Growing (Dis)Gracefully : 30 Years Young

Lost Time

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that both mental & physical health problems are expensive & can cost us greatly. Financially, emotionally, physically, practically. In our lives we may feel we’ve lost opportunities, jobs, friends, normality, dignity. We may mourn that loss and try to move on, to carve our own paths to accommodate our change in circumstances, but sometimes it’s hard to accept.

When we grow older we can get a greater appreciation for the positive ways our lives have changed and the strength we’ve developed, but at the same time the sense of loss can grow more pronounced. Birthdays have a way of reinforcing that because of the social impetus on these supposedly joyous occasions.

The Difficulty With Birthdays

I posted last year about birthday blues & I had hoped for a more positive one this year. The pressures of birthdays and loss and expectations are hammered home with social media. You may see others you know celebrating their new found age with friends, cake, drinks, smiles aplenty. This reinforces negativity. We feel we should make the most of the day, yet we’re too exhausted to, maybe we don’t have friends to celebrate with, maybe we don’t feel like there’s anything worth celebrating. We might get hung up on having no friends around to celebrate with. On those who’ve forgotten or not bothered with our birthdays. On how rubbish our bodies feel. We might get lost in negativity. Sometimes we can deal, sometimes we can’t.

There’s a pressure to be doing and achieving certain things by certain points in your life (education, job, career, financial stability, moving out, getting your own place, settling down, getting married, having children, etc). I’ve written about the nature of this socially prescribed timeline before. It doesn’t have the flexibility to acknowledge those who can’t do those things, or who have been hampered along the way, or even those who simply choose to go against the grain and do their own thing.

When you think about it and put it into perspective, it seems ridiculous. Our ancestors wouldn’t have been subject to these expectations. Time in itself is man-made. It’s all socially constructed.

This is why we need to carve our own paths, change direction and work with what we’ve got, decide for ourselves what’s important to us, care less about what others think and the expectations that are set, and be the master of our own lives.

It’s just that it’s easier said than done sometimes.

Today’s The Day

I turn 30 today. A ‘youngster’ I can hear some of you saying. I just don’t feel it. I also feel woefully behind in life. I got thrown off track and illness has taken a lot from me, so I’m rebuilding, redefining my values, and starting again. But I’ve also been very stuck lately, and that can happen to all of us when we get too exhausted or disheartened, and generally just sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I’ve been struggling a few things lately on top of feeling unwell, namely the work/career/finances aspect and having no income, nor any idea of where to go from here. It literally makes me sick worrying about it all. I’m in limbo with my health. But I have things to be grateful for, and we all need to hold onto those things and appreciate them when we feel we’re getting sucked down a black hole. Please know that you’re not alone.

Due to insomnia and migraines and cluster headaches, I don’t think either sleeping through the day or drinking it away will be possible. It’ll be a mix of Sumatriptan, my Therapearl eye mask & cake, maybe a drink in town with my folks and an early night with Netflix. I’d like to invite you all for an online tipple and slice of birthday cake to celebrate with me.

I’ve always wanted to hope I’d age disgracefully. I don’t want to give up what makes me ‘me’. I want to still be rockin’ Dr Martens, Hello Kitty, rock music and 80s cheese, Jack Daniel’s and buckets of sarcasm.

But at times like this I can’t help but think of what I’ve lost and what I regret and what I’m fearful of in the future. It’s also why I’m trying to take stock of what I’ve learned from illness, the ways in which I’ve changed for the better personally. I’m trying to remember that it’s a case of peaks and troughs with how we feel, even if I spend more time in the troughs. We go down, we come up. We fall apart. We rally and we carry on.

How do you feel when a birthday rolls around?

Please know that I appreciate each and every one of you, and my birthday wish is for better health and more happiness for all of us. Cheers!

Caz 

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59 Comments

  1. August 9, 2018 / 11:29 am

    Happy Birthday!

  2. August 9, 2018 / 11:37 am

    Happy Birthday Caz 🌹

  3. August 9, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Sorry to hear that life continues to throw so many challenges at you, but glad you still find things to be grateful for. I hope your birthday is as pleasant as can be and that the year ahead brings more positives than negatives.

