Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Twenty-four

Twenty-four hours to save the United States of America.


Recently turned twenty-four years of age in the United States of America.

On your birthday, people always seem to ask "So, do you feel any older?" It's a stupid question, really, because of course no one "feels" older on that specific day - it's not like a switch is flipped at midnight, automatically giving you some sort of insight or wisdom or wrinkles intended to make you "feel" older. I usually just smile politely, shake my head, and say no. This year, however... if someone had asked me last week if I felt any older on my birthday, I would have said yes. This is the first time in my life that I actually do feel older.

A number of events and happenings have combined to make this year very hard for me. Some things I've blogged about... others I've not even mentioned to my best friends. I try to steer clear of blogging unless I have something happy or funny to relate... no one wants to read all about some random girl's heartache and sorrow. So I fake it. I fake it with my friends, my coworkers, my family. If my life was a Seinfeld episode, I'd have to give everyone another chance to proove themselves once they found out I'd been faking it this whole time. (I'm hoping at the very least Phil will remember that episode.)

And I know I'm too young to feel this way. I've not lived long enough to justify depression; I've not had enough epic misfortunes befall me to allow me to despair. I think that's part of the reason I spend most of my day ignoring things and pretending to be someone I'm not: I don't feel like I've earned the right to feel this way. As if depression were a prize and everyone's racing to the finish line to be the first to grasp it.

I've been lucky enough to have suffered through only a very minute number of deaths of those close to me... for the most part, my family members are all in decent health... I'm physically able to earn my keep in a worthwhile trade... I guess those are the categories that come to mind when I think of life events that might spawn depression. I guess I feel that if I put myself on the same level as people who have experienced "real" and "justified" depression, that I'm making their suffering seem less, somehow. Like how a few weeks ago I mentioned that my back was sore, and my pregnant coworker shot me a death look.

Nonetheless, I continue to feel worse every day. It's a culmination of many things: a palpable air of lonliness has hung over the year 2006. And it seems to have made itself comfortable here... I don't think it will be leaving any time soon.

And I can't seem to shake off the knowledge that hardly anyone even remembered my birthday. Not that I have an outstanding number of friends anymore... but I was still a little surprised by how few people remembered. I don't even know why it bothers me so much. Why does it sting when someone forgets something like a birthday? I guess part of me just wanted to know that someone took a moment out of their day to acknowledge my existence or smile at the thought of me. Why do I feel like I deserve some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card just because it's my birthday? Maybe because at this point in my life, it's so easy to feel alone and abandoned instead of special and celebrated. And it's even easier to focus on those times of imposed solitude and allow the good times to slip away.

I know it's just a birthday, and as we get older, we want to acknowledge them less and less. But I guess when every day you feel like you're grasping at straws and coming up empty every single time, something as simple as a birthday wish can be monumental.

3 comments:

annie said...

Here's what I think: no one tells you that the years directly following the euphoria that is college will be some of the hardest of your life. everyone warns you that the transition from high school to college will be hard; they even tell you it will be difficult to transition into high school from middle school. But at the one point in your life where there is nothing left to hang on to, no "next" to look forward to, the whole world seems to ignore the fact that that transition might be pretty damn hard. Add that to the fact that we are single twenty-somethings in a society and a part of the country that does not particularly embrace or understand that idea, and you've got the makings of feeling lonely and less worthwhile than your engaged or married counterparts... and something inside our subconscious tells us that this time of our life is supposed to be full of new "firsts" and excitement -- and really, it's just the first time in our lives that we're not really working toward anything...in fact, it really sometimes feels like we're treading water. or maybe that's just how i feel.

i've come to this conclusion: as lonely as you feel, you're not alone. because there are thousands of other lonely women wishing someone felt as lonely as they did.... we're in it together. hang in there.

love, recently turned 25. (shooter, stage left.)

Phil said...

Are you talking about the episode where Elaine tells Jerry she faked all the orgasms, and he begs her to give him one more chance to prove himself?

PS - I remembered your birthday. Surprise, muthafucka!! HOLLA!

Frema said...

Oh, Becky. Happy Birthday. I'm sorry it's belated.