The 6 weeks leading up to my birthday were, in a word, stressful. They included the holidays, a vacation, and 2 very serious, very time consuming papers.
Basically, everything fell apart around these 2 papers. Vacation could have been more enjoyable if I didn't have to worry about the paper. And the paper could have been better if I didn't have to focus on vacation. One of these papers, my comprehensive exam, WILL make or break my graduation and I could only focus on not passing. Because I was so consumed with that paper I began to slack (or be less enthusiastic) about work, which then pushed me into a belief that I was bad at my job. Bringing us back, in a vicious cycle of thinking, to the paper. Thinking the paper must be bad because I am bad at my job, and therefore could not possibly write a psychological theory and application paper.
Things got worse. My 26th birthday was looming LARGE and I did not want it to come. I did not want to acknowledge it. I felt that 26 was a tremendous leap from 25 and I was not ready to be old. Further, I felt unaccomplished and I did not want to be an unaccomplished 26 year old. I was not meeting my own prior set expectations; I'm not married, I don't have my advanced to degree, I babysit for a living. Let it pass silently was my prerogative until the Pilot got sick of it all, "Just have some friends over." To which I responded, "I can't afford to go anywhere or do anything, no one from the city is going to want to come out and everyone is probably busy." Upon reflection it occured to me that I was so concerned about the fact that I would feel rejected if no one could come, I was making up excuses to not even bother asking.
By Tuesday of the week before my birthday I was so down on myself I told the Pilot and my supervisor that I did not feel as though I was succeeding in any on area of my life. I felt like everything was insurmountable. I was in a hole so deep I couldn't see the light.
I'm not sure how it happened, but on Thursday a perceptable shift occured! I moved from "woe is me" to relaxing for the weekend and meeting my birthday head on.
My relaxing birthday weekend ended up as such:
Thursday- I turned in the last of those two terrifying papers and vowed to not talk about, think about, or write about any subjects relating to psychology, school, or practicum. I also received incredibly positive feedback from my supervisor on my "turning a corner" and really becoming a therapist. He mentioned having confidence in me and that patients were having positive reactions to me and my work as well.
Friday- I babysat in the morning, napped in the afternoon, went to the gym for far too long and hung out with the Pilot. I embraced not having a babysitting job for that Friday evening, by not stressing about the money and looking at the time as a precious gift.
Saturday- Friday's precious gift of time turned into a 500 calorie-loss at the gym which then turned itself into it's own little Saturday morning birthday present. My lowest weight in over 4 years! 163.7!!! I whooped and hollered, made the Pilot come and look so that I knew I wasn't delirious. I wasn't delirious and promptly suited up to head to the gym again.
Also, got all the supplies ready for the party I did decided to throw myself. I tested the waters early in the week, seeing who would be available on Saturday night to hang out and those most important to me were all available or made every effort to make themselves available. I ended up in my parents newly re-converted living room and dining room with 5 friends, my brother, his girlfriend, the Pilot and my parents occasionally peeking their heads in to say hello and chat. It was the definition of quality over quantity and I would not change a thing about that evening. The Pilot opened up to my friends and in return experienced how truly great the people are that I have chosen to surround myself with. They even complemented my cooking, which I can't take all the credit for. The Buffalo Chicken Dip and Pigs in a Blanket are from the Hungry Girl genius.
Sunday- My true day of relaxation. We skipped church (sinners!) and I took my time getting ready for the gym, took my time at the gym. I made no rush of anything that day. Took my time and loved it. Spent the night with the Pilot, celebrating by him cooking me dinner. Nachos, at request.
Monday- My birthday! I babysat in the morning, happily, I might add. I need the money. Then indulged in a massage, my birthday present from the Pilot. Drove to my parents house for another celebration that included, lemon chicken, again by my request, birthday cake, lots of wine and beer and home videos.
Tuesday- Came too soon after Monday night's late night festivities but I was ready to face the week. Not to mention, receiving one last present, an Emotion Focused Body Therapy session with a friend who induced an emotional clearing for my new year of life.
It was the perfect birthday weekend! I went into my Tuesday sessions with a re-newed sense of self, a confidence I was unfamiliar with, but loved and embraced and a new sense of calm and self-awareness.