Yesterday was my 45th birthday.
I don’t like making a big deal about my birthdays. I’ve never been one to believe in a “birthday month” or even “birthday week.” I have my birthday hidden on Facebook so I don’t end up having the girl I met from summer camp in 7th grade and my old college coworker, both who I haven’t seen in decades, wish me well. Also, having a birthday in the month after all the major winter holidays and having the last birthday in the same month as my daughter, my mother, and my sister… well by the time January 28th comes around I’m fucking sick of birthdays.
I usually take the day off. I take myself to breakfast, or go to two gyms so I can go on the elliptical for a half hour and watch some really terrible TV and then buy a ridiculous drink at Starbucks. Maybe get my nails done or go thrift shopping or read a book in bed in the middle of the day. This year I couldn’t do that because the week prior I went away on vacation.
When I went to LA to shoot my part of the cabi Spring 2020 campaign, I had drinks with my contact at the brand. She’s an amazing woman, she’s so good at what she does but is also so smart and kind and fun. She suggested when I came to Scoop in January as part of the contract to bring along my family. Add a few days to the hotel reservation and to the flight. Thing is, my daughter had school commitments and well, that would still be me paying for their flights and meals and travel. My sister invited me on a trip a few months prior and I had to decline because of work. Our best friend had a holiday vacation planned that had to be canceled last minute due to a family situation. I invited them to join me. We’d head to Palm Springs for a few days, rent an Airbnb, then drive to San Diego for Scoop. The three of us hadn’t traveled together in two years, it would be great.
It was good, but not great. We three came on the trip with our three personal issues and the weight of our worlds on our shoulders. We then spent two nights together in a standard double hotel room on different schedules already feeling worn on the edges from several days of travel and trying to decompress but struggling to do so. I realized how much I desperately need alone time on work trips so I can recharge and perform at my best. I didn’t get that alone time, I was not my best at the conference and I wasn’t my best as a friend. I came home wishing I could have a do-over.
That was so late Saturday night it was Sunday morning. I had no content ready for the coming week, but Sunday I spent reconnecting with my family, napping, and unpacking. It made more sense to get settled than to get a blog post for Monday. And Monday was so busy catching up on overflowing inboxes, crafting content, taking care of contracts, and getting back into the swing of things. I didn’t really think about Tuesday being my birthday until I was getting into bed. Should I sleep in? No, the best gift I can give myself on my 45th birthday is health and strength. I drank my water, put on my serums and creams, put the anti-snoring device in my nose, my anti-teeth grinding NTI in my mouth, carefully laid my curls on a silk pillowcase and went to bed.
I had a hard 7am workout. I swore plenty under my breath, but was grateful for being at a place where I can lift such heavy weights and for so many reps. At the end of the workout, I thanked my trainer for a great birthday workout. I drove home to the regularly before school chaos. Did you pack your lunchbox? Brush your hair. Turn off the freaking tablet and go brush your teeth. Five-minute warning before we go! No one mentioned my birthday.
I took my shower, threw on some comfy sweats and got to my computer. Texts from my mom, my sister, and two friends wishing me a happy birthday. I texted one friend that my family forgot my birthday and I thought it was kind of funny. Things had been such a whirlwind this month, and the past days since I returned home, I wasn’t offended. My husband came upstairs to see me laughing while texting.
“Who are you texting?” he asked. I told him. “What about?” I told him, “About how you forgot my birthday.” I almost didn’t tell him that, I didn’t want him to feel bad. But then, what the fuck, it’s my birthday and the 27th birthday we have celebrated together. It’s on the kitchen calendar. I didn’t say it in a mean way, just in a factual way. He felt like shit.
He hung up the bulletin and dry erase boards I bought for my home office a year ago. I dusted and organized while he drilled and screwed. And then we screwed, one of the perks to the two of us both working from home. And then I took a nap. I woke, he was gone, off to pick our kid up from school. She came home and sang me happy birthday, her dad letting her know the screwup on the ride home. But then she was off to her room to race through homework so she could FaceTime her BFF.
My husband made tacos for dinner, knowing it was one of my favorite meals but we didn’t have any Beyond Beef in the freezer so the “meat” was a weird mix of beans, and the only toppings were two cherry diced cherry tomatoes, one head of romaine, shredded almond cheese and a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot. Somehow he whipped together a chocolate coconut cake, put blueberries on top with a dollop of whipped cream leftover from our daughter’s birthday build your own sundae bar at her sleepover. The two of them sang me happy birthday and we watched the episode of Ellen DVRed from earlier that day. And they went to bed. But I stayed up, feeling a bit lost.
Shouldn’t I have done more for my birthday? Isn’t this some milestone age? Shouldn’t I do some well-lit selfie on Instagram discussing how powerful and strong and badass I feel at 45? Write some deep blog post about getting older, preferably with some fabulous photos from a previously-scheduled photoshoot? Coordinate with a cool restaurant or bar for a free meal with a fancy hashtag and a dozen of my influencer friends all decked out in sequins and faux fur making boomerangs of clinking champagne flutes? I just didn’t feel like it. It all seemed sort of stupid and like I was performing for others instead of celebrating me. And I don’t really feel like I need to be celebrated.
I don’t mind being 45. In fact, I think it’s a pretty fabulous age. All around me, friends are getting sick, parents are getting old, loved ones are dying. I am thrilled to be on this planet for another year, and in good condition. I am surrounded by love. I just went on a badass trip to California with two dear friends and then attended a conference for a brand I think is amazing where I was featured in their catalog, their marketing. My face was on a banner on a street light outside the San Diego Convention Center for goodness sake. I am blessed. I am happy. I have a good life. But I just don’t feel like showing all this off on social media.
It’s 12:09 am, officially no longer my birthday. It’s another day, one where I will be extra exhausted because, well I am up at 12:09 am and my alarm goes off in just a few short hours. I have a post for Wednesday, a post for Thursday, two other posts half done. I could take off tomorrow and do a birthday do-over. I could take myself to breakfast, get a pedicure, wander through a book store and get a latte and take a nap. But honestly, I’d rather get some tasks scratched off my to-do list so I can go to bed calm, and at a reasonable hour. Because it’s okay to be 45 and find the greatest gift to be having a life that may not be worthy of social media, but a life that makes me feel secure and happy and loved.
Since I have an archive of the past 15 years of my life on this blog, here are some birthday archives:
- Last year, age 44, when I did feel like a photoshoot and poignant Instagram post.
- My 42nd birthday, when we did a sponsored trip to the Maryland National Harbor and I wore a beautiful dress I still own.
- My 40th birthday and back when my husband had a full beard.
- My 38th birthday.
- My 36th birthday, where I share my annual tradition of buying new beauty products from Sephora to celebrate.
- My 35th birthday, where I realized some photos on my old posts are broken and now I have to put in a work order with my tech support to fix this…
- The day before my 34th birthday, when I was a brand new mom.
- My 33rd birthday, the last birthday before I became a parent.