It’s been exactly 9 days since I celebrated my annual trip around the sun. I must say, this has been one of my easiest birthdays. You may now be diving to the conclusion that I loathe birthdays from a “growing old” perspective, but you would be very wrong in this regard. I wear my age like a badge of honour, after all, life constantly reminds me of those who never made it this far.
Sadly my pre and post birthday angst in the past has addressed another cliché of sorts, birthdays have previously worked as reminders of milestones not met, of shots missed and lessons still not learnt…and dear Lord, was my last birthday just that.
At the risk of speaking in hyperboles, 374 days ago everything was wrong:
I was in the wrong relationship…again
(a lesson I had stupidly and naively not learnt the first time round)
I was in the wrong career
(the trappings of this job had become a veritable prison)
I wasn’t on speaking terms with God
(I had stopped taking his calls & disconnected the “phone”)
My health was falling apart on me
(Nothing like being nebulised 2 days after blowing candles out)
Oh and family…don’t get me started on that
(*insert hysterical laughter and crying*)
Oh yes, last year’s birthday was an all-time low. I remember at the time thinking it couldn’t get any worse…but it did, it really did. And that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me (yes, you read that right). The beauty of hindsight is I see how it all made sense…the weeping, gnashing of teeth and losing of hair all made sense. At the time, forget it. I was talked off many a (metaphorical) ledge by people whom I will be forever indebted to.
The last 374 days reminded me beyond a shadow of a doubt the sweet brevity of our time on this beautiful earth. Some of y’all need Drake to YOLO’rise it for you, this year offered up the deaths of 4 loved ones. I was reminded that I am truly my greatest enemy…and most valuable asset. I learnt that there were times to speak up and be heard, especially when there are those who would have you muted. I also learnt that healing begins with silence…and forgiveness. It became fairly clear that many things never change and having said that, revealed that there is really no place in this world for bitter cynicism. It taught be that new beginnings have always been within my reach and how the ability to laugh through one’s pain is a skill that should be listed on your Life resume.
This past year has dished so many clichés my way that when I found myself imparting lessons procured from the last 374 days I inwardly groan and think *tone it down a bit Vim or you’re gonna scare someone*, lol.
The quote below by Albert Camus sums up best the greatest lesson i learnt over the last 374 days, hope it resonates with you:
“Au milieu de l’hiver,
j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”
“In the depths of winter,
I discovered there was in me an invincible summer.”