I turned 34 yesterday.
Starting about a month ago, I couldn’t think about my birthday without crying. My feelings of failure around my lack of a baby got punctuated and emphasized by my impending birthday. Turning 34 meant I officially failed to reproduce at 33. And turning 34 meant there were no more birthdays between me and 35.
So I spent last week in misery. I dwelled in every negative thought, I gave in to every self-indulgent bitter emotion. I didn’t feel like smiling or laughing. I let myself feel agitated and unhappy. I had a hard time relating to everyone around me, including my husband. And I gave up even trying to pull myself out of it.
But I actually needed a week like that. I needed to let go of my constant pep-talk-positive-cheerleading that keeps me going day after day for a short while. I needed to get out as much negativity as I could.
Because better to leave it all with 33.
Because then I was ready to have a fabulous weekend turning 34.
My brother and his wife hosted a beautiful birthday for me on Friday night. My cousin and his wife came, and they created a fabulous spread of hors d’oeuvres, with bacon-wrapped pears, sausages, fancy cheeses, and caprese skewers. For dinner we ordered from a trendy Venice restaurant, and ate salad with Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, and ricotta, and feasted on braised pork meatballs and pizzas with chorizo and lamb sausage.
On Saturday, my mom flew in from Austin and we went straight to Disneyland! My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew joined us along with my good friend, my godmother and her boyfriend. We spent a crazy day trying to navigate the park with half the group only wanting to go on mellow rides, and the other half (myself included!) wanting to do only fast ones. All in all it was a beautiful day, full of silliness and fun.
On Sunday morning, my husband and I got up early and drove to Long Beach to do the Walk of Hope, hosted by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. We were able to raise over $1100 and were the third highest fundraising team. I received a special thank you from the Director for our fund-raising efforts. It was a beautiful morning, and I felt overwhelmed with emotions to be in this group of people who understood this pain so well. It felt fitting to be a part of this event on the last day of my 33rd year, a year so wrought with struggle, and I hope symbolically it breathes positivity and a new outlook to 34.
On Monday, my actual birthday, my mom and I spent the day together. We did a little window shopping and then indulged in a long, leisurely lunch at a gorgeous West Hollywood restuarant. The lunch was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever had, and the day was one of the more special days I’ve had in a while.
And then of course when my husband got home from work he spoiled me with gifts and took me out to dinner. We drank a bottle of wine, took our time, ate a ton of food, and talked about every fun thing we could think of.
My birthday this year was one of more perfect birthdays I’ve had. I know my family put extra effort into it, knowing the year I just faced. I needed the fun and the distraction to remember how lucky I am in life. I needed such a busy whirlwind weekend to snap me out of a deep funk that I had slipped into. I needed a fun birthday weekend to make myself feel like everything is going to be ok.
But I still will plead….please be kind to me, 34.