Birthdays are a funny thing for me. I started this post over a week ago, then put it in the drafts section, something to come back to, once I’ve had a breathing space.
Ever since I can remember I have always had quite bad anxiety around my birthday. It manifests in a few ways; being grumpy in the days leading up to the 9th, getting upset and feeling on edge, and a few bouts of tears. All of this comes out usually by the 8th and then on the 9th I’m just fine and usually do have a lovely day. But beforehand I do feel quite stressed. This year for example, was a rather long build up, that spilled on the afternoon of the 8th while I was in the gym. Of all places to start crying! There I was doing a few sit ups and I could feel my chest getting tighter and tighter, not being able to breath. While doing exercise of course it is natural to feel out of breath but this was different, especially when tears started spontaneously rolling down my cheeks. This was all rectified by sitting on a park bench, deep breaths and a phone call home.
The root of this is still unclear to me, it’s probably a mixture of things. One stemming from having to rely on other people to organise a day for you or if not a day then there are people present during that day; the expectation that a whole day is good and that nice things happen consistently throughout it; that there is some form of appreciation of your existence, the list could go on but this is sort of some of the issues. Why are these things problematice for me? Part of it is that I’m quite an independent person and therefore the idea of people tailoring a day or event around you causes stress. For example inviting people to dinner on the B-day, this is a small thing but I find very difficult and when people cannot go, of course I understand. But there is that anxious part at the back of my mind that begins to whirr with worry. Do people know me? Or more existential questions such as do people like me? Do they like me enough to spend time doing stuff with me on this particular day? Am I annoying, is my chat decent? Do I say interesting things? Am I of value?
Totally irrational but that’s what happens
These are some of the murmurs that float around my mind, and granted it’s not all the time during the run up to the big day but they are present in some shape or form.
I do also want to say that I really do enjoy Birthdays, but mainly of other people. I like helping sort out a gift or a special something. Giving that person a hug on the day, and hanging out.
Below is the original post from last week.
I’m a bit existential today.
Birthdays are a funny concept if you think about it. The centering of attention on a particular person for a day, giving them gifts due to their existence, singing a song to a person while presented with a cake. The idea of the birthday, to the best of my knowledge, fails to recognise or place emphasis the people who brought that person into the world. Yes we have mothers and father’s day but they are hallmark holidays to a certain extent..
Also then the conception we have tied to age, like why is turning 21 in this country, the UK or home in Ireland such a big deal? Unlike the States we can drink, drive and vote ( all not in that order and dont drink and drive guys its not cool) at 18 so why the fuss of 21?
If you are still reading this mumbling then I take it that you are in some way interested in the background chatter of my mind, since you are still here then you’ll be glad to know that my 21st birthday was lovely. I did get to spend it with some lovely people, I had yummy food, and the SUN CAME OUT (this is a big deal up here in Glasgow where the sun has been having a particularly hard time at the moment).
I want to say thanks to all the lovely people who did help in making the day as relaxing as it was. To my family at home for all the calls throughout the day, and the birthday box filled with love.
Hopefully one year I’ll get to the root of the thing, as they say ‘with age comes wisdom’