Birthdays kind of get me down. Well, sort of. I don't much mind getting older, and probably won't for at least another decade. What gets me down about birthdays is the fact that they're a milestone, a place to sit down and look at where you really are, at exactly what you are and aren't accomplishing. To me, a birthday is oftentimes a bit like being single on Valentine's day: it just kind of makes me sit down and think about what's good and what's not...
Of course, *objectively* I should have no problems. I've accomplished a whole hell of a lot this year: gone from novice to strong student in both trapeze and fabrics, passed several qualifying exams, had a nondisastrous relationship, made great friends...but also mishandled situations, which led to turning an important friend into an enemy. Lots of friends have moved out of Athens, and keeping in touch is fairly minimal. I keep flaking out on my dream of directing a small circus-type show. Mostly fairly minor things like these, but nevertheless things that prey on my mind, take away from the satisfaction I should have after such a year. Add in the fact that I was given a fiendishly difficult takehome midterm in Analysis, due on Monday, and you have a recipe for me being quite moody all weekend, right?
But there was something else going on over the weekend as well...a show at Canopy, for which I had volunteered to do the rigging (egads! less time to work on the test!). And that somehow made the difference: some of my friends came to see the show, which really meant a lot to me: the fact that it was important to me (and possibly the fact that it *was* my birthday) got them to go--a sort of inclusion I seldom really feel.
And as the weekend progressed, I didn't have much time to sit and mope about what'd gone wrong in the past, because the shows and test took up so much of my time, and the people in the show were so darned nice. Little things: being thanked for giving them some of my time to help get the trapezes in the air, insisting that I couldn't completely skip the cast party, even just offering to pick me up some dinner between the Saturday shows.
Saturday night I even got multiple people to show up to a movie night at my place, which may be a first since I moved here.
And so this year, I got what may be the nicest birthday present I've ever gotten: a feeling of belonging. Right when (for various reasons I won't go into now) I'd been feeling especially out of place. And so to pretty much everyone I interacted with over last weekend: thank you so much. Just for being yourselves.