In 1992 on May 2nd, my dad got a parking ticket outside of the hospital around 2 pm because he’d raced in to my laboring mother without checking the parking restrictions – Chicago’ll always get ‘ya.
Like most people, my own feelings towards my birthday have changed drastically in the 27 years since.
As a toddler, I was excited to share my birthday parties with my brother who had a birthday just 3 weeks before me – we had parties at the park district, and had an epic Power Rangers themed one where he dressed as the Black Ranger and I was the Pink Ranger.
Then I reached an age where I wanted my own birthday – my party and my theme, with my friends. I think my first negative memory of my birthday was when I was trying to find out the surprise theme my parents had picked sometime in the 1st or 2nd grade, and my cousin screamed at me that I was spoiled brat who would end up ruining the surprise.
At some point in my childhood I developed the anxieties of parties, like I’m sure all kids do. Would my friends show up? Did I invite everyone? Did I hurt someone’s feelings because I forgot to invite them? Would the girl in class that was kind of mean show up because you had to literally invite everyone or no one to your birthday parties at that age?
In recent years, my self loathing and depression has gotten the better of me. I started to dread my birthday, not because of my age, but because I felt like I shouldn’t be celebrated. This year I think has been the worse for me in a while, and I tried not to make any plans so that no one would feel obligated to celebrate me.
But they did anyways.
My birthday this year was filled with surprises from others. From little gifts and acts of kindness for the sake of “it’s your birthday” to a friend planning a surprise meet-up.
And the reality is that I’m ugly crying about it this morning.
So, happy belated birthday to me, from a version of me that feels like I shouldn’t be so hard on myself all of time. Tomorrow I may not feel that way, but today-me does and maybe I’ll need this reminder again one day.
So anyways, goals for 27 year old me? At the advice of Wesley Chu, I’m going to stop chasing my own tail.