birthdays are starting to stress me out. it is the lead up to the annual day that actually sends me into a tizzy. like a garish neon sign flashing in front of me, my birthday serves as a reminder of how far i've come (feels like just the tip of the iceberg) and how much more i'd like to accomplish. and what unnerves me is that i'm totally cognizant that what i want to get out of my life may require 2 lifetimes. or three.
people tell me i'm young and i have so much time to do this, that or the other. but that being said, it doesn't stop me from the feeling like i'm always in a hurry.
since i moved back to vancouver, i've seen the real separation in my circle of friends. those who are tackling marriage or mommyhood don't have time for us singletons. there seems to be a swap of friends based on current common interests. married/coupled people have dinner parties with their doppelgangers while mommies exchange child-rearing tips with other mommy friends.
and every year that passes, the feeling of "third wheel" becomes more pronounced. and although some of my friends are really awesome to include me in their plans, it still sometimes feels like i'm tagging along.
"the grass is always greener" i'm told by my friends who envy the fact that i could just hit the road whenever i want; without having to answer to anyone. and whenever i take off on a whim, they live through my adventures. but what they may not realize is that sometimes i leave town not just for discovering a new destination but to not be reminded of things i don't have. i'm in fact running away from a void that i feel is getting bigger and bigger.
classic example: right before my 30th birthday years ago, everybody and their mailman kept asking me what i was going to do, how i was going to celebrate, was i looking forward to entering a new decade, ad nauseum ad infinitum. what did i end up doing? i got the heck outta dodge, hopped on a plane to go hang out with my friend in los angeles.
i don't doubt that i'll have a great career or that i'll travel to some amazing places in my life. but i fear that some other experiences may never be within my grasp. and as i grow older, the want of belonging to someone feels ever more elusive. the worst fear would be that of feeling completely invisible and lonely, compounded by urban disconnections. and my horror of all horrors, the frightening notion of is this the best that life gets?
i once saw this beautiful 40-ish asian woman riding on the new york subway and seriously could not take my eyes off her. she was sophisticated and dressed elegantly in a black suit, hair pulled back with a beauty unmarred by the raising of any children. there was no tell-tale sign of being married as well. she carried herself in such a poised manner as if her career was that of an art gallery director or an executive at barneys or saks fifth avenue. (this was new york after all where career is king and being single in your 30s doesn't even bat an eye)
and when i was in new york, i thought to myself that i want to be just like her. to be a success at work, be financially independent and look good all the while; marriage and family possibly not being the priority. with another year behind me, now i think that i MAY be on the fast track to being just like her. (the good, the bad and the not of my choice)
by contrast, there was another asian woman i saw on another train ride. she was in her mid-40s, loose flowing long hair streaked with a bit of silver, natural face, long skirt, sandals and silver and turquoise jewellery. a complete earth mother. her and her hippy husband both looked like they visiting from new mexico or arizona. a complete anti-thesis from the other woman.
and i pondered to this day, the images of these two vastly different but equally stunning women, who would i become in my 40s? what does my life have in store for me? and how will it all play out?
i know it's only because of the dreaded birthday that tends to get me to feeling this way, in such a pronounced manner. (just like on christmas eve, new years eve and valentines day) any other day i remain hopeful and pish posh on these insecurities. not too bad - 361 days vs. 4 days of the year.
this day has come and gone. i'm feeling better already.