On Losing the Age Complex

I have a legendary age complex which means that, clearly, I hate birthdays. The first time I cried on my birthday was when I turned 10. The injustice of being double-digits was just too much to take. 13 wasn’t much better and at 18, I had a total meltdown.

Obviously 30 was a big deal (which seems so ridiculous now). I planned a trip to Northern California to distract myself into being happy. Between the beautiful views, constant wine drinking and debauchery that my friend Michelle and I always got into, I thought I was going to avoid falling apart. On the morning of my birthday, we were driving to a winery in Napa Valley when I spontaneously started speaking incoherently and spouting tears like a Peanuts character. This wasn’t drunk waterworks, but it sure looked and sounded like it.

One reason I have this age complex is because my birthday is in October. This meant that I was always one of the oldest classmates. Turning 16 was the only time being the oldest came in handy. That year, I was one of the first to get my driver’s license — well, second to Geri Stolar whose birthday is in September.

Being the oldest kid in my immediate family is a contributing factor to this complex. So much older that I don’t want to mention how much. Let’s just say that my brother, sister and I never share the same decade.

And finally, I have a really young mom. In fact, we discovered last year that we were using the exact same age when we lied about our age (clearly, she must trend UP now that she’s a grandma).

This year’s birthday rolled around this past weekend, and for once, I didn’t have to fight back tears. Sure, I felt the standard “I wish I would have…” and “I can’t believe I’m so old,” but no quivering lips every time I glanced at the calendar and no tears and no need for a rocking chair for self-soothing.

I’ve LOST all of that this year — and more:

  • I lost my workaholic ways and gained time for things that are more meaningful to me.
  • I lost my excuses and gained new strength, endurance and flexibility from spending time in the gym.
  • I lost my solitary focus and gained time to spend with my friends and to make new friends.
  • I lost the thought that I needed to be tied to a company in order to be successful and have stability and that I owed it to myself to break through the glass ceiling, and in the process gained my own business and a life of instability and the chance to put the ceiling where I want it!
  • I lost being concerned about it being too late to try new things I’ve always wanted to do — like riding a kickscooter and taking ballet and thereby gained joy and creative expression!
  • And check out the photo, I’ve lost some weight and gained a better health and a whole new outlook!

I spent my birthday with friends and found some time to squeeze in half an hour of shopping in the Meatpacking District. From the fitting room, I paid for the outfit, had them snap the tags and wore the outfit right out the store. That’s true birthday girl style.

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