I don't love my birthday for various reasons. First, because it makes me feel guilty - I remember no one else's birthday, save my mom and my sister and now my niece because she was born on my birthday so it's easy, and that's about it, and when people whose birthday I know I missed remember mine, it's very stressful. Second, I have never liked being the birthday girl. I've found it to be such a high-stress position, and I don't handle it well. Lastly, I don't like parties. At least parties thrown for me. Too much pressure.
And so, for the last 7 or so years, since that one time I threw a party for myself, I have let it slip by silently, save the occasional intimate dinner. Celebration is usually done by myself, in a tattoo parlor, spa, yoga studio, bookshop, cafe, or any combination of these places.
Over the last few years it has become significant to me in a different kind of way. Because it is the one day of the year that goes on record, the one day I remember what I did, who I did it with, where I did it, what I felt when I did it, etc., it's come to serve as a benchmark of the progress of my life.
3 years ago on this day, I almost died in my apartment by myself, drunk and stoned.
2 years ago on this day, I quit pot and cigarettes.
1 year ago on this day, I was in a mad depression, suffering writers block, supplementing my income as an accountant, and contemplating going back to work as one full time.
Things change. And things change faster than we see.
Throughout the past three years, it has felt at times to be the slowest, most ass-backward, downward-spiraling process. There has been plenty of evidence that I was not progressing, not going the right way, that it could all fall apart any minute. Many moments of feeling like I was not getting anywhere.
And yet. Here I am. With so very very very very far to go in terms of so many things, but caught in a rare moment where I'm made to reflect and see how perfect it all has been, how I arrived just in time, how it actually moved up and to the right, even though so many times it felt like it was moving down or just standing still.
We cannot always see it as it is happening, and then when it does happen, we forget to stop and reflect. And then it is on to the next thing, and there is more to do, and so far to go, and we are certain we aren't going anywhere.
But some days. Some days we remember to remember.