Yep. It’s my very own birthday. December 23. Every single year.
Because I am irritatingly martyred to not being a burden on anyone, this is usually not a big deal. I don’t have birthday parties. I don’t expect special treatment. When your birthday is on Christmas Eve Eve, you expect people to be en route to see their families, last-minute shopping, seeing the Nutcracker, at the office holiday party. I try to avoid doing Christmas errands, just to make the day a little special in this season of go-go-go. I don’t fly and I don’t shop today. I don’t go to Christmas parties. It’s a small concession to having a day doing what I enjoy.
When I’m dating, this is usually a day for one-on-one dinner and a quiet night at home before I fly out to visit the family for Christmas. But as a single lady, I’m in charge of making it worth calling a birthday. I’m taking the day off work to lounge around in my pj’s until dark if I so choose. If I can find a place without a line out the door, I may treat myself to a mani-pedi. I have to pack for Atlanta because the airport shuttle comes very early on Christmas Eve. And then, I’m going to the bar to watch the Steelers game, because even my own birthday doesn’t get in the way of football, with only two regular season games left in the season.
This year has been incredible, in terms of redefining what my life looks like when I make all the decisions. Things I like: cooking for people, sleeping late on weekends, going new places to meet people who make me laugh. Things I’ve eliminated: pretending I’m someone I’m not, being too chicken to meet new people, resisting the idea that I can be loved. I’ve been blessed with a tiny group of people I felt I could just be me around for years. This year taught me that I can just be me with everyone, and amazingly, people will like me for it. No more trying to fit in- this has been a year when I learned that it’s possible to fit all the weird corners of me into life without being afraid of offending someone or looking awkward.
So, with the next eleven days off, I’m spoiling myself rotten. I have time to spend alone. I have plans to see the people I adore. And I can give myself a little credit for growing up a lot this year. Today is about doing whatever I like to do. And even if I’m still figuring out what that is, I feel lucky to have luxury. The best birthday present is knowing that I’ve come a long way since last year. And that if I sleep until noon, that I’m giving myself a present.