Another Year (August 2, 2011)

I am weary, bone weary and sad from thinking and writing about politics. I need a break so it’s time to move onto my second favorite subject, which is of course….me.

I am having a birthday in less than six days.

No, save your good wishes. I do not feel like celebrating this year. This sounds implausible to the ears of anyone who knows me. After all, this is the same woman who wore a tiara all day every day, between the ages of 22 and 28: to the office, on public transportation. The venue and its appropriateness hardly mattered because the goal was to get attention, and this shameless pandering certainly did. I initiated a “birthday countdown” that began no less than a full month before the big day. If asked, I could produce a gift registry with lightning speed.

Adorable? An egomaniac? You be the judge. In my defense, I was never one for family holidays given that my immediate clan had a dependable way of serving dread, misery and tears with each Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham or Independence Day barbecue. Up until this summer, had I been queried about my favorite holiday, I would have answered “Halloween and my birthday” with utmost conviction. Halloween remains at the top of my list for its promise of allowing you to inhabit the look and persona of another without being arrested for identity theft. And my birthday was a source of pleasure because it was a day devoted to celebrating my entrance into this crazy world, no matter how imperfect my mark upon it.

Key word there: “was.” Let’s leave aside my almost pathological fear of aging and the encroaching sense that my best years and my fullest potential are already behind me. That’s still there of course, but the aversion to mon anniversaire in 2011 stems from taking stock of where I am: personally, professionally and as a human being, and not liking much of what I see.

I am estranged from a man that I still love very much. I don’t know that I’ll ever be over him and yet this changes nothing about our circumstances. I am thriving in my day job at a small publishing firm, but my freelance career is wobbly. Even worse, I seem to have no will or energy seek out new platforms. I am confronting a level of inertia and apathy that is completely unfamiliar.

Most bothersome of all, I am troubled by recent evidence that my moral compass needs new batteries. My separation and illness earlier this year seems to have left a bitter sense of entitlement in its wake. I have done and said things in recent months that would have caused blushing a mere nine months ago.

I need a plan. Hedonistic, self-involved indulgence is an ill-fitting costume I no longer care to wear.

So my birthday gift to myself this year is a healthy dose of measured silence and reflection.

 

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