A successful birthday...
It’s 1:36am, UK time, and I’m chomping through my last cube of LIDL’s “fin CARRE” Dark Hazelnut chocolate.
1:57am, I turned 32 two hours ago.
Damn, I only bought that 200g bar a couple of days ago. There goes the last of the gooey melty sweetness, dissolving from my teeth, across my tongue and down my throat. Boy am I glad I didn’t bother with New Year’s Resolutions for 2021! One less contributor to Blue Monday!
Empty shiny gold wrapper, are you mocking me?
A Capricorn-Aquarius cusper as Astrology experts would label me. In-between signs. Neither one or the other. A strange ambitious-dreamy hybrid of the already weird devil-horned Sea-Goat and the sign everyone thinks is Water but is actually Air.
Seems accurate. Being in the middle of the road seems to be the story of my life so far. Searching for my place has been “Mission Impossible They Said But I’ll Try Anyway” (the version that didn’t make it to Hollywood).
Astrology has a phenomenon called “Saturn’s Return”. I learned this at the age of 28 when I thought I might be going crazy due to having resolved very clearly that I would that day quit my job at a FTSE 100 corporate. Saturn’s Return describes the period of awakening/breakdown, transformation/breakthrough and upheaval/healing that every individual human will go through between the ages of 28 -32 when (s)he/they question EVERYTHING.
Everything we thought was “right” suddenly can feel absolutely “wrong”. To the point where we cannot concentrate on anything that we used to think was important yet suddenly is, rather rudely, not so. At the time, I was working as Commercial Coordinator negotiating contracts worth millions of dollars while keeping an eye on internal and external projects and managing the flow of communications along the Executive — Management — Front-Line approval chains. On the day I quit my job, my eyes reinforced the decision and refused to focus on any contracts. All black and white things became a blur of greys.
In Modern Western Psychology, this is recognised as a “Quarter-Life Crisis”. By some accounts, it could extend to the age of 35 (please, no). In the current context, if there was a world doctor, I reckon we could also dub it something like “The World: 2020–2021”. By the way, Saturn literally returned last month. Yes, I mean literally, out there in Outer Space.
A few months before I quit that job (a job that came with a pretty safe 9-to-5 sunny Sydney lifestyle and a clear career projection to directorship; a job that I had secured after a scholarship place at one of Scotland’s best private High Schools, pushing through Law School while working part-time to pay rent, then working three part-time jobs in the no-man’s land of 2011 when I knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer that I did want to help people but I still needed to make money and somehow prove that me and my studies were not for nothing…) my manager had found out it was my birthday and bought me a lovely bouquet of yellow roses complete with a purple ribbon.
I was surprised. What was she celebrating? Why was she celebrating? I certainly had nothing to celebrate.
As far as I was concerned, I had achieved nothing and my birthday was just a reminder of how futile my efforts were every year. 28 years of failure. Look away. Nothing to celebrate here.
The way I saw it, I had two failed serious relationships under my belt. No children. No house. No savings. I was not earning 6 digits.
Money, Love, Family? As far as I was aware, I had achieved none of my milestones and was wasting every second I spent breathing.
I was shit.
My poor manager had been fooled and wasted her time and money buying roses to celebrate the birth of a stale shit.
Fast forward to this moment. How have things changed?
Let’s see. I don’t have children yet. I survived another blessing-in-disguise romantic adventure. That one really catalysed my spiritual and mental healing (and not in a fun candlelit cacao ceremony under the Full Moon kind of way).
I definitely do not have a salary (freelance LIDL-er FTW!).
Two key things that have changed:
I know I’m not shit,
I am THE shit.
I could attribute this attitude to the fact that in the past four years I have qualified and served as a Yoga Teacher all over the world, or that I co-founded what has become an internationally recognised tech startup in Action Sports (wyldata.com) — not only in an emerging market, but with a new product too, or that I moved to a country where I didn’t speak the native language and co-founded a holistic wellness collective (yogangberlin.de) while setting myself up as a freelancer in a seriously overly bureaucratic system…(“even Germans cry at the Bürgeramt”)
…rather, it’s because even though I find myself back at square one, I am ok.
Because when the people I thought I could trust to have my back, broke it instead, I picked myself up and was brave enough to trust again.
Because when the person I opened my heart to, smashed it, I polished each shard and pieced it together again. Again.
Because when the world shows me its ugliest, I can still see its beauty.
Because when I wake up, I appreciate my stinky morning breath.
Because when I overeat chocolate, I make sure it is full fat and I enjoy the crap out of it.
I am the shit because I am me and I trust that wherever I am is where I belong.
How’s that for a positive affirmation?
If I’m in the middle of the road, maybe it’s because traffic needs to stop for a quick moment…I guess Lockdown #2 means there’s less traffic anyhoo. Best enjoy the middle of the road!
Oh gold wