I got through that whole birthday thing with minimal breakdowns. And, at the end of the day, I realized there were a few things that were causing me to enjoy the day of me significantly less than I typically do.
1. After a certain age, it becomes impossible to get truly amped about celebrating your birthday. At 6, your birthday is the biggest day of the year. At 26, I just wanted it over; I wanted to be in my pajamas and in my nice, warm bed. I think the last big birthday one can really be excited about is 21. Because then all of the alcohol you were consuming in college anyway becomes legal. Twenty-one for me was a particular let down because I had just been released from the hospital and was not permitted to indulge in these now-legal beverages. So I had a sip of White Zinfandel at the Olive Garden with some friends. I should say, though, that even had I not beem hospitalized, I still probably wouldn't have gone wild on my 21st, drinking until I blacked out. I probably still would have had dinner at the Olive Garden.
2. Earlier in the year, I had set a few goals for myself to have achieved by my birthday. And since I had only accomplished one, that was more than a little frustrating. In fact, in some cases, I am farther away from my goals now than when I originally set them. And that, well, really blows.
3. I was letting others dictate how successful of a birthday this one was for me. Even though I was preparing myself for disappointment after my oops-no-one-showed-up-for-my-birthday fiasco of 2006, I still couldn't help but think this year was going to be different. So when none of my outside of work friends were able to make it this year either (but a big thanks to Michelle for a coffee date early in the evening!), and my fancypants dinner plans fell through, I was pretty convinced that a larger celebration was a waste. And it sort of was, but after I thought about it, that was really only because I made plans to do things that I don't really like. Like go to bars and get wasted (which, the latter, I didn't do anyway).
So now I'm 26. Which could be 90 in my eyes. Its not old, but it feels like its time to start getting myself in order. This grown-up life that I like to talk so much about needs to get underway. I need to feel like I keep changing, keep progressing. I already made an appointment for therapy.