This week I got older. Every day, by one day.
You did too.
I never used to celebrate my birthday. From high school to age 29, I felt like my birthday wasn't worth celebrating... that I wasn't worth celebrating. Other people's birthdays made me uncomfortable because of the feelings I had about myself. I still to this day so strongly dislike the "happy birthday" song that I won't sing it & I don't ever want it sung to me.
When I started dating my now wife, we made a tradition of Thai take out and something simple, like bowling or mini golf or chilling at home. I loved it. One year she kindly tried to get friends to celebrate with me at a billiards hall. Two showed up. I was so uncomfortable. And upset. I wasn't worth celebrating.
My 29th birthday was my breaking point. That's a different post, a long story... a chapter on its own. But since transitioning I've taken on different athletic challenges to celebrate the anniversary of being alive - I mean, TRULY ALIVE. Like running 32 miles for my 32nd birthday, or riding 34 Harlem Hill repeats in the pouring rain to celebrate that year. Or running 36 miles for my 36th bday.
The long stuff is impressive to me. It started off as a way to push my body - this new, comfortable body - and it got me a few high fives and fuck yeahs. That was better than "happy birthday." It was validation for my work and effort and not simply because of a date on a calendar.
This year I find myself in a taper, unable to do that type of thing without potentially risking my upcoming race. This year I think my restraint is impressive. And validating. I actually don't need your kudos this year to feel like I am worth celebrating. That's liberating.
I ran 8 miles. I commuted 27 miles by bike. I ate a cinnamon roll and saw some art. I jumped in a lake. This is 37. I did it quietly; I saw quite a few pals but didn't tell them it was my birthday.
I do feel worthy of love and appreciation now; I just feel better when I feel I've earned it. I'm more comfortable being validated for my work ethic or for things in my control than simply that I was born.
Kudos are cool. Being able to give them to myself - after SO many years of not - is even better.
(I also like my 37 year old abs)