Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Birthdays…


I used to love birthdays. A feeling of joy for several days around my birthday would appear and lift me to a higher plane of living. Birthdays meant parties, presents and fun. When I hit 21 the feeling increased. Finally there were no restrictions; I was legitimate. Being asked for ID was no longer a problem: I could legally prove that no matter what situation I drank, visited or otherwise ended up in, I was old enough to handle the responsibility.

But when 25 came along the days of happiness turned into weeks of depression. I couldn’t help but question why this had happened to me. How could I possibly be 25 when in my head I still felt 17? Doom and gloom filled my world. It was over. That was it. No more fun. No more enjoyment of cards, balloons, birthday badges and cakes, dressing up and blowing party poppers with guests. I lost interest in birthdays. I can’t explain the reason. For years before I had berated my father for the exact same behaviour: not looking forward to birthdays. But here I was suddenly doing the same thing.

30 was the low point. Yes indeed. For months I had a knot in my stomach. How could I be 30 when in my head I still felt 21? Doom and gloom continued, grew, morphed into such an exaggerated state of sadness. I would have happily hidden in a cave for the year and vanished into oblivion. Thankfully there were a few people and a few reasons that made life just bearable enough to stay in the real world, and I survived the dreaded day.

Now 31 is looming, fast, and I’m not sure how I really feel about that. Sure, being asked for ID now gives me a happiness to last a day or more. Sure, I can call myself mature, a woman of the world, a proper adult. But how can I be 31 when in my head I still feel 22? I’m starting to dread the anticipation of aging again. I think the only answer is to count backwards and hope it works. Fingers crossed.

Elloise Hopkins.

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