Birthday Time: A Year of Lessons

A decorative cover image for the posts discussing my weight loss story.

I recently happened upon this post where the blogger talked about having celebrated their 27th birthday, and instead of their original plans due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, they decided to lay low for the weekend and reflect on the life lessons they learned in the previous year. It’s served as my inspiration for today’s post, and while my birthday was last month, other things were going on during that time, and I didn’t have a chance to really visit things and write them down.

Now’s my chance to do so, since the dust from the move has settled, and it’s now starting to feel like we’ve lived in this house for the past 15 years instead, haha.

Like I mentioned in the comment on their blog post, I feel like birthdays can be a great time to reflect on things, take stock of what worked in the previous year, what didn’t work, and what we can hold on to.

I celebrated my birthday during the move. It was a grueling, exhausting week, and on top of that, the first phase of the move, right up to the day the moving truck came over, it was my time.

My first lesson reinforced the old adage of things not always being as they seem. It came as I was cleaning out my family member’s room after we got them over to the new house. I mentioned that I decided to stick around and do some cleaning as a favor to our former landlord, and as soon as I got the rest of their stuff out of there and over to the new house, out came the vacuum cleaner, the carpet powder, a trash bag, and the scoop shovel. I ran one of the candles I left behind, sitting in the front windowsill.

At first, I was like, here we go again. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and after my knee-jerk reaction of shame and anger, it gave way to sadness and compassion toward what it took for things to get this bad.

I’m 100% convinced that the state they left that room in contributed to the severity of their health problems. It sure af didn’t help any, that’s for sure.

I decided to celebrate the agency I have, and celebrate using that agency to make healthy choices for myself.

My second lesson was one of ambivalence. 15 years in one house is a damn long time for anyone, whether it’s a rental property or one you actually own, amirite or amirite? Hell, 15 years is a record for a rental property from what I’ve heard and seen these days. I’d been wanting to move for the few years leading up to this, and we’d all flirted with the idea off and on over the years too.

When I got the news that we needed to move, I was stoked as hell. Whatever house we got, I was looking forward to no longer having to deal with that damn Jack and Jill bathroom with only a shower stall, and finally having central air conditioning.

Up until now, central air conditioning was something only for rich people as far as I knew, haha.

But as I spent my birthday cleaning out our old house, getting stuff we no longer wanted out on the curb for whoever to come and help themselves to, and stuff we still cared about to the new house, I felt like on some level, I wanted to stay.

We had a lot of memories here, and I always felt a sense of nostalgia with the house itself. It was 100 years old, the juniper bush in the front yard, the random finds around the yard that belonged to the original owner, and the remains of an outparcel garage in the backyard that collapsed in on itself like 30 years ago, according to the word on the street from people who’ve lived in the neighborhood since the Johnson administration.

In spite of what we’ve been through in that house, I decided to celebrate the nostalgia that house brought up for me, and the nostalgia that’s starting to come up for me in this house.

My third lesson came a couple days before, where someone my family and I have been dealing with from a nearby business came by to drop something off. They still had the old house as our current address, but the new one was on their paper, and I confirmed the new details for them. I won’t reveal the someone’s gender identity or their name out of respect for them. Anyway, they and I got to talking, and I told them we were finishing up the move, and somehow the conversation got to some family things going on for us.

They asked if I had any help from anyone else, and I told them not counting the movers, nope.

This person then told me about someone else on their list of dropoffs who told them they were struggling mentally and emotionally, including specifics going on around them that got them to feeling like ending their life was the only way out of it. I won’t mention those, since it’s not my story to tell, nor was it even that person’s story to tell in the first place.

I was honestly shocked they’d tell me something that personal about someone I didn’t know from Adam and treat something that serious like it’s schoolyard gossip, not to mention someone who trusted them enough to share that with them in the first place.

No offers to help from them. Instead, they chose to stew and fret over it, then move on. I took this, along with a few other interactions with them that made me go ‘hmmm,’ as the universe telling me that this person didn’t need to be a part of any support system I have, and that this person didn’t need to be a part of my life going forward.

I mentally shut that door behind them, and locked it from the inside.

I celebrated the autonomy that adulthood provides where childhood doesn’t, where you’re basically stuck with whoever in your life until the problem fixes itself, for better or for worse.

Over to you, readers. Have you celebrated a birthday recently? (If so, happy belated birthday!) Did you reflect on any lessons you learned between now and this time a year ago? What were they? Drop ’em below, and let’s talk.




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