This year I was convinced that I wouldn’t get sad on my birthday.
My first year in Austria saw me holding a massive pool party, celebrating the fact that my birthday was in the prime of summer rather than the dreariness of Australian winter. In the back garden of my in-laws we swam in the pool, grilled sausages, played beer pong and bocce and I even made trifle for dessert. Yet later in the evening, when everyone was relaxing in the still-warm evening, I had to blink away tears. Even though I was surrounded by a crowd of people in an ideal birthday scenario, I still felt lonely.
Last year my birthday was on a Monday so we toned it down and just had dinner at home, the two of us. Thomas prepared raclette and we ate it on the balcony as the sun went down. And it was perfect, yet later in the evening, I became moody and temperamental and had to go and have a little cry.
So, third time lucky, I thought. Let’s keep it simple. The evening of my actual birthday was just drinks and snacks with the in-laws and everything was peachy. The following Saturday I had a mini version of my first year’s pool party – just our nearest and dearest and lots of food and sun.
I remember when things started to unravel. An offhand comment put me off-kilter and though I pushed it aside the feeling remained under the surface. A few hours later at home, and quite a few drinks in my belly… I locked myself in the bathroom so I could have a good drunk cry in peace.
But to be honest, I wasn’t surprised. I’d had a very big week: we’d bought a house, I became an auntie and I moved closer to 40 than 30.
So dammit – let me cry! And equilibrium is now restored. And sometimes that’s all it takes.