you keep coming back :-) The good news is I did get my wine and chocolates. Whine, whine and more wine. A perfect combination :-)