I turned 24 years old yesterday.
Objectively, there was absolutely nothing wrong with my day: I slept in, opened up a few presents from Daniel (he got me a series of early Bakelite pieces), went to work, got complimented on my outfit, received a delicious smelling candle from my boss, ate some honey bunches, and had the best Chinese food in town from the comfort of my living room. It was actually a pretty perfect day.
But I felt miserable. The article I posted upon my arrival here indicated that there comes a point after every move when the mover’s positive expectations come crashing down. I feel that I’ve made great professional and personal progress since moving here. But I need help in the social department. I’ve met lots of potential friends, had great conversations, participated in activities, and gathered phone numbers, but I haven’t quite gotten to the state where I and my social partner mutually acknowledge our friendship. I really do think that a handful of local people would have been happy to celebrate my birthday, but I was too shy, and too set on wallowing, to ask.
My birthdays have been, at least for the past 5 years, a reunion. Different groups of dear friends may never have mingled throughout the year, but they were always at my birthday. We’d get a big table at a restaurant and have a lovely, raucous time catching up. It was more a celebration of the great people in my life than a celebration of my birth. The realization that I wouldn’t get that reunion this year hit me yesterday, along with all the sadness and insecurity of losing the daily, physical support of many friends.
I realized, too, that the birthday group I memorialize was gone before I moved, separated by distance, spouses, falling-outs, jobs, and heaps of schoolwork. Life is likely full of more chasms, more continental drifts, and I have to let it go and learn to live on my newly formed patch of grass, letting go of what it was, disregarding what it looks like elsewhere.
Thank you to all who sent me birthday greetings via mail, text, facebook, and phone. I know you’re out there and I appreciate your kindness. You’re still there, I know, but it’s hard to feel that sometimes.Twenty four will be a good, productive, transformative year, I’m sure.