Sunday, August 26, 2012

The 26th

Two days ago, 26 happened. 

I didn't want to make it a 'thing'. And then I did. And then I didn't. But I did. Birthdays can be fantastic. A day where you can command the presence and attention and love from your inner (and extended) circle, be showered with gifts and food and drinks and get to purchase and wear a bangin' outfit especially for the occasion. It's like a yearly wedding, without the formality, clergymen and life-long contract to another person. I am, however, a relatively anxious and self-conscious person, despite all my talk of 'chilling the fuck out' and just looking indifferent. As a result, birthdays - specifically my own - are often a source of intense stress and general up-tightness. If you do something, there is so much pressure to put on a good show. Will people like the venue, will they like the music, will they like each other, will they even fucking show up? It can get a little overwhelming.

As it turned out, I didn't need to worry. It was fantastic because my friends are fantastic and that's pretty much all it comes down to. I felt very lucky to be living in a city that spoils me, surrounded by people that I love individually for various and sometimes strange reasons; who have come into my life for various and sometimes strange reasons. As always there were notable absences, mostly due to geography, but overall, I felt relaxed and loved and very birthday-y. In the end, if you're still worried or stressed or pissed about the superficial appearance of your birthday, you are probably yet to find peace in the presence of your loved ones. Or you're just a lame selfish prick that needs to get over yourself and stop whinging about your stupid first world problems.

I think every time your birthday rolls around, a stocktake of your life occurs. What have I done, who do I know, where have I been - all because you have to face the quantification of your time on earth. But to quote my homegirl Aaliyah (RIP, incidentally)...

Some of us don't find ourselves where we planned to be by a certain age. My eight year old self had decided my life would be settled by the time I was 25. Husband, kids, house, cars - apparently a career in there somewhere but the details of what and how fulfilling it was remain sketchy to this day. Eight year old K was a blunt-fringed cutie who could write a mean short story, kick ass in art projects and be seen frequenting Marioland in her free time. She was also, obviously, clueless as shit.

But that's ok. I know now that you can't control life. You can plan and hope and dream, you can put into place the steps that are required to get to your goal, you can save money, you can work your ass off. But in the end, it might not mean shit. Life is the best in the game at fucking all your shit up. But that's ok too. It doesn't have to mean nothing in the sense that it might as well have not happened. Even plans that go awry are learning experiences, and unless you're completely socially retarded, I'm sure you will learn from them. And if you actually have conviction, you will continue to pursue your dreams with more maturity, wisdom and determination.

I've talked a lot about how different my life is compared to a lot of my peers. On the surface, it does look like I'm still living the life of a teenager. Aimless, varied, little routine, no titles - I'm a parttime everything. I have no mortgage, no husband, no fulltime job, seemingly no stability and I used to scoff at the thought of having any of those things at 'my age'. I don't scoff so much anymore. I still don't foresee any of those things in my near future but I have no reason to judge anyone who does or already has. If that's what you want, and you've been working towards it and working on it everyday, then good for you. I have no authority to gauge or even assume anybody's level of happiness. If you honestly are, then I respect that and am happy for you.

What I don't agree with is standing still. Not like, "taking a breather 'cause I've been working my ass off", standing still. Like, "Oh woe is me, life is too hard, the universe hates me, I'm not gonna put any effort into it, the world owes me all the good things in life". Fuck you. In this instance, the reason why you're not where you want to be is because you don't actually give a shit enough about your own life and situation to change it.  It's not an easy task, I should know. It's actually probably the hardest thing to do, to be able to identify all the gaps in your life and plan and work to fill them to be happy. Nobody is entitled to anything in this world. Whatever you put out there, with sincere intent, you will get back, sooner or later. I truly believe that. And you will get those opportunities because you deserve them and you will appreciate them and make the most of them. 

It is still a constant (yet manageable) struggle between what I feel like doing (sometimes nothing), what I want done (everything) and what other people want me to do (everything different to what I want). What is getting easier is understanding who I am and what my motivations are. I have been given enough opportunities to be able to congratulate myself but only enough to whet my appetite for success. My faults are many and need rectifying but at least they have been identified. I can see the path that I'm walking is a little less gravel and a little more bitumen. It's not as windy anymore but it is still on a slight incline. And that's ok. This is exactly where I want to be.


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