Do yourself a favour and lower your expectations. Don’t worry though, it’s not as grim as it sounds.
A few weeks ago, I turned 36 and out of all of life’s prescheduled celebratory days, birthdays are one of the few I’ve held on to. Even though I don’t plan much for the big day anymore and I honestly don’t think twice about it in the weeks prior, when the day comes, and I wake up and open my eyes, I am instantly transformed because today is MY day. But, I mean, that’s a lot of pressure, one single day! Let’s be honest, there’s a good chance the stars won’t perfectly align and even though it’s a magical day for you, it’s a day like any other day for everyone else. Of course, people go out of their way to make you feel special and they say incredibly thoughtful and lovely things – oh the lovely things, *sigh* – but for myself at least, my expectations of this day have always been a little out of whack.
Sometimes someone forgets, sometimes someone waits just a little too long and sometimes someone short changes you with a complete lackluster performance, consisting of only smaller case letters and a period at the end because an exclamation point would just be saying too much? Then of course, the greatest adjustment and let down of all, is after you have kids. I’m sure the story changes ever so slightly depending on the age but my kids are young. My daughter is just shy of 4 and I was met with pure unbridled anger and frustration. How naive of me to think that out of all the days, all the days that I would argue are mostly theirs, I might just have this one, this tiny one – but no.
As time passed, there was some progress. I was told I could actually have my birthday but only after she had hers. Then I was told that we could celebrate, just as long as I shared it with her, meaning she got to eat cake and open presents too. My mom, an experienced one in the realm of complicated emotions was already prepared and had bought “me” some gifts – I guess rainbow slinkies are pretty cool. Even though the logical side of me was definitely prepared for all of this, not to mention, it’s all completely normal and if I was 4 I would feel the exact same way, but the expectation is where things went askew.
It’s funny how we place value on things not necessarily by how we feel, but how we should feel. Working for the weekend, vacations, birthdays, holidays, sunny days – the expectations are already there. Yes, it might all work out perfectly but there’s a good chance it won’t. There is a better chance, on all those other days – the mundane, routine, same-same – for a taste of magic, for a little bit of joy, a touch of excitement, a hint of delight and a whisper of bliss because we are not expecting it. We are not waiting for it. It comes unannounced and sneaks in, on a breeze through the window, making it more meaningful and more real. There are small windows, small breezes and small opportunities everywhere, all the time, but when we look for them a little too hard, they are more difficult to see. Turns out that today is actually my day and the day after, too. It’s yours as well.