Societal birthday expectations made me think this year, my birthday should have been on April 16th, or even on April 14th… but certainly not on April 15th.
April 15th – the day my birthday comes on every year, because well, it’s my birthday – should not have been my birthday. It wasn’t a day filled with all the “wonderful wishes” people were sending me. It wasn’t a day filled with happiness and celebration. It wasn’t a day I’m proud of.
April 15th was a day that stopped me in my tracks and taught me a thing or two about myself that I’m not too pleased about.
. . .
Looking back, the morning started off great. I woke up snuggling with my husband in a nice hotel just outside of the city. We moseyed down to all you can eat breakfast and had more coffee than I can remember as we talked about our dreams. Then we made our way back upstairs where we laid out a game plan for the day.
[Now, Jay’s in the middle of a master’s program, and is currently working on a dissertation, studying for class, and writing a paper that’s weighing him down quite a bit. I’m in the middle of updating our website and we’ll just say it’s taking much, much longer than anticipated to update… so you could say there’s some stress in the air from both of us. And with deadlines coming up quickly, and the limited internet access we had on our spring break trip, we knew my birthday would consist of time set aside to work.]
So our game plan was to go downstairs and both be glued to our computers for the afternoon before heading to dinner around 7:00. After working for a few hours, I decided I didn’t want to work anymore. And hey it was my birthday, so I could do what I want, right? I closed my computer and spent some time in the spa/sauna before getting ready for dinner.
And this is where it turns ugly.
The spa/sauna time was nice, and I didn’t care that I was going by myself; I knew Jay had to work and I was proud of him for working so hard. And, I was happy to go and just relax for a bit before getting ready for dinner. I was even going to use the blow dryer and straightener and actually do my hair for the first time in a long time.
Once I met back up with my husband is when I started turning ugly. Things didn’t pan out exactly how I thought they would after meeting back up with Jay and immediately my barrier went up. Jay was trying so hard to be loving, trying every possible thing to break down the wall I just put up, but I wasn’t having it.
I was ruining my birthday evening.
What started out as a good day, and had the potential of being great, was quickly spiraling into an evening of unrest. We started arguing, and if you know us at all… you know we don’t argue. And that argument was quickly turning into a fight.
I needed a time out.
After taking a break and crying over all the horrific parts of my day, I realized my horrific day wasn’t so horrific at all. I know my husband loves me, and I love him too. We both know we would never do things to hurt each other on purpose, and I knew this argument was rooted much deeper than the moments following me getting ready for dinner.
After a timeout, we talked through the day explaining where my feelings were hurt, and what the heck was going on with me. Jay explained his thoughts and feelings and we talked about our argument.
Every. Little. Detail.
Then we cried… like a lot. Just sat and cried reminding each other how much we love each other. Reminding each other that although this life we live is crazy it’s the life we’re called to live. In the mix of this craziness, we are right where we are supposed to be. Reminding each other that the feelings we were feeling were stemming from societal birthday expectations and social norms… the exact things we’re trying to break.
So why am I sharing this with you? Why am I telling you of one of the few times I’ve argued with my husband? Because I learned a life lesson, and when I learn a life lesson, I can’t keep it to myself.
Here’s the deal… My birthday started off great, and it ended great too (check the video below). We reconnected and ended our evening at the cutest restaurant just a short drive from our hotel. In fact, the whole weekend staycation was great. We truly had a good time, work and all. But part of that good time is because we had a breakdown in the middle of it. And we worked through that break down to get to the bottom of some issues we’ve been burying with our busyness.
Resulting in a life lesson learned.
. . .
I learned that I had birthday expectations I truly didn’t know I had. They weren’t expectations for exactly how the day would play out. I knew what we were doing going into the weekend staycation. I knew we would be spending most of my birthday working, and I was okay with that.
What I wasn’t – and still am not – fine with are the expectations that crept in. Because these expectations weren’t anything Jason or I put on the day. They were birthday expectations I felt pressured from society to meet.
I started falling into the trap that since it was my birthday the day had to go a certain way. I was getting flooded with messages to the extent of “I hope Jason spoils you today,” or “I hope you have a great day”. And while I’m guilty of saying those things too on people’s birthdays… Those comments made me feel like the day had to meet these expectations the social norms our society puts on birthdays.
Society was telling me that my birthday had to be spent a certain way. That on April 15th, the world has to stop and revolve around me, and I began believing that message.
And that statement is not the truth.
The truth is that we aren’t made to fall into the social norms of the world. We are made to break free from them. We aren’t made to blend into society and live life like we’re stuck in what everyone else says we’re supposed to do.
And my birthday is no different.
We aren’t supposed to fall into the expectations the world puts on us about what a perfect birthday should look like. In the end… the day before my birthday and the day after my birthday were perfect. Because we didn’t have expectations on those days that put us both under more pressure than life is already putting on us.
So this year, my birthday should have been on April 14th or even April 16th, but certainly not on April 15th. And from here on out I’m not letting society tell me what my birthday is supposed to look like. Because no matter where I’m at, or what I’m doing, my day will be perfect in every way.
With Love and Blessing,
Take a look at our birthday staycation in this video Jay put together.. I promise it really was a good weekend! 🙂
What life lessons have you learned lately? Have you experienced this same kind of societal pressure? Share your stories in the comments below. 🙂