This year my birthday is depressing.
Another one just bit me in my Spanx clad behind.
Its stupid. (The depression not the Spanx – those things are a godsend!)
My birthday sucks.
I once worked for a man who would intone on my birthday “sure beats the alternative.” Seriously?
I know a lovely woman named Linda Sasha who wrote the book about celebrating like Queen for a Day on your birthday. I envy her joi’d vie.
BTW I don’t mean that she just celebrated birthdays in style, although she does. Linda LITERALLY wrote the Queen for a Day book that Hallmark stores sell next to the birthday cards.
So what is wrong with me? Why am I such a hater?
My Facebook friends, many exactly the same age post quotes of gratitude on their own b-day.
What the hell is the matter with me?
I remain happily married to the love of my life. I’m lucky to have children who love me and tease me and respect me. I have gorgeous grandchildren that I adore. So, that’s not the problem.
Today I’m lucky enough to spend my days toiling away at a glam, good paying job in one of Americas most vibrant cities.
Did I say toil?
Any birthday which has found me toiling is depressing.
What about the non-toil, non-depressing, non-sucky years?
I used to pen a snarky e-newsletter called Smart Girls Over 40.
I spent a year writing my third book: Five-Freakin-Oh…but I’m not dead yet!
The e-letter went the way of my full-time TV marketing gig and the manuscript gathers dust on my agent’s desk still.
I loved writing them both because I loved living them.
I’m not always a birthday hater.
When I worked with smart people at a TV research firm the birthdays didn’t phase me.
When I ran a hip young national morning show I didn’t mind birthdays.
When I was writing full time I loved my birthdays.
Loved. My. Birthdays.
My perfect, wonderful, handsome, loving, supportive, smart, hard-working husband was determined that I have my shot at writing. No one had ever done that for me.
I’m such a type-A nut job that giving up a steady paycheck, health insurance, blah blah blah was inconceivable.
Corporate America had a different idea and the steady paycheck went away.
My husband made my dream happen.
I. Wrote. Full-time.
It taught me 3 things.
1. I love writing more than anything in the world.
2. I have the best, most perfect husband.
3. Writing is the least lucrative thing I’ve ever done.
If you are doing the work you adore, living your creative art do the dollars matter?
I was the young woman working in radio for a boss who said the only way to make more than minimum wage was to sleep with him. I didn’t and I didn’t.
I was employed as a full time TV commercial writer-producer for 4 years before I worked my way up to a salary that payed 5 digits. Five digits. As in $10,000.
When I clawed my way up to that 5 digit benchmark with creativity, sweat and zillions of long nights I was in hog heaven. Literally. I lived in Sioux City, Iowa and making more thank 10K was actually hog heaven.
So it isn’t the money now so much as it is an underfunded retirement. Ugh.
Late bloomer professionally. Check
Bad choices. Check.
Wanting to be happy. Check.
Two divorces and paying alimony. Check. Yes, I paid alimony. Don’t ask.
So how does a Smart Girl fix this? I’m not dead yet but every day feels like I’m dying inside.
Damn it. I’m not dead. I’m 59. I’ve still got it and I’m gonna grab it.
I’m going back to grad school. Not the law degree that I’ve regretted not pursuing but a degree in new media journalism
The thing that made me a decent journalist and a better writer was a curious mind. Communication/media is changing faster than anything I know.
I’m still curious.
I’m pretty sure I’m still smart.
I’m positive that I’m not dead yet.
I’m going back to school. I think maybe I’ll keep writing too. More regularly. Not commercially. Screw you birthdays.
I’m gonna take my husband, my family, my steady paycheck, a new degree and I’m gonna get it all done.
I’m going to make life at 59 the best I can and if I can’t make it better, I’m going to laugh at it.