I have never been one to enjoy a birthday celebration. Not in my adult life, anyway. When I was married, I found my birthday as a constant disappointment because of how my ex husband celebrated...which was not really. I got tired of no thought being put into my gift, having to plan my own birthday dinner or party - I was just sick and tired of it. I stopped wanting to celebrate it. As I got divorced, my birthday turned into this thing. A day in which I reflected back onto everything that my life was lacking, all of the frustration, all of the disappointment. This all culminated into one of the worst birthdays of my entire life, the year I turned 39 in 2017. People always wonder why I Hate My Birthday...well, here's an example of why.
It was fucking horrific.
I was seeing a man that I really cared about, and we were just reaching the stage of "this could actually be something really serious" when he had to leave the country for work. He was there for less than two weeks before he began asking me to come visit. Indefinitely. I agreed to come for 10 days, which would include my birthday. At the time we planned my visit, he was very slow at work and had so much free time that we would sit on chat 24/7.
This was not an easy thing for me to decide. To cross the Atlantic...yes, I love to travel! I travel a ton - back then it was nonstop, at least one or two trips a month!
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BUT TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC FOR A MAN?
I landed the evening before my birthday, and he had to come pick me up, as several of my flights were delayed and I missed the opportunity to meet my personal driver. My luggage was lost. I'd had a pretty big falling out with my guy the day before my departure, and to be honest, I didn't know if he would even be there when I landed. That's how badly this trip began...the day before my birthday!
He was there. He picked me up and we made the trek back to the city where he was staying. He took me for a drink to celebrate my birthday at midnight. It was nice. I felt so much relief. But the next day, he had to work...all day. On my birthday. The entire reason I had planned the trip and spent all of this money to be there - my fucking birthday.
I celebrated my birthday alone.
I spent the entire day alone, sitting at a touristy cafe overlooking the Aegean sea. I drank rose. I wrote in my travel journal. I sat there and reflected on my life, what I had accomplished, what I still needed to work on...and wondered wtf I flew all the way to Croatia to spend my birthday completely and utterly alone.
I wandered the very small town, I looked at the souvenir shops. I was in a very touristy area, not everything was open because it was off season. I was bored out of my ever loving mind...and as the day progressed, I became increasingly depressed that I had made this decision to travel there, to give my birthday to this person, and that I had been basically abandoned.
Was it his fault that he suddenly had to work? I don't know. I still wonder if he was using work as an excuse to avoid me. I drank an Aperol Spritz and had an amazing steak salad for lunch. I celebrated my birthday alone.
Yes, you read that correctly. I celebrated my birthday alone. I didn't have service at the cafe, so I would take a walk and check texts and messages via WiFi throughout the day.
By the time he got off work that night - yes, I said NIGHT - I was pretty drunk, wrapped in a comforter on the balcony of our hotel room and face timing with my best friend back home. Thank god for a strong WiFi signal in that hotel, my friends and family texting, calling and Face timing me was the only thing that kept me sane! But...I was so drunk and emotional that my guy decided I couldn't go out to dinner, and tried putting me to bed. Being the brat that I am, I decided that I would defy his orders and go out on my own. As I got downstairs, my luggage was finally arriving. I ended up getting into a huge fight with my guy, and we both basically cried ourselves to sleep.
I Hate My Birthday.
The next morning was not good. I was angry, hurt and depressed - he was angry and hurt as well. I can be a mean drunk, especially if I am upset. We had a long talk and worked things out. He had the day off and we spent it together, he took me sight seeing and we really had a great time. It almost made up for having spent the previous day alone.
In 2018, I actually had a pretty good birthday, as I was surrounded by friends. While it may have begun with me crying in bed clutching a bottle of prosecco, because WHO WANTS TO TURN 40?! Especially being a single, divorced woman? No bueno.
I Hate My Birthday.
I had a great dinner out with my friends, went dancing at one of my favorite clubs - I am not a fan of clubs but there is ONE that I do enjoy going to - and ended the night in the arms of a very handsome 25 year old school teacher from North Carolina. WINNING. I went home feeling like I was on cloud nine, stars in my eyes and thinking, "I still got it." It was exactly what I needed on such a bleak, depressing day. It TOTALLY made up for having spent my 39th birthday in tears.
The next day, my closest friends and I rented a boat and spent the day at the sandbar, having the time of our lives!
What made such a difference between my 39th and 40th birthday? MY FRIENDS. I spent my birthday with my closest girlfriends, women who love me, support me, and spent the entire weekend telling me that I was still young, I was still beautiful and my life was great. I mean, it is pretty great - but sometimes you need someone to remind you.
I actually had two guys ask to see me on my birthday in 2018, and I said no. I learned in 2017 that I would not be in any emotional state on my birthday to entertain the company of men, at least not romantic interests. If you're wondering, my relationship with that guy never did recover after my birthday fight, and we'd broken up before he ever came home from that long work trip.
This year, I am struggling with a lot of issues during my birthday month. Health issues, family issues, work issues, and of course - I'm still single. I recently met a guy and he asked me about seeing me on my birthday...as much as I like him, he is far too fickle for me to include him in any birthday plans. I learned my lesson! Birthdays with my girlfriends make me a little less miserable. Sure, it's the day before my birthday and it's also a full moon (talk about timing), so I am an emotional mess...but due to my health issues, I am not day drinking like I normally would for my birthday. I'm....yeah, working. Chatting with friends, thinking of a dress to wear when I go out with a girlfriend tonight. Trying to decide if I am too bloated to wear a bikini to the VIP Cabana a client arranged for me at a swanky downtown hotel pool lounge with the girls tomorrow.
Wish me luck, folks. My plans are very simple this year, and I am hoping that 2019 is the year that I can stop saying "I Hate My Birthday."