Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me!

Sorry for all the posts but there is a lot to catch up on. Today is my birthday! Yay happy birthday to me. I usually don't make a fuss about birthdays, the older you get they just seem to pass on by. But the last few years I've really come to appreciate that turning a year older is important. It marks another year has passed, milestones have come and gone, and hopefully we are a bit wiser and happier.

One thing that I have become more aware of too is how much more settled I am in myself. From studying social psychology, I learnt that as we get older, we look back on our younger years with some fondness, yet with no desire to return. And I definitely feel that way. So today I thought it would be fitting to do a bit of a retrospective of my adult life and birthdays I've had.

18th (1995): My 18th birthday was a pretty low key affair. I had been at uni for a few months, and honestly was struggling a little. I lived in a big share house and did find the challenges of adult life, and studying, a bit hard. But it was a fun time. James and I had started going out and were in that bloom of love, despite a few challenges from his family. I was forming friendships, trying to find myself. For my birthday itself we just went out for a few cocktails and tried to act grown up.

21St: I would say this was a very happy time for us. James and I had gotten engaged just before my birthday so we had a joint 21st/engagement party. We had lots of friends. I was still studying psychology but wasn't sure about my future. I would say we had a simple life though – we loved our little flat near uni but we had a mattress for a couch. An intermittently working TV (Dad would come down periodically and fix it), simple food, and a fair bit of goon (it was cheap). Life was good.

25th (2002): James spoilt me with a nice party this year which was lovely, as I was surrounded by dear friends. At this point in time I had been studying OT and was deep in the throes of my thesis. It was a bit encompassing, and I was fairly stressed. This had been a trying time for us. Financially things were tight, and I do think we were in a bit of a rut. Even though I loved studying, I did work hard so I don't necessarily look back at that time with a lot of laughs.

28th: This is one birthday I will always remember. The day of my birthday, we flew into Venice. The actual day was a bit of a blur as we were so jet-lagged we hardly knew what to do. But it began one of the most magical time of our lives. James and I had been through quite a rough patch in our marriage. I had started working and my career was going well, although it was stressful. This trip was what we needed to reconnect, to fall in love again. We swanned our way around Europe eating and drinking ourselves silly. And at the end we decided to start a family.

30th (2007): I've written about this birthday before, about it being so hard. The years after our trip we had been trying for a family. I'd also been working pretty hard at my career, and was a senior consultant then the national injury management advisor for a large company. Socially James and I were doing a lot – going to concerts, seeing friends, dinners out. We had moved to the inner north in Sydney and lived in a cute little terrace. The typical inner-city lifestyle. But that birthday where one day later we found out we couldn’t have children changed everything. None of it was important.

31st: This next year had been one of the hardest of our lives. Infertility had claimed us. I wasn't the same person. I had left my job and taken up a more fulfilling community role. But we had become very introspective and had lost our sense of self. On my actual birthday we went to a concert; I remember feeling very numb although it was a great concert. I had no idea what the future held. The next day we got that call “Congratulations, you are pregnant” and life changed again.

I can't actually recall many details about the next few birthdays. I am blessed to have a nephew and a godson with birthdays either side of mine so it tends to get missed a bit. But that is ok. I think it is important that we make it special for the kids though – so always we need a cake (and who doesn’t want cake) and make a point of it.

35th: Which brings me to today. Today is special because I am here. I am celebrating not just another year, but one which has been more than challenging. But I can look back and know that I am loved. I feel James and I are at a wonderful, comfortable place, we have the kids and the house. That I now have everything I’ve ever wanted. I don't have the career, but that is ok. In time I can look down that path again. I also look at myself with a different light. Over the years I've obsessed about weight, looks etc. Now I look at myself and I want to be healthy. Being “fat” or pretty isn't important. Being comfortable in my skin, being healthy and fit is. Yes I'm a bit saggy (even more so after 2 weeks of bedrest); the steroids have made me puffy. And none of that is important.

So today I will have a large piece of cake and celebrate one more year, and look forward to many more knowing that there will be more challenges ahead. Nevertheless, I face them with the strength that the last few years have given me.


  1. Anna Mum of OneMay 3, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    ♪♫•*¨*•Happy Birthday to you*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*• Happy Birthday to you*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•Happy Birthdayyyy Dear Janet¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*• Happy Birthday to youuuuu!!•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•Hip Hip Hooray!!*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•Hip Hip Hooray!!*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•Hip Hip Hooray!!*¨*•♫♪

    1. lol that is too cute. Thanks heaps :)