On the 15th I turned 26 and it was horrible.
I didn’t expect it to be horrible. I wasn’t even anticipating too many emotions. I just woke up Tuesday morning and it hit me like a brick.
First, let me backtrack a few days to pure bliss in Mexico.
This past weekend I rented a house about 40 minutes south of Tijuana (or about an hour south of San Diego) on the coast in Baja, Mexico. It was a beautiful place, decorated like an old Spanish home with a view of the ocean. There were eight of us staying there, many of whom I’ve been friends with since middle school. Two more were significant others who became charming and welcome additions. The group was perfect and I cherished the time with everyone.
On Friday, we watched the sun go down over the Pacific. It was one of the best sunsets I’ve seen anywhere. On Saturday, we roamed between beach bars, took over-sized tequila shots, barbecued fish for tacos and danced around barefoot. To make things even better, my parents were staying at their RV about 20 minutes away and came to join in on the party.
When it was all over I had so many reasons to love home again. On Monday I was sad the weekend was over, but I was still in a pretty good mental state. Then Tuesday arrived.
Big Bad Tuesday the 15th
I woke up feeling like life was passing by so quickly and I’d done nothing with it. (Dramatic, I know.) I felt like constantly leaving San Diego was going to result in me leading a life of constant goodbyes and loneliness. I felt heartbroken for so many different reasons. Every little task felt difficult. I had no appetite.
I went to yoga with my mom and the focus for the practice was ‘trusting in life’ and it couldn’t of been more appropriate. Yet, the optimism and forward-thinking only lasted so long.
Mid-morning I tried to add more data to my phone plan and (for a reason I am yet to figure out) it sent my phone spiraling into complete freak-out mode…in turn doing the same to me. The tears just wouldn’t stop.
To make matters worse, the sun just wouldn’t come out. Literally. IN SAN DIEGO. The whole day was grey and cloudy and dark.
The awkwardness of birthdays
In general, birthdays are weird and things can usually go one of two ways. For one, you can plan your own party and put a lot of effort into it. In my experience, this usually makes me feel a bit lame for organizing my own birthday, but I usually enjoy the planning anyways. Problems sometimes end up arising though when things don’t go to plan or people bail. After all, it is your birthday– “the most important day of the year.” Another option is that you just don’t worry too much about the date and secretly hope something fun happens.
I’ve done both, and both make me feel awkward.
There is just so much pressure for your birthday to be special. So much pressure for everything to be perfect and completely sum up the year you’ve had while setting the tone for the one to come. Instead, (sometimes) it subconsciously becomes a day to criticize yourself and everything around you. The turning of another year becomes something dark and heavy rather than light and fun.
Or maybe that’s just what happens at 26. Or just to me.
Especially when you aren’t feeling up for it, you just can’t escape the birthday madness. All day long everyone keeps reminding you what day it is. The Facebook notifications put your phone on constant vibrate. Everywhere you go someone wants to sing you a song or ask your age.
Sometimes, it’s just too much.
How my birthday ended
I ended the day spending time with a very close friend and just acting normal. We had a nice dinner and talked for hours. I didn’t want to draw anymore attention to the day or anymore attention to myself. I just wanted to get back on track.
I woke up yesterday and felt completely back to normal. I’m excited about the blogging projects to come, and although I’m still worried about how things will work out, I’m overall optimistic. I booked a flight to Germany from Madrid in September for a short trip, and instead of dwelling on all the goodbyes I’ll have to say again soon, I got excited about my “Europe part 2” adventure.
So, what is it about this day that makes everything so hard? Am I the only one that feels completely morbid on the day of my birth? How can a date bring out so many heavy and unexpected emotions?
Regardless of this rant, and my completely dark outlook on life yesterday, I’m grateful for everyone around the world who gave me a birthday shout out. I’m also grateful for all the amazing places I’ve seen in these 26 years of life.
So, here’s to another year full of beautiful people, places and experiences. Thank you all for following along and giving me reason to document it.