The universe has a twisted sense of humor. I haven’t had a severe cold in over a year and a half (since I moved to Philly). Seriously. My asthma inhaler had been floating around in my bag and had to be cleaned before I could even use it. Normally, my asthma is non-medicated. When I get a cold or respiratory infection, however, it hits me hard and my lungs don’t handle it well and I’m extremely susceptible to complications. Colds often require what is considered asthma maintenance medication for extra support and/or my emergency inhaler for a few days so I can breathe comfortably and not wheeze or whistle and to keep things from getting worse. What’s more, when I pulled my inhaler out to use it, I discovered it was set to expire soon and I needed a new prescription. Not good. But, on the other hand, it’s bloody fantastic that it had been so long since I used it that I hadn’t noticed it was about to expire. Fortunately, I was able to get in to see a doctor on Monday afternoon and now have a nice shiny new emergency inhaler and an additional maintenance medication inhaler to use for the next month while I get over this vicious cold. And I’m breathing easier again, even with all the coughing and nose blowing. Phew.
At any rate, last Friday was my birthday. And I was home sick with the horrific cold and using my emergency inhaler. This does not qualify as a good birthday, to say the least. I’m trying to convince myself that I really celebrated my birthday a week early in St. Louis, MO by consuming way too many cupcakes and spending time with friends. Basically calling the mini-vacation a birthday gift to myself. It’s kind of working, I think I’m starting to believe it.
But my actual birthday was last Friday. And for some reason, this birthday is just not sitting well with me. Normally birthdays don’t bother me. Yes, in general birthdays are very important to me, both mine and those of my friends and family. A day to celebrate that the people I love were born and are in my life, and an excuse to get all sappy and remind them they are important to me. That’s the purpose of birthdays in my opinion. As I said last year: “Physical gift or card or not, reminding someone that you’re happy they were born is a gift in itself.“
I’ve never had a birthday freak-out or dreaded becoming another year older. I’ve never had the OMG-I’m-turning-X reaction to a birthday. Frankly, the only time I actually felt a bit old is when my younger sister turned 25, and that was a few years ago now. Turning 25 or even 30 didn’t faze me in the slightest.
This year my feelings towards my birthday are different. While certainly not a significant number, it is not sitting well. I feel restless and frustrated. And kind of incomplete/unfulfilled. I wasn’t entirely sure why. So I took stock of the past year. And it was rough for me personally: dealing with my identity theft, having several fallings out with people I thought were friends (which makes me sad) and losing their support when I really needed it, settling into a new city/job, my dog having health issues related to getting old (I’m not dealing well with my dog getting old…she’s supposed to live forever), battles with my former phone company AT&T (just to get what I was paying them for), issues with my rental house (leaking roofs, etc.), and all that along side other things that constitute the daily challenges of life. And looking at that list I started to understand why I feel so tired.
And then I looked back at where I thought I’d be in my life by now. Everyone has an idea of where they expect to be 5, 10, 15 years down the road. It may not be set in stone, but there are general things you expect and want out of life. I always thought by this point in my life I’d be settled somewhere, possibly owning my own home. Hopefully with a partner and at least thinking about children. Instead I feel restless, unsettled. And quite frustrated with my life in general. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job (frustrations and all) and my career. That’s about the only thing that I feel has really grown and moved forward for me in positive ways recently.
But I know I need balance between my work/career and my life, and it’s that life half of the balance that’s giving me issues right now. My life isn’t where I want or expected it to be. And I’ve tried to move forward, but things just haven’t been going my way and I truly feel like most of my life the past year has been one battle after another. And I’m tired. Tired of feeling like I’m having to work hard at everything, even to get the simplest things done. I don’t know if it’s something I’m doing (or not doing), or if it’s something else. Maybe I’m trying/working too hard or trying to force things. Maybe I’m not trying/working hard enough or trying the wrong things. I don’t know. And I also don’t know where to go from here or what happens next.
Still, I’m restless and frustrated. That much I do know.