Thursday, March 29, 2012

#15 Should I - will I - work on my birthday?

(Made it through the birthday series!  Within 6 months of the October draft creation, yay!)

Yep, I took off work on my birthday, and I was proud of it – didn’t hide it, announced it. I did waver a bit when I knew I would miss some important meetings (office importance being relative – even a week later the whole situation changes and the meetings became obsolete), but my manager insisted she could fill in for me and she did a great job at it. Almost such a good job it made me insecure – but not really. I have the confidence of a 50 year old (ha).

This is the first birthday I remember – even including some of the not-so-socially celebrated birthdays (not ending in a 1, 9 or 0) – that I didn’t wake up with that special feeling. That’s probably because I got so much early attention – my surprise party 4 days before, and lots of Facebook happy wishes from people who understandably got confused on my actual birth date with all my birthday-related posts.

I don’t think I was depressed but I was…thoughtful. Processing. Glad not to be at work, too. I tried a new process that I liked – instead of forcing myself not to look at the Blackberry (much too hard and too much discipline for a birthday) I allowed myself to review incoming messages but only responded to one and made faces at the rest. Really! All day – all those emails – but by my birthday criteria, only one was truly urgent. The others were deemed bullshit…insulting question/request…this will go away…I can’t be bothered to research that right now…


(I know this "Blackberry" cake has someone else's name on it, but you have to admit it fits this post well othwerise.)

More on the “thoughtful” component – I saw my therapist that day, which was nice because her birthday is the week before and she has read some of my blog posts, she understood my need to talk at least a bit about mother topics, and she had thought to buy me a birthday card while on her recent trip to London, a special souvenir. She’s a wonderful therapist and we managed to focus on overviews, perspective, some strategy, but it wasn’t really a celebratory session since (1) my life isn’t how I want it to be – vast oversimplification, I know…(2) I admitted I don’t have the funds right now to do the kind of deep and frequent therapy I think I could really use (almost said “would like to have,” but not quite, probably deep down I have not made it a priority and that’s one reason the finances have not lined up…and (3) writing this after the session I wasn’t clear on what #3 was but there probably was one, probably also a #4.

My fantasy how-to-spend-my-birthday list had several items on it that did not get done, but I had a big morning nap and I don’t regret that! (I’m not old enough to have put Nap on the list, but I’m not young enough that I could manage without the nap.) I didn’t see a movie and I didn’t have a big lunch, just an afternoon snack since I got off schedule (it was late for lunch and I was anticipating a big dinner), salmon & spinach fried wrappers and Chardonnay at the Cheesecake Factory, eaten/drunk while I made blog notes – now, if that’s not a birthday activity I don’t know what is. I didn’t go to Sprinkles but I bought 2 desserts to go at the Cheesecake Factory, that felt nicely indulgent and the following Monday (blah post-birthday Monday) I still had half a fudge cake slice to nibble on.

That’s kind of another sign of the times – there were years I made an elaborate cake for my own birthday (one year a coffee cream cake, because I could make a really good one, although I don’t even drink coffee – but the cake was delicious and with all the whipped cream filling I could choke down the coffee layers, and since I weighed so little back then the caffeine didn’t raise my blood pressure), a couple of years I ordered one (an entire cake), this year I got single portions to go. But I could go back up the cake scale at my next birthday(s), and I probably will. I noticed that Dallas Affaires Bakery, which did our late 1990s wedding cake (we/I, I mean cake-eater me, had wonderful leftovers of the black & white cake with white chocolate frosting and raspberry filling, that Cousin Amy wonderfully captured in the Rubbermaid I had designated for that specific purpose) is still in business – I had thought it disappeared, wow! So more purchases from there could happen. Maybe for an anniversary or Christmas or a self-designated Sarah Something I will order a cake for myself. Not cheap but I only need a solid reason – a reason I deem solid.

Craig had a busy day and a horrible commute home on my birthday, so we simplified our dinner plans. I won’t make fun of where we went or the fact we did a “2 for $20” because I was in support of that, said we didn’t need to spend a lot on 10/19 since it was late, we were tired, and the weekend birthday party had been so fancy. I kept on the diamond earrings I had put on earlier though. None of the drunk Rangers fans at Chili’s (playoff night) noticed, but I knew it was my birthday.

The next day back at work I wore my “50” birthday pendant and a couple of people commented, which was nice. I also validated myself being a little tired and a little sad, and the self-validation was nice (yesssss of course I need to do that more often).

I did have fatigue and angst on the following weekend. Social overload! Birthday withdrawal! Not terrible though. And going through the huge pile of birthday cards I received was not easy - but wonderful in its way.