The pressure was on. The big day was coming.
When I was young, we called it the Saint Marianne’s week. A whole week with parties, one for every group of friends I had, plus family. The week-end before and the week-end after were often devoted to celebrating my birth.
It had to be extraordinary, from sunrise ’til sunset. And let me tell you. My parents always have been up to the challenge, going above and beyond to please me. Looking back, I’m ashamed of the brat I was.
Even then, it wasn’t enough. No matter how many fiestas were organized, there was something about that day.
For countless years, my birthday was a test of loyalty. Real friends were to remember it. Without me having to remind them.
On years where they would, I’d be okay. Not pleased, just okay.
If they failed…how could they even dare?!
My big day would become a nightmare. So absorbed in my own self-misery, I would ruminate the same thoughts over and over again about I would never forget anyone’s birthday, wondering how they could ever, ever forget about mine.
For the first time this year, it didn’t happen.
I, for once, was finally able to let go of all expectations. And by that I mean it, not like when you say you don’t want a gift when in fact you really do want one but are just too polite to say so. I really, truly, had no expectations.
I woke up on that day as I would on any other day. Having taken the day off, I hung out, practiced some yoga and then cooked myself an impressive brunch. I read through kind words of friends and family, appreciating every nice attention, taking in all the love I’m blessed to be receiving on a daily basis.
I had planned to meet my sister later in the afternoon, and I was more than happy to spend some time with her, but I knew I would have been as equally happy spending the day by myself.
It might seem like nothing. Something you would take for granted. But I swear, it’s a complete 180.
At the dawn of my thirties, I can’t express how grateful I am to finally enjoy life.
I’ve never been this happy for such a long time. A calm, steady, happiness. Happiness as my new base line. Can you imagine how wonderful that feels like?
I used to be happy, well I thought I was, but it was a flickering happy, with lots of highs and lots of lows. My mood depended a lot on whatever was going on and how I interpreted those events.
I was trending more on the optimistic perspective but you better had to watch out for those days or seasons of lows…once I got stuck on a bad gear, it was hard to get back on track.
It ain’t happening anymore. It might be too soon to tell, but I think I’ve cured my lingering, subtle depression.
I’m not even afraid to say it out loud anymore. I’m that confident about my happiness to brag about it without having to knock on wood. Though I’ll still cross my fingers (and toes, just in case).
All those years, there was always a sadness associated to my birthday. If friends had failed to remember this special occasion, then it would be obvious. And when I have had the best birthday ever, I didn’t want it to stop, often ending the day tearing up.
Going to bed for the first time as a 29 year old, I didn’t cry.
I didn’t cry because I wasn’t sad.
Sure, it was the best day ever. But now there is no reason to cry anymore, because it ain’t over.
It ain’t stopping.
I’m finally realizing how blessed I am. And when you’re that privileged, every damn day is the best day ever.