Birthday Lessons: Sometimes Things That Seem Unbearable Are Pretty Dang Bearable

Photo by Jason Leung.

Last weekend was my birthday. I LOVE birthdays! I love an excuse to get all my friends together, to feel special, and to embrace my silly self!

It was also the first birthday in four years where I woke up all alone.

Four years isn't a lifetime. It's not long enough that everything that came before becomes a blurry pseudo-memory and it's hard to even remember how things used to be. It is, however, definitely long enough to establish a pattern. Especially when that pattern is as nice as waking up to someone making you feel special on your birthday. Right away! First thing! Breakfast! Cuddles! Sweet words about how great you are! Because it's your birthday and you are important to someone!

It's been a while since I wished I was still in that relationship. I no longer feel awash in sadness when I think about it ending, nor is there a gaping hole still remaining in my life where that particular love used to be. But there are still totems that pop up--totems of having a person in your life who was a partner, lover, companion and friend. I saw one coming with my birthday, and I was afraid of it.

I thought it was going to be too depressing to wake up alone on my birthday. So much so that I contemplated asking some friends to sleep over the night before so that I didn't have to even face the question, but that seemed like overdoing it. I wound up deciding to face the morning, whatever it held.

Turn out, it was fine. My weekend was so full of friendship, fun, and love that I barely felt the gap. If anything, I filled things a little too much and wished I had a bit more downtime in the morning to be with myself and reflect.

Everything has got at least one lesson, and here are the various lessons that can be taken away from this experience:

Sometimes the things that we think will be unbearable are actually completely bearable.

We are in control (to a degree) of our circumstances. I made a point of filling my weekend with friendship and family and reaped the rewards of feeling surrounded by love.

Taking care of yourself, for yourself, is a gift just as much as it can be a burden.

Maybe, if you're scared of something inevitable, embrace it and see what happens.

And of course, my favourite lesson in all of life: we are capable of more than we think.

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