Another lap around the sun

Tomorrow (19th September) I mark the completion of another lap around the sun. It should perhaps be something to celebrate – but it always comes with mixed emotions for me.

It all started years ago. The day after my birthday was my parents wedding anniversary. The day after that was my Aunt and Uncles wedding anniversary. As luck (possibly not the right word to be fair) would have it, significant birthdays for me coincided with significant wedding anniversaries. The wedding anniversaries were always given priority. They were something that should be celebrated – but my birthday wasn’t. So many times I was told that I didn’t want my family with me on my birthday, that turning 18 or 21 or any age that ends with a “0” weren’t important – unless it was someone else celebrating them that is.

I’ve written before about my limiting beliefs – and this is certainly a time of year when I feel that they come up to the surface. They come out of no where and hit me like a tidal wave. I get consumed by them for just a couple of days – barely keeping my head above water. Each year I hope that this time it will be different and then BOOM. It comes up without warning and I’m floored again.

There is not logic to how I respond at this time of year. When some people forget / ignore my birthday, especially those I consider close to me – I will get upset. I’m also liable to get upset when people don’t listen to what I actually want, thinking they know better. The request for charitable donations instead of “stuff” is a challenge for certain people which really bugs me!

During the day on my 40th I swam and kayaked in the crocodile infested waters of Lake Gatun on the Panama Canal

I had got into the habit of being away somewhere on my birthday – Costa Rica, Panama, Zimbabwe, Zambia … I’m distracted by new surroundings, adventure, excitement, people who don’t know me. I feel a release of pressure because there is no reason for anyone around me to know. I was in Panama City for my 40th – I had dinner with a couple of guys from the hostel I was staying in. We went to a local pizza restaurant and had a great evening – they had no idea that it was my birthday and it was a great night. Unlike other birthdays when nights out with friends have been planned and when they’ve cancelled last minute it feels so personal (and up come those limiting beliefs again). These past two years I’ve not been able to leave the country because of lockdowns and travel restrictions – and that’s been tough.

So what are my plans for tomorrow? A trip to London to see Michael Ball in Hairspray. This will be the fourth time I’ve had to reschedule seeing the show – and the second time I’ll have seen live theatre since the end of lockdown. I’ve seen the show before – and I know that it’s uplifting and joyous. I’m hoping that will lift me and my spirits from the dip they’ve been in.

I haven’t written this to be self pitying – but instead to try and explain how I feel right now. Just because a certain occasion, be it birthdays or Christmas (which is another stress in life I could do without – but that’s a story for another day) is a day that fills you with joy – be conscious that it may not be the same for someone else. If they’re someone important to you – listen to what they need to get through and support them as they need it. You may not know the backstory as to why they feel the way they do – but by being an ear, a shoulder and just there will help more than any expensive gift you could buy.

A little consideration, a little thought for others makes all the difference


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