Birthday blues?

My birthday has me down. It’s not the age itself. As a matter of fact, there’s something appealing about the alliteration of fifty-five. It helps take the sting out of a number that it would be tough to argue is still middle-aged. No, this year, anticipating the number, which climbs inexorably every year, didn’t provoke anxiety or even mild teeth gnashing. The most I could muster was indifference, and that’s not like me.

I’ve always looked forward to my birthday, co-opting the date, December 25, as my own. I call it Judymas. Yes, I was born on Christmas. (When I say that, people ask, “Christmas day?” Yes, Christmas day, otherwise I would say Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas, or whatever.) It’s not the most convenient day to have a birthday. I’ve written about that before, so I’m sure you know the drill; no one to play with because everyone’s busy with their families, and thank goodness I like Chinese food because there are no other restaurants open. But despite the whole, “I’m Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas,” thing, I do love the attention I get when people discover my birthday; that brief moment when I feel special. I don’t feel special any more.

Maybe I’m finally starting to grow up. I can no longer selfishly put myself above everything else that’s happening in the world to expect, nay demand, attention. Or maybe I’ve finally realized that I never was special. I generated my own PR and acted as a one-woman cheerleading squad. When I stopped cheering, things were strangely quiet.

I don’t want you to think that my husband and daughter failed me on my birthday. They didn’t. An appropriate fuss was made. There was breakfast in bed, with presents, and I got to pick the movie we went to that afternoon. My grousing is no reflection on them; it’s all about me (suggesting that maybe I haven’t overcome that selfish streak after all).

It’s commonly accepted that there are people who tend to get depressed around the holidays. Since the big one is Christmas, which I don’t celebrate, it doesn’t seem sporting of me to claim ‘holiday blues,’ but maybe that’s all it is. Yes, holidays and a touch of seasonal affective disorder—two sick parents, friends who are mourning, the loss of a beloved pet, disruption of personally satisfying pursuits—wait a second, I may be onto something here. That’s a lot of weight to have been carrying around (not to mention that I’m a stress eater and the last few months have been stressful so you know what that means). Could it be that on the run-up to my birthday I ran out of energy?

Yesterday my father had an encouraging doctor’s visit and we left feeling upbeat for the first time in a while. Our new kitten, Harper, is adorable (and we don’t really need a plant in the living room). Andrew likes his job and I’m confident that Hannah will go to college next year. Tonight we’ll be celebrating the New Year with friends. Objectively speaking, life could be worse. It seems obvious to me now; my New Year’s resolution will be to learn some new cheers, for me and you. Happy 2014.

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14 responses to “Birthday blues?

  1. Yay for you, Judy! Yay for learning new cheers! Happy New Year!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday, Miss Judy. Those of us who haven’t chatted with you in a while still get the benefit of your wit and wisdom here. You were always so much fun in meetings that I swear you were often invited even if the topic didn’t relate to your responsibilities. Wishing you a wonderful New Year.

  3. Don’t start to grow up!

  4. As a fellow Jewish X-mas baby, also having that palindrome birthday last week (as you know), I sorta felt similar, with some strangely similar life experiences going on as well. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find where gratitude is. But thankfully, I find that when we honestly and openly look for it, it’s where it’s always been. In our big ‘ol Xmas baby hearts! Happy and Healthy New Year, Judy. Let’s do 55 more. Just for the hell of it! 🙂

  5. I’m a fellow S.A.D. sufferer. But birthdays?…. long-ago…after a certain age…I got really gumpy about birthdays. I mean, after that point, we can’t HELP but grow older…we don’t WANT to, so why celebrate? I mean, there’s only one way to avoid it. Anyhow, I’m in denial about aging for now. I guess it’s time to celebrate you, Judy. As Josh says, “don’t start to grow up!” And mozel tov on all the great news from your family! 🙂

  6. The wisdom of age. Or something.

  7. I ALWAYS get blue on my birthday. My birthday is Jan. 25th. So is my sister’s. We’re one year a part. There is a big long laundry list of reasons why I get blue about it. None of them matter. I get blue, I get over it.

    I like the idea of being my own cheerleading squad. I always wanted to be a cheerleader. I tried out in high school, but didn’t make the cut because my gym teacher knew I was a smoker.

    If you’d like I’ll join your squad. Go, Judy, go, Judy. Yay, yay, JUDY!!

    Happy New Year!

  8. Happy birthday, Judy. Looking forward to a happy, peaceful 2014. Hope that both your parents do well in the coming year, and that Hannah will happily head off to college. And I hope that you’ll carve out a couple hours every day to write, even though I know it will be difficult.

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