(29 Year) Old Man, On a Personal Note
Twenty-nine years and one hour ago, I was unleashed on the world.
It’s my birthday and I don’t know how to process it.
I’ve always liked to think of myself as one of those people that’s not bothered by the incremental number, but that’s not entirely true. It’s not the prospect of aging and mortality that bothers me, it’s the feeling that I’m somehow falling further behind in some sort of race against every other human being my age. This anxiety causes me to speculate that there won’t be enough time to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish, coupled with the fear that my best days have already passed.
Sure, it’s probably bunk. That race is a construct of my own anxieties, so it’s one I can’t hope to win. But there it is.
Beyond that, I felt super awkward planning something for myself for my birthday. As a single adult, I feel weird saying “hey, everyone, come out and help me celebrate my birthday!” I did that last year and while the attendance was great and we all had a great time, I felt weird during the whole process.
So this year I took the phone calls, texts, and Facebook wall postings and expressed my gratitude. To celebrate the day I went to work, came home, took a nap, woke up, ordered food for myself and that was it.
Unfortunately, it’s not the whole truth. There’s a bigger, more personal reason for my solitude on my birthday, and it’s that as a person in recovery, I have to be careful. No amount of time can make me invincible to my darker urges.
If I can take anything out of my 28th year, it was that discovery and reminder. Too many times I brought myself to points where I could have and almost did drink, only to walk away and go “whew! That was close.” It’s foolhardy and self-defeating, though, to think that I’ll always walk away. That isn’t the case. I operated under that delusion for some time, but too many close calls and observations of others I know in recovery have taught me in the past year have shown me otherwise.
How’s that relate?
Well, it’s been my experience that birthday parties and gatherings are just as much for the attendees as the birthday boy or girl. Problem is, I can’t celebrate like other people want to. No matter where we go, somebody’s eventually going to want a drink. That’s just our culture, and those folks are the ones that can drink safely. I can’t.
So what do I do?
I go to work, come home, take a nap, order food, and write a blog. Then get through another day; surviving, sober, and alone for the time being. But that’s the trade-off.
29’s a weird number. Let’s get to a nice, round 30 quickly, huh?