Another year, another birthday – a time for reflection on achievements, hardships, even things we’d like to forget. The experiences we go through however, help us become the people we are. It is up to us to relish that or let it break us.
I’m still of the opinion that the past two years have been exceptionally hard. I’ve faced challenges that I never imagined having to face, and experiencing them all in such a short period of time only made things worse. The losses have been particularly difficult to deal with, and I’m not just referring to people I’ve lost through death. There are certain life-altering experiences that I’ve endured or am still going through however, that I still haven’t found the strength or courage to write about, which have actually been hindering my writing in general over the past few months, hence my relative silence on this blog. Are the trialling times over? I seriously doubt it! However, I do think that I’m just learning to deal with things a little better and finding more coping mechanisms.
I’ve always loved celebrating my birthday. There were times in my life I’d have week-long celebrations with parties, and evenings out with friends, days by the pool, etc. My last two birthdays were anything but. 2020 was one birthday I’ll cherish forever because it was the last one I spent with dad, only to lose him a month later, which tarnished the memory somewhat. Last birthday… well I guess I can say it was the start of the rest of my life, with all that it brought with it, but it was anything but easy emotionally.
I initially had big plans for my birthday this year, thinking that I’ll be throwing a big party to reveal the ‘new me’ and celebrating in a way that’s quite familiar to me. Whilst acknowledging that I’ve made several changes in my life that I feel can count as improvements which I’d like to share and celebrate with friends and family, as time passed, the big celebration didn’t seem important anymore. It might have taken a while, but I finally seem to be getting a better understanding of the value of intimacy – of special connections that truly make all the difference in our lives. So suddenly instead of wanting to have a big event surrounded by a bunch of people that I hardly speak to anymore just for the sake of having a birthday celebration, I preferred to spend some time with a few people I truly cherish, and whom I could have profound conversations with. It did feel like a normal day to an extent, but the conversations and quality time made it special nonetheless. Celebrating true connections with people that are important to us in our day to day lives feels like a great way to celebrate the number of years I’ve been on this planet. As it feels like my values are changing with time (or age), I’m realising what’s more important to me, and I’m celebrating that ‘achievement’.
Reflecting on the past few years, I think that this is quite an ‘accomplishment’ – changing my perspective and my priorities. Truth be told, looking in the mirror today, I find it difficult to find the person I was two years ago. I won’t say I’m completely changed, because at my core I hold the same values that I always held. I think it’s more of an ‘extension’ of what I previously was. Perhaps I could say that I’ve ‘grown’ emotionally. I feel like I’m discovering what is truly precious to me and making sure to prioritise that, and most of it revolves around accepting who I am, making sure to stay true to that and trying to make myself my number one priority. Does it sound selfish? Possibly. But can we actually be there for others if we can’t be there for ourselves first?
Naturally, this is an ongoing process. We never stop growing or developing after all. Luckily I always liked change and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. So I look forward to see what this year will be offering, and what other changes will come about. Perhaps I’ll have a ‘catch up’ or follow up blog post this time next year 😉