Today is my 47th birthday! Happy Birthday, Me!
I decided to write this post ahead of time because I felt I might want to add something before it automatically pops up on my actual birthday and also I felt that I wanted to share some thoughts with everyone as the days leading up to it are often filled with reflections on years past.
The majority of my birthdays throughout my life I've spent without my family. To most people that must seem a pretty alien concept. When I see so many people around me celebrating their birthdays around people they grew up with and care about, it's often been a day of isolation and a reminder that I've always had to find my own way to enjoy a day that many take for granted as a day they get to spend with loved ones.
It's been 30 years since I celebrated any of my birthdays with my actual family. My grandparents always went out of the way to keep in touch with me over the years and we would talk on the phone and they would send me cards or care packages in the mail. I always loved their determination to keep me close no matter how far I was from home.
Now with my grandparents gone for nearly 7 years, this year seems like it could be especially lonely as my folks and I have never really managed to reconnect and my father is in poor health and his memory is failing as a result of dementia and other complications.
My dad and I have had a strained relationship over the years although I always found him easier to talk to than my mother. I knew what his reactions would be and he always had this air of sarcasm surrounding him that made it really hard to know if he was serious or taking jabs at me. He never really tried to become a friend over the years even though I had not lived under the same roof with my mother and he since right after I turned 16 even when I expressed to them that the only way that I could see us ever getting along was for them to learn how to become my friends. A plea in my middle 20's that went ignored even to this day.
By the end of this year I will have been out and living on my own for 31 years. It's hard for me to know how to feel about that most days. Part of me wants to be overjoyed for the fact that I'm still here but the other part of me feels this huge hole in my life and I'm not really sure what to do about it anymore.
I'm not from some broken home but in a way our home was broken. As much as family meant to my grandparents it didn't seem to have the same meaning to my parents. Somehow things got left by the side of the road and the things that mattered about family got lost. What happened to the values that my grandparents cared about? That sense of family and seeing each other seemed to have died even before they passed away.
I hope that this year I can find something in my day to give me more hope for the birthdays to come. I want to be happy and really enjoy these days as my days ahead become fewer but with some luck the things I learn and the wisdom I hope to acquire becomes something to continue building my life around.
Birthdays are supposed to be times of happiness. So I hope that this year I can find a way to bring a little more joy into the spirit of my day.