    • August 24, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      alles gute … alles gute zum geburtstag XXXXXXXL (*L*)

  4. August 9, 2018 / 12:36 pm

    First, Happy Birthday!
    Second, I felt the same way at 30! I felt like I was “behind” and that I should be doing something else or be at a different level than I was. I kept my goals in mind and with the support of my husband, we are in a position now I only dreamed about then. Keep going, keep your own goals in mind and make steps on how to get there. You’ll get to the point where you are satisfied with what you’ve achieved; What do you want? There’s a book called, “The Secret.” Now I am not associated in any way but it pretty much tells you that what you want and what you put out is what you’ll receive because that’s how the universe really works. I think you do great with this blog and since you have health concerns and currently not working and you feel like you have no direction, maybe read that book, build up this blog to be its best and find ways to make income from it (if you haven’t already.) I hope I gave you some good tips. Keep your goals in front of you and your head up, you already do something that other people are intrigued by: you’re a blogger.

  5. August 9, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    Happy Birthday Caz!
    I really hope you try your best to relax and make the most of your birthday as you can, love.
    Wishing you a wonderful year ahead and all the best with your health.
    Over the years I have lost friends, jobs, my license etc and have to cancel plans at the last minute or leave because I am unwell so I can relate to this.
    Know that you have made a positive difference in the lives of many as I can see and celebrate in your own way. Don’t focus on the losses.

  6. August 9, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    I hope you have a lovely quiet birthday. ❤️

  7. August 9, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    Happy birthday Caz.. You don’t just have to celebrate on the day itself. If you aren’t feeling up to it today then do something another day. I’m 30 later this year and I’m doing little things with family and friends.

  8. August 9, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    Happy birthday, and I know exactly how you feel! I had just qualified as a nurse and was in my early 20s when I got sick since then I have been stuck at home feeling like my life is passing me by. Turning 40 this year was so hard for me I felt like I had lost out on so many opportunities and I felt just like this. These big numbers make everyone look back, but our missing out is not our fault, all we can do is our best and if you ever need to talk just drop me a message or DM

  9. August 9, 2018 / 3:10 pm

    In Siberia, the Chavchu people don’t count birthdays.
    Don’t remark the date on which you were born.
    Don’t celebrate it when it comes around.
    Don’t know how old they are other than young, middle-aged, mature, ancient.
    I like to do the math on my birthday, and see how many days I’ve wandered and wondered on this beautiful blue ball suspended in the endless expanse of the cosmos.
    I live on a rock hurtling through space at 600 kilometers an hour on a collision course with another galaxy.
    Every moment is good fortune.
    Birthdays?
    Tish-tosh!

    Seek peace,

    Paz

  10. August 9, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Caz ♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

  11. August 9, 2018 / 3:33 pm

    Teenagers appreciate birthdays the most, as they are looking forward to hitting milestones. The first legal smoke, the first legal drink., cheaper auto insurance. I stopped looking forward to them at 30 and tried to forget at 40. That’s as far as I will talk about…lol

    Be Well Caz

  12. August 9, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    I wish you a happy birthday and a year filled with good health, love and happiness.

  13. August 9, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    Happy Birthday Caz. Sending you a birthday hug. 🌼

  14. August 9, 2018 / 5:53 pm

    Happy birthday, Caz! You express what I felt in May when my birthday was around. Sometimes it’s difficult.

  15. August 9, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Happy birthday, Caz! 🙂 xx

  16. August 9, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Happy birthday! All the best for the year ahead 🙂

  17. August 9, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    Happy birthday, dear Caz! You’re so right about the expectations society can put on us to get out and make a big deal of our birthdays, but for a lot of us that’s just not how we want to spend them. I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much right now. Birthdays can be especially tough when we are not where we want to be in our lives at a given time, but I hope you know this:
    You are an exceptional young lady,
    You inspire others every day by your posts, your thoughtful comments, and your friendship,
    You are living a life of purpose by touching the lives of so many through your blog, and I, for one, appreciate you more than you will ever know!
    Blessings to you today and every day, sweet friend!

  18. August 9, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    Happy birthday Caz and no matter how you choose to spend it, I hope you enjoy it. Xx

  19. August 9, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Happy birthday to you, whatever kind of happiness you can manage.

  20. August 10, 2018 / 12:33 am

    wishing you a great year, dear Caz — the world is a better place with you in it <3

  21. August 10, 2018 / 10:21 am

    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Caz ♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

    I would usually sing Happy Birthday but I’m on the other side of the world so you can’t hear me but I did eat a cupcake today so in a way I celebrated with you. What date is your actual birthday?

  22. August 10, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    First of all may I wish you, “A Very Happy Birthday ~ Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity Always and Ever” <3 <3 <3
    "In our lives we may feel we’ve lost opportunities, jobs, friends, normality, dignity. We may mourn that loss and try to move on, to carve our own paths to accommodate our change in circumstances, but sometimes it’s hard to accept" ~ I can understand and relate to all what you have written Caz <3
    But you are being very Brave and Strong too at the same time, as you say, "We need to carve our own paths and work towards our progress, regardless of what others think" That is what you are doing and that is what I am doing too, and so many others like us. Its not easy to pull oneself up, rebuild and start again but, "It is possible, you have to have Faith and Patience for that"!
    But I have something more to add as,"I am twice your age and growing older in years is NOT a bad thing ~ as you can be old in years and young in your heart" I have gone through 15 years of depression, Bipolar/Mood disorder and now I have become a much stronger and a wiser person, also making use of all that experiences to uplift others!
    Sometimes we may not have loved ones around us, I am used to that too, but things do change. Te butterfly does not stay in the cocoon full time. Learn and grow girl as time goes. As you say, "Find your purpose in life and work towards it" I will be praying for you and send you Many Blessings of Love, Light and Healing Energies to you. God Bless <3

  23. August 10, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Happy birthday. I had my 30th this week too. It started off as probably one of the worst ones yet but ended pretty well with a good chat. I completely get where you are coming from! It’s one of those that just lends itself to reflection which can be bad if you’re not where your thought you’d be. Here’s to caring less about what others think 😁

  24. August 10, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    30 isn’t the end! I get some of how you feel though, I was 31 last weekend and it’s the feeling of life passing me by that has motivated my return to uni. I’m sure you’re ageing just as gracefully as this wombat! 😉

  25. August 10, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Tons of positive birthday wishes to you, Caz. I hope your 30th year will bring improved health and many smiles. Big hugs! 🤗

    I celebrated my 53rd birthday on 6th August and felt really cheerful – far more so than on my 30th or even 22nd birthdays (I thought I was well over the hill after the age of 21). I don’t believe the actual number means much, it’s what is happening in your life at the time that really counts – and things can improve for many reasons as you get older. I wouldn’t wish to relive my youth. The mere thought is exhausting! 😉

  26. August 10, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    Just a little late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY Caz! You are by far one of the more incredible and strong people I am privileged enough to know! Try to never allow society to control the amazing and loving person you are!!

  27. August 11, 2018 / 12:39 am

    Happy Birthday! I love birthdays. After having breast cancer in 2005, I have been happy to celebrate each year. 🙂

  28. August 11, 2018 / 1:04 am

    Having someone else feel this way about birthdays is so validating. Sometimes I’ll have these grandiose plans like going to karaoke and dinner and throwing a party, but I never know how I’m going to feel on a given day. Like today was actually a good day after nearly a month of bad ones. I only went into work three times this week (I can work from home which is a HUGE privilege), and one of the days I went in just moving my eyes caused dizziness. Also with birthdays I hate being the center of attention. It makes me feel awkward. I always hated the singing and whatnot, though now I think it might be due to me being hypersensitive (possibly on the spectrum) ad hating loud noises. Of course I couldn’t cover my ears, because that would be “weird.” I kind of feel like you should be able to do whatever you want/can handle for your birthday, and no one is allowed to say anything derisive. If you have to cancel plans, I mean, your friends/family should know about your situation and how you just don’t always have the spoons to deal with stuff. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but I think they should be more disappointed for you, not AT you. I hope you had a lovely day though!

  29. August 11, 2018 / 7:49 am

    I hope that you had a fab birthday Caz ❤️ After my recent ‘big’ birthday, I have felt exactly the same. It seems to be a time of reflection, and I don’t like my reality – you have put into words exactly how I feel, and I am sorry that you are going through the same too. Work worries are the last thing that we need 🙁 Have you ever considered writing a book? You are so articulate and your experiences will resonate with so many people, I would definitely buy it! Sending you hugs xxx

  30. August 11, 2018 / 9:51 am

    Congratulations upon your 30th Birthday.. A milestone when reached.. May you continue to inspire and uplift all whom you touch… Love and Blessings

  31. August 11, 2018 / 6:19 pm

    Happy Birthday Caz (again). Growing older when you believe you should be in a different phase/place in life is challenging.

  32. August 11, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    Here’s a slightly late bit of virtual birthday cake for you. There is so much pressure around birthdays sometimes, particularly ones with a 0 at the end. I kind of spread mine out because I hate big groups and would rather do a couple of nice things with people I care about than try to pretend I’m enjoying some kind of massive event! I hope you had a good day in the end XX

  33. August 12, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    Happy belated 30th!!

  34. August 12, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    Assuming the date you posted this is your birthday, then you have the exact same birthday as someone else I know. She just turned 30 too.

    I generally have mixed feelings about my birthdays. On the outside, I’m having fun, I invite friends over for a night of hanging out and games and stuff. But there’s also a part of me that can’t help but think about the socially constructed timeline that you mentioned, and everything that I didn’t get to experience, and where everyone else is at this age compared to me. It’s a very complicated issue with me. I still have a lot of anger at society for how I was held back and kept from the life I thought I wanted, even though that doesn’t help anything.

    • August 12, 2018 / 3:23 pm

      And… oh yeah… happy birthday 🙂

  35. August 13, 2018 / 3:37 am

    I recently had a birthday and can relate to everything in this post. I have a milestone birthday next year and expect that may be a difficult one, because that will also mean over 10 years have passed since I first got sick. I, like probably most us, thought I’d have it all figured out and under control in 10 years.

    Happy (belated) birthday, Caz!

  36. August 14, 2018 / 5:14 am

    My wish is late, but I hope you found some happiness on your special day!

  37. August 14, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Happy belated birthday, Caz x I totally get this. Birthdays can be super tough, especially milestone ones. Agree that the pressure of social media doesn’t help (part of the reason I deleted my personal Facebook account soon after I first became ill!). Thank you for sharing so honestly your experiences. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having a rough time lately. I hope you get some better spells really soon. Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead xx

  38. August 15, 2018 / 10:13 am

    Happy birthday Caz !!

    Nobody knows your true journey so set your own goals and never allow society to influence that…
    Career progression is a big thing as it gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction- I completely understand your frustration x
    However, the best gift is you can give yourself is health and getting better and stronger !!
    Life begins at 39 x

    Aggie x

  39. August 15, 2018 / 10:15 am

    Meant 30… x

  40. August 16, 2018 / 4:08 pm

    Sorry I Moises your birthday!!!! 30 was a crazy one for me, pre-medical issues, party girl, refused to acknowledge that day, no presents, no cake, no way was I turning that age…… I will be 55 the end of September. I am actually leaving and going across country to be with my family, not my husband and stepson. Both my birthday and wedding anniversary number 7.
    Now that I say that out loud holy crap, I bet my husband thinks that he doesn’t have to give me anything since we won’t be together….. I must remind him we will be celebrating when I get back….

  41. August 16, 2018 / 7:26 pm

    Hi Caz! Sorry I missed your birthday but I still want to wish you an amazing year ahead! 30 was a great year from what I recall… it’s the infamous turning point from 20s to 30s. Congrats on this milestone because you know what they say… “with age comes wisdom.”

  42. August 17, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Happy belated birthday, sweet you 🙂

  43. Krissi miles
    August 21, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    Happy belated birthday !!

    Many things ring true with what you say that I can relate to – which made me have a quiet word with myself and I’ve just come up with a new mantra
    30 is the new 16
    40 is the new 18
    And 50 is the new 21
    By 51 you should near enough hit menopause and then discover mind fog and won’t remember your age beyond that … problem solved XX

    • August 24, 2018 / 12:59 pm

      Hahah that’s brilliant! Thanks for making me chuckle – I like this mantra a lot, Krissi!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment – I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead xx

  44. August 27, 2018 / 9:47 am

    Happy birthday, Caz..with delay 🙂

    I wish you the best in your life and the best in your health! I love birthdays , and yes you are very young, in best years. I have 37, and to be honest I have that feeling that I have 15 still. I am trying to keep a kid in me alive.We are pure energy, and energy can’t grow old.

    Stay young Caz

  45. August 28, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Happy birthday, fellow Leo! My birthday’s the day before yours.

    I think any decade birthday makes people reflective but the additional burdens of being chronically ill add an entirely different flavour, especially when it hits you so young. I hope you managed to banish the blues on your day, and that your next decade is off to a great start. Health and happiness to you!! 💕

  46. August 29, 2018 / 2:19 am

    Belated wishes for a wonderful 30th !

  47. August 29, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    I soon turn the big 4-0….. desperately trying to find the reverse button lol!!

    • August 30, 2018 / 7:34 am

      If you find it will you let me know? 😉
      When’s your birthday? I hope you can make some plans to celebrate it (or distract yourself from it) better than I managed!
      Caz

  48. August 30, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    God I know how you feel I am 26 soon and the time flies by, especially with the chronic fatigue and migraines! And going to the hospital 2-3 times a week . Your cake looks amazing though! I’m glad you feel grateful and your post is honest but positive ! I feel down it’s my birthday a day I actually wake up not feeling unwell xx

    • August 31, 2018 / 5:31 pm

      I think fatigue and migraines really suck up a lot of time, makes life seem like it’s disappeared when you look back. And throw in your regular hospital visits too.. I hope when your birthday rolls around you can do whatever you feel up to doing to celebrate and enjoy it as much as possible. Thank you for the comment 🙂
      xx

  49. August 30, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Happy (belated) Birthday! Ah, 30 – that was 20+ years ago for me. I used to think 30 was old. When I was 7, I was at my friends’ house and her mom turned 30. I said “Wow – that’s old!!” She really glared at me. Now I’m almost 54 and 30 makes you look like a kid. Nothing changes in the next 20 years – you still feel like you could be doing more – you think “Maybe I should take classes or exercise more, etc” – I think this goes on until we’re dead. I once heard “Every Day is a GREAT day! – if you don’t think so, just try missing one.”

    • August 31, 2018 / 5:33 pm

      Hah, yes it’s funny how we had notions in our head of what was ‘old’ when we were young, and then you age and look back and it all changes! Your comment was reassuring, and you’re right with that quote too, every day should be a great day because of the alternative. Thank you for the comment! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  50. September 2, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    Happy (belated) Birthday, Caz! <3 I wish I could have been on WP more in August so I could have said it sooner.
    I'm so sorry you've been having so many difficulties thrown your way and that your birthday couldn't be a more happy occasion right now. I'm 31 and I found your post so very relatable. Thank you for continuing to put yourself out there and share so much with us. Sometimes venting is important all in itself, but the impact your posts can make to show others that they're not alone in feeling this way and that they can continue and still have hope and love for themselves and others is always inspiring.
    In my late 20's I felt lost and like my entire adult life up until that had been shot and wasted. I felt like I didn't know what to do from there, like I was adrift at sea with no idea what direction to begin paddling to an with no land in sight. I've always struggled with depression, but this was the worst it had ever been. Social conventions on time and life expectations as you mentioned made me feel worse and I felt like I literally was being forced to start my life over again, and in a way I was. When I went into my thirties I decided "Screw what Society expects me to have accomplished by now and where a bunch of strangers think I should be at in my life". I decided to make my 30's the best I could for me. I've always had problems where I put others before myself no matter how damaging it was to myself, but I finally began to make decisions that were going to help me gain new direction and took some time to step away (I was very fortunate to have a great support system of people in my life to help make this possible) and I did some major soul searching. I knew I had to get my mental health which was as a dangerous all-time low back in order or I wasn't going to have a life to continue trying to improve at all. It was one of the hardest but best decisions I've ever made. Since then I feel like I've finally found my footing in life. I know I still have much to work on and grow with, but just having the foundation now to do so has made the difference. Sorry for the long ramble, I guess you made me want to open up a bit too, and I just want you to know that I support you 100% in saying Screw Convention and doing your own thing. 🙂 Rock those Doc Martens and that sarcastic charm for the rest of your days and have no shame in it. You'll be the most bad ass old lady one day because of it. My best friend and I always joke about sitting on a porch together in rocking chairs when we're old, surrounded by pugs and cats, and blasting Motorhead as we rock out for our senior years. 😛
    Take care and I sincerely hope this year will have much happiness and plenty of good surprises for you. <3 <3 <3

    • September 7, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      Aw this is such an awesome comment, thank you so much for sharing! “Screw what Society expects me to have accomplished” – exactly! I’m sorry you’ve felt such similar things to myself though, along with depression and feeling you’re so far behind with wasted years is an awful place to be in. I love that you made the decision to make your 30s the best for YOU, that’s so empowering in itself. Hell yeah! Thank you again for sharing this – I hope you can read it back yourself if/when you doubt yourself and feel the pressure of society/expectations, because I hope with everything I have that your 30s and onwards are amazing 🙂
      Caz xx

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