Every year I write some pathetic birthday missive. It goes out far and wide and, without fail, gets drastically misunderstood by anyone and everyone who reads it.
I just re-read last year’s letter, and despite the personal call to arms it ends with, nobody seems to get past the Milton quote. And if they do, they stop at the Eliot quote. They see sadness and despair, depression and frailty. That’s not what it was, though.
So this year… what do I say. I’m about to turn 31. No great milestone, just another year.
It’s been a good year for me, though. Yeah, I still don’t have a PhD. But I’m a few chapters and an intermediate upgrade closer. I’m still renting, sure. But I’m in a nicer house, and one we’re looking to buy at some point. The family I had is still gone, but my current family is always there for me. I don’t have a job, but I’m making progress in my career.
So fuck it. I’m happy. I’m sitting here with rain pouring down outside and am happy in my life. Of course there are things wrong. PayPal still takes most of a week to transfer money into the bank account, and money is always tight, and the dog is now on pills to keep her heart from dying. But we get by.
This time last year, I was about to go to Japan, on a trip won through a radio station giveaway. In the last days of my 20s, I sat at Heathrow, bags checked in, and made the adult decision to not go. If we had gone, I don’t think I’d be as happy as I am today. Instead, we quietly stayed at home, working out some of the problems in our life, enjoying pizza with candles and American-style Pale Ale at Zero Degrees. (Next year, the celebration will be entirely different, but that’s a whole other post.)
The past year has had its fair share of crap. Crap days, crap health, crap people, actual literal crap (the cats and dog have had some crap health that has led to a few days waking up to crap on the floor), and all other sorts of crappiness. But it hasn’t overwhelmed like it would have last year.
There will always be shit parts of life. There will always be the clouds, and they won’t always have a silver lining. Sometimes the silver lining will have been stolen by junkies and chancers before you even get to see the cloud above you. I can deal with that. I can deal with the clouds for the one sunny day, whatever form that might take.
So here I am. One week off of 31. And I fucking love it.
Happy birthday to me.