Monday, June 25, 2012

My Birthday Wish Is... You.

My 32nd birthday is a week from today. I always look forward to my birthday. Probably for the same reason I love New Year’s Day. It seems like a bit of a check point for me. What did I do over the last year that I’m really proud of? What can I do next year to make things even better? And, of course... 

What am I going to do to celebrate? 

Over the last few years, I have made it a point to be out of town for my birthday. Yes, I like to travel and see new things... but that’s not really the reason. Being out of town gives me an excuse to not have to try and have any kind of party or special event for my birthday. Why? Well, honestly, I’m always afraid that no one will show up and I’ll start my year off feeling pathetic and lonely. 

Making friends has never really been a challenge for me. However, creating close friendships that stand the test of time? Yeah, not exactly my strong suit. I’m not sure why, either... I don’t screw my friends over. I don’t lie to them. I’m not a backstabber. I’ve done shitty things in my past, but these days, I live a life of open communication and honesty. I think maybe I just... do my own thing too much? Maybe my independence keeps people at a distance? Or maybe I keep people at a distance because I’m afraid that, eventually, they will leave? 

I think another challenge for me has been that for so many years, I have relied on the men in my life to be my closest friends. This is okay in that adolescent stage of life where no one is married, kids aren’t on the radar, everyone is living with roommates, going to school, partying, etc. Now that I’m officially a “grown up” and watching so many people around me settle down, start families and get serious about their significant others, I no longer have these relationships to hold onto. 

Let’s take my wall for example. That was a fun project for me. It reminded me of so many good times with my friends. The picture of Landon and me at the Griffith Park observatory... the picture of Cory and his brother during a camping trip we took to Death Valley... the picture of Travis, dressed up with his then-girlfriend for a special event... the picture of Matt in his kitchen playing with his dog. There was a point in my life where I considered all of these people to be some of my closest friends. 

But then Landon’s wife didn’t want us to be friends anymore and so that picture came down... Cory and I are still friends, but I’m not any more important to him than his other 3,000 friends are and it seemed silly to me to think that our friendship was more substantial than it is. So that picture came down... After he stayed here for a while to get back on his feet, Travis moved out and I barely heard from him anymore. When I did, the conversations were one-sided and disconnected. So that picture came down.. And last week, because he was tagged in an ultrasound photo by his girlfriend, I found out that Matt was having a baby. Having been a back burner kind of friend since he and his girlfriend became involved anyway, I knew any kind of real friendship between he and I was officially non-existent. So today, that picture came down. 

So now, my wall is full of holes. The same way my life feels not having certain people in it anymore. All the pictures of me and Tim have come down. I’ve replaced a few empty spots with pictures of my family but it still doesn’t have that “complete” feeling it did when I first put it together. Even the pictures of some of my girlfriends that are still up don’t give me the same satisfaction they used to because I know we don’t have the kind of close relationship that I thought we did. I think maybe I put together the wall in an effort to make me feel better, without really wanting to admit that those particular friendships weren’t really what I thought they were. And when I try and throw any kind of event or party, I’m reminded that I have not created the kind of relationships with my friends that I’ve wanted. 

That’s why, when it comes to my birthday, I get out of town. 

I had planned on doing the same thing this year. I requested some time off from work and mapped out a mini road trip to San Diego. The problem is that work has been a little slow and I haven’t been working as much as I could so making ends meet has been pretty challenging lately. Taking more time off to escape didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. 

I considered doing nothing. Maybe just another dinner with the family or something nice and quiet with Rob. The truth was, I wanted to plan something fun. I’ve made some new friends at work and I really did want to do something different. It’s my birthday.. and I wanted to feel special. But I do have that underlying fear that, once again, no one will show up. 

After a lot of thought, I decided to suck it up and give it a shot. I decided to plan a party. 

I was out with a friend from work last week and we were playing shuffleboard. We also got a game of foosball in. I told him about the Bar Olympics that Cory and I had put together a few years back for one of Cory’s friends who was in town. My friend was telling me how much he would enjoy something like that. So, I decided that’s what I would do. 

I created some invitations as well as some Facebook events. I was nervous about it - not only was I planning an event, technically I was planning six of them in one day. A brunch, four activities at four different locations, and drinks at the very end. If no one showed up to the first event, the following five were really going to suck. 

It’s been almost a week and none of the events I created on Facebook have RSVPs. Here we go again, I thought... however, my paper invitations that I gave to some people at work seemed to go over well and a few people have told me how excited they are about all the events. Anyway, it’s too late to back out now. All I can really do is move forward and hope that I won’t be disappointed. 

It took me years to build the kind of relationships with my family that I’ve always wanted. It’s impossible to think that we could ever go backwards and I love that feeling. However, I don’t know how to create the same thing with my friendships. I don’t need to have hundreds of friends, I just want to feel like the ones I do have think highly of who I am and what I have to offer. I don’t want to keep taking down pictures. 

I doubt spending an entire day playing bar games will give me the answer I’m looking for. But I don’t know where else to start. 

I’m not quite ready to become a soccer mom.


  1. Aww lame. I would go for bar games on your birthday. Except Im in a similar boat about leaving town for birthday. We'll hang for sure and celebrate when I'm back out there next month!

    1. Of course you would. :) You hold a very prominent spot on my wall, Mr. Merriman. And yes, we will definitely hang when you are here. Thank you.