I’m pretty sure that getting melancholic, overwhelmed, and feeling basically like a failure at everything I attempt is an annual thing now. This is the second year in a row and two years in a row makes it a thing, I think.
I used to be a great lover of my birthday. I always insisted that my party be on the actual day of and there was literally nothing I loved more than all my friends all around me, celebrating me. But lately, it’s just not that great. I mean, don’t misunderstand; I still really love people celebrating me. It’s just that I don’t anticipate the day the way I used to. And, more unsettlingly, now I actually find that there are more woeful days surround April 8 than joyful ones.
I’d say it’s a function of getting older and mortality awareness and the whole thing about time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future — and, sure, there’s probably some of that, but I have friends my age or older who seem to still really luxuriate in the glow of a birthday month — or at least a birthday week.
I said a couple of weeks ago that I felt like all my plates were falling. I dropped the ball on work deadlines, personal deadlines, side job deadlines, and volunteer deadlines. I found myself wanting only to scroll ceaselessly through Facebook, despite how mind numbingly terrible it is these days. I went to bed too late, did too little, and spiraled in and out of shame cycles about all of it.
It’s funny how I’m using the past tense because, actually, it’s still going on. Witness: it’s 1:20 am and I am navel gazing instead of sleeping.
Last year, my crisis came to light when I found that I wept every time Adele’s “When We Were Young” popped into my playlist, yet I masochistically kept it on heavy rotation. It’s my birthday! This whole thing is because I’m getting old! I had, like, a eureka moment. And then I felt instantly better. Identifying the root of the malaise was like flipping on a switch. After weeks of underperforming and feeling like shit, it all got better. The song stopped bringing me to my knees. I got more productive in my job. I refocused my energy and attention with The Who and April 8th came and went with lovely little celebrations marking the arguably happy occasion of my 44th birthday.
But now it’s a year later. Almost exactly. It’s three weeks from April 8th now and I’m circling the drain of ennui. I cross stitched for 5 straight hours today and for the first time in many years, I wondered if it might be an excellent idea to give up all my responsibilities and just hop on a Greyhound.
Instead, I decided to throw away all the Mike-n-Ike wrappers, put the cross stitch away, get into my bed, and write this. More productive than the bus thing. But it still sounds pretty tempting.**
** Relax. I’m not going anywhere. This has been my escape fantasy for decades and it’s never come to fruition. I’ll be at work tomorrow. I’ll be picking the kids up for Hebrew school on Tuesday. I’ll be making dinner and doing dishes. And — I’ll be turning 45 really soon. I’m just not that happy about any of it right now.