Me: It’s my birthday!
Also Me: I absolutely ABHOR my birthday.
I should explain that it’s not for the usual reason you’d suspect. I’ve enjoyed who I am and who I’m becoming in my 30’s. I’m fine with getting older. But the actual day itself seems like a bad groundhog day. Very rarely does anything “good” happen on February 5th. Growing up, it would mostly be a snow day (coincidentally, I don’t like the cold or snow). The day I turned 19 I totaled my car. In my 20’s there was a series of unfortunate events in which I’d end up sobbing throughout the day. I was convinced that my birthday was cursed.
When I turned 30, I tried to change my “birthday curse” and go all out- hosting a dinner at my home for friends (I made everything from scratch), limo to the beach to a piano bar, etc.). I had a good time, albeit a lot of work. I ended up mostly exhausted from trying to celebrate myself. So now, I just kind of accept the day for what it is- just another day, with the exception of massive posting to my Facebook wall (which, incidentally, gives me anxiety…so for the last few years I’ve cut off my wall to avoid it).
If I’m being honest, the reasons I don’t enjoy my birthday in recent years is that I’m too analytical. I end up in my head, thinking about my past and wondering how I got here. It’s not that I still feel too young to be this “old”. I’ve lived through so much; it finally feels like my age has caught up to my experiences.
The feeling of dread is more closely related to all that I haven’t accomplished. I was 24 when I married (for the second and last time), and thinking of who I was when I was 24… SHE had planned to have much more accomplished by now.
SHE should have a Master’s Degree. Traveled the world. Written a book. Have a heftier bank account.
Considering all things, 36 year-old me isn’t doing too shabby. My life has come into focus in my 30’s and you couldn’t pay me to go back to my 20s. But if I’m being honest, although you’re supposed to live life with no regrets, I have some tremendous ones.
There are some things that I’d do differently if given the chance. Sure, I’ve learned from my mistakes…but I would prefer to get those lessons in a different way, rather than hurting other people and being hurt myself.
I know I can’t change those things, #YOLO and all, so life moves on. Since Christmas, I’ve been trying to force myself to focus on my future, rather than dwell in and on the past. Every day I ask myself, ‘What are you going to do to move along the path of THINGS YOU STILL NEED TO DO, Kia?’ Keeping them locked away in my head isn’t working.
So, my birthday gift to myself is “36 Things in Year 36”. It’s my own personal list of things that will push me forward, out of my comfort zone and into the life I’ve imagined. I’m sharing them here, with you, in hopes of holding me accountable. And, perhaps, even inspiring you to make your own list.
My List, in no particular order:
- Go camping
- Run a 5K
- Finish my novel
- Go on a trip with my 11 year-old son
- Say yes to something I’d normally say no to
- Say no to something I’d normally (reluctantly) say yes to
- Visit 5 State Parks
- Visit Savannah and Charleston
- Go on a real vacation with just my husband
- Take my dog for a walk 4 days a week
- Get my concealed carry license
- Decorate one space in my house completely in MY style
- Start a dinner club
- Read 1 autobiography or memoir once a month
- Learn Spanish
- 5 minutes of meditation before I start my day
- Call my Granny every week
- Get rid of cable
- Learn how to make tamales
- Change my relationship with food
- Turn my husband and daughter into Harry Potter fans
- Meet my neighbors that I don’t know yet
- Have family pictures made
- Eat breakfast every morning
- Learn to make my own bread
- Plant a container garden
- Go to the beach by myself
- Increase my credit score by 100 points
- Cook a meal with The Bigs (my older 2 children) each week
- Go back to therapy
- Work on skills with my youngest 3 times a week for 30 minutes
- Work to hit my target income per month with my business
- Pay off both of our car loans
- Travel to a flyover state
- Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Hire/Mentor 5 Military Spouses
Now, to print this out somewhere where I can see it every day. Here’s to being able to look at this list 365 days from now and being able to tangibly see me doing the things I said I’d do.
Happy Birthday to me.
If you decide to create your X in X List, be sure to let me know so we can keep up with each other!