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!