I’ve been putting this post off. Writing other things in it’s place hasn’t made the words disappear. In fact they’ve been slowly making their way forward in my mind until anytime I have a free moment, they come popping out. This entry was demanding to be written. The demand doesn’t make it less nerve wracking, but I’m going to face the nerves to get this truth out. Being vulnerable on your blog is difficult. It isn’t your private journal. People read it. People whose opinions I care about. I’m nervous about being as vulnerable as this entry requires me to be. I’ve written about the following feelings a lot in my own private journal, but I think now is the time to share them publicly. Maybe other people feel the same way and this will help them not feel alone. But truthfully, I mainly do this for selfish reasons; to get these words out once for all. Okay enough beating around the bush. I’m going to dive in.
My birthday is tomorrow, and I’m not happy about it. If you’ve known me for any length of time you know this is not just rare; its never happened. I love my birthday. From the moment Christmas ends I look forward to March 19th. I plan what I’m going to do well in advance. I like to prolong the celebration to the weeks leading up to and even right after my birthday. In my world I’ve reserved the whole of March to be about my birthday. It’s not the presents that I love the most (although those are always great.) No it’s more about the feeling I get. If I was going to pick one of the Five Love Languages that best describes me I think it would be quality time. In March I get fed big time in this area. A day that is all about me? A day where my friends and family spend it paying attention to me? It’s great. Or, it was great.
This feeling of not being happy about my birthday has been steadily growing year after year even since I graduated from college. This is the first year though that I can’t even seem to muster up a third of the happiness I usually do. It’s not about my age, per se. I’m not one of those people that freaks out about getting older. Or at least I didn’t think I was. Yet, I find myself on the day before my birthday just seeing a number over and over in my head and it freaks me out.
I’m going to be 27.
How is it possible I’m going to be 27?
How is it possible that I’m about to be 27 and this is my life?
So there you have it. I’m not afraid of 27 because I think that makes me old. I’m afraid of 27 because I feel like I’m still so far behind where I should be. I’ve felt varying degrees of this thought on and off since college. It almost overwhelmed me my last two birthdays but I managed to shove the feelings down and ignore them. But this year it has just knocked me over like a wave. The moment Christmas was over March 19th loomed in front of me. It became a date I dreaded. How could it be coming this quickly? Didn’t I just turn 26? 25? 21?
And now here I am on March 18th unable to hide what I’m feeling anymore. I don’t want to turn 27. I want to my pause my life. Not forever you understand. Just until I finish a few things on my list. My grown up list.
I didn’t think I’d make it to 27 and not have a career oriented job.
I didn’t think I’d make it to 27 and still be living at home.
I didn’t think I’d make it to 27 and still need my parents’ help to pay some of my bills.
I didn’t think I’d make it to 27 and have no concrete ideas on how to do what I want with my life.
I didn’t think I’d make it to 27 and not be in a relationship.
Usually when the list would come faster and faster in my mind I would remind myself of what I did make it to 27 with. I know I’m better off than some. I know I have a job. I know I have a car that works. I know I can pay most of my bills. I know I have great friends and a great church. I know all of this. But this year it just hasn’t been enough. I think about how blessed I am to have a job and then remember how there’s no way I can ever afford to move out while working at this job. I think about how I can pay most of my bills and I get stuck on the ones I still don’t. The negative just seems to come right on the heels of the positive before I even have a chance to take a breath. I pray and I get silence. I ask God to help me and I wake up feeling the same way.
I don’t write all of this to get sympathy. I’m writing all of this because part of my believes that the gravity of these negative feelings will lose some of their power if I write about them publicly. Secrecy breeds shame and doubt, and I’m done with all of that. I’m done pretending this birthday is the same as every other one. It isn’t. I’m done feeling bad that I’m not happy. That doesn’t help the situation. I can’t start to feel happy again if I can’t even say that I’ve been unhappy.
I’m not really sure how to end this. I haven’t had an “aha moment” that fixed everything I just wrote about it. I’m still deep in the middle of all of this. I’m not really sure how I’m getting through it. I hope on March 18, 2015 I’m not feeling this way. I repeat Jeremiah 29:11 every morning when I wake up. “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.” (NLT) Some days the verse encourages me. Other days I feel my inner spiritual eyes rolling. “Yeah yeah sure. Can those plans start coming to fruition any time in the next decade God?”
Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up to lots of text messages, Facebook posts, and phone calls from people I love. I’ll go to lunch with my mom and head to work. After work I’ll go into the city to spend the night with my best friend. I’ll have a nice time. I’m sure that voice in my head that has been so unhappy will still be there. But hopefully it’ll be a little bit quieter now that I’ve been honest about how I feel.