March 3rd, 2018 was my 32nd birthday. OMG! I’m 32 years old!
I’ve never liked my birthday. Growing up, I didn’t have millions of friends and parties were always an anxious time. “Will anyone turn up….” With ambitions to become a famous singer, I also felt every year I didn’t achieve this goal, the more impossible it became. I recall laying in my bed on my 16th birthday eve crying that I was too old to become a singer. LOL!
Every year that has passed by, I always felt like it did just that – it passed me by. I would sit wondering how the year could have been better, what more I could have achieved. I always felt this sense of not doing well enough. A feeling that I was wasting my life, pouring energy into a career that only brought me down (emotionally) and into meaningless relationships. And so with that came a deep sadness that this one life that I have the privilege to lead, is being wasted. That I am not fulfilling my potential. The trouble was, I didn’t know what my ‘potential’ was and as such was at a loss as to how I could correct course.
Whilst it’s nice to be celebrated on your birthday, it always felt a little like – let’s get this one over with. Coming from a family of a gazillion people, it’s easy to feel like birthdays come on a conveyor belt and just take time out of your week to attend. Sounds awful, I know, but it’s the truth. Birthday after birthday get’s expensive and tiring. And I personally don’t want to be a drain on anyone, so whilst everyone puts their best efforts in to come and share a dinner, the reality is we’d probably all rather be in bed. As I write this, in hindsight, this is saying more about me than it is my family. My insecurities and neurosis that come up with birthdays… hmmm… something to ponder.
So what was different with this birthday? About turning 32? My only family to share it with was Owen and two very dear friends who I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know since moving to Melbourne?
Well, I think two things happened this year. Firstly, I have become happier with who I am and the direction my life is finally taking. It has taken many years to get to this point, and for the first time I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Yes, I’m getting older. Yes, I have FAR more financial pressure and personal risk than ever before. And yes, I have the back of a 150 year old woman. BUT, I love my life. I love my partner, I love my teachers at the studio, I love our community, I love what we’re creating together. So if I think about it, I’m happy because I feel like I have a sense of purpose. That as a community we are building something truly special and unique. I’ve never felt this before.
Secondly, whilst I didn’t have my family here to celebrate with, I feel my relationships with my parents and siblings have actually strengthened since I’ve lived away. Sounds odd, but it’s the truth. We have come to respect and value one another more. To appreciate the moments we can spend together when we see one another. My love for my family has deepened and this is so exciting.
Thirdly, feeling more secure at 32 than I did at 16, I decided for the first time ever to do something special for my birthday. To do something that is important to me and that I ‘d like to share with those I care deeply about who are here to share the day with me. So what did I choose…. Horse riding of course! I use to own horses and miss them terribly. The dream is to have a hobby farm one day with horses, but until that time, riding other people’s horses is perfect.
So if I were to sum up why 32 has been my happiest birthday ever – well:
1) I feel I have a sense of purpose as we create our beautiful yoga community in pursuit of a kinder world
2) My family bonds are stronger than ever before, regardless of distance
3) I did something for me, which was meaningful. Putting myself first does not come easily so this was a big deal.
As I come to sum up this blog, I feel this nagging voice of – “Jessica, you can’t tell the world how happy you are? No one wants to hear that. You sound up yourself and little miss goodie-two-shoes.” But then my other voice says, “Screw that! You’re allowed to be happy and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.” And so this latter voice is the one I shall choose to keep listening too.
Through MANY existential crises, I’ve come to accept that love is amazing. To embrace where we are in the moment because they come and go all too quickly.
Thank you all for the millions of birthday messages and love you sent me.
Sending big, birthday hugs,