Happy Birthday To Me

July 29, 2016 was hands down my worst birthday on record. A few days prior, my partner of five years told me he wasn’t sure he wanted to be in our relationship any longer. On my birthday, he had made his final decision to leave. I spent that evening alone, sobbing over a bottle of rosé listening to old voicemails from my mother of birthdays past wishing she were still alive. Let’s just say it was a low point in my life. Subterranean to be perfectly honest. I was sad, confused and embarrassed. I wanted to bury my head in the sand and disappear.

I’ve spent the better part of a year on my own program and no one else’s. Work of course takes up a majority of my time being physically present and it mentally encapsulates me at any given moment. Even in my dreams. I’ve tried very hard to find a work-life balance…something I’ve never possessed. This was a perfect opportunity to explore the possibility of it coming to fruition. Part of me making it a reality was to simply stop talking about it and not making it my focus of conversations outside of work. Instead, I have focused on painting, something I’ve not done in five years. I’m enjoying photographing and traveling to places on my bucket list to take pictures. I’m riding my bike on the weekends without waiting for someone else to join me. I can make plans to travel without worrying about someone else’s time away. My family and friends can come over and stay whenever because it’s MY place.

All of this time alone was a quest to find out what truly made me content. I have stumbled and discovered along the way. Not everything has been roses. I’ve been lonely wishing for companionship. I’ve spent way too much time in my head overthinking things until they’ve been beaten to a bloody pulp. I’ve injured my back by spending too many consecutive hours on the couch watching “Freaks and Geeks” on Netflix. I’ve gained 10 pounds because nine straight months of snow/ice/rain/wind/darkness/bullshit in Oregon will have that effect on someone. I have fretted over the possibility of never meeting a partner again and living out my years alone.

Life is all about ebbing and flowing, peaks and valleys. I’ve never been one for New Years’ resolutions. It’s setting myself up to fail. I much prefer to see how much I’ve “grown” over a year’s period of time from birthday to birthday. Last year, I was in a dejected hole. This year, I feel like I’m on the tippy top of a small mountain. Hind sight is 20/20, they say. On my birthday last year, I was in fact given a gift. The gift of independence, friendships, self discovery and freedom. For that, I am grateful.