Happy Birthday to Me

Today’s my birthday–I’m 54. The thrill of birthdays definitely wears off by the time you’re 54, or at least for me it mostly has. The main good thing about it is that it’s giving me permission to do nothing in particular without relentlessly pressuring myself to be productive or do one of a million things that don’t actually matter. Well, as of 11 am at least–fingers crossed it lasts the entire day.

I’m using the occasion to try to kick myself into some sort of routine, at least as far as writing goes. (Ok, I guess this negates my whole permission to do nothing today thing…yolo.) The past few years have felt so weird and unmoored; I’m determined to figure out a way to get back to feeling like part of the fabric of society in some way and starting to write again seems like a possible way to get there. It feels sort of futile because who the hell cares other than me–but I suppose the whole point is that the only person it needs to matter to is me.

For years, I blogged totally unselfconsciously, just enjoying writing for the sake of writing. I faithfully wrote on Mizz Information for 14 years, which essentially led to an entire accidental career. Before that 8 years writing Motherwhatnow Redux (the name 🤣), and before that another blog I can’t even remember the name of…presumably Motherwhatnow because Redux was the follow-up to it. If you’re wondering wtf kind of names are these, they came from a line of Mattel dolls from 1970, Upsy Downsys. How’s that for a fun fact?

Then came the pandemic, and life becoming surreal and lonely as hell and suddenly I was totally self-conscious about writing anything, even here on this shiny new blog that nobody knows about. To me, blogging essentially means writing because the only other writing I do other than client work is journaling, and somehow writing that nobody on earth will ever read doesn’t really qualify as writing IMO. So blogging became this huge pressure I saddled myself with–I’d created this fancy site, in no small part because I guess I wanted to reinvent myself as a carefree lifestyle blogger instead of a cynical navel gazer. But I’m still me, overthinker and cynic, but essentially stuck in a weird purgatory between my pre-pandemic identity and whoever I finally emerge as once I figure out how to move back into the world again. Which means that for now I sort of have no sense of self or identity, a place and perspective from which it’s been virtually impossible to write.

So anyway, instead of waiting until I magically morph back into my previous incarnation of purposeful and so interested in things that I couldn’t not go down random rabbit holes and write about it, I figure embracing ambiguity and the awkwardness of just writing about nothing in particular until I once again have something concrete to write about is better than being silent and miserable. At this point, I just want to feel like I’m part of the world of people and just mundane life. And to do that I know I need to start writing my way back into existence.

So here’s to next chapters and appreciating the ability to be ok feeling vulnerable as a path to realizing that you’re actually the same person you’ve always been, albeit with more insight and capacity to endure the uncertainty that leads to growth. Or something like that. And even if that’s totally not shiny and Instagram-worthy, who the fuck cares?

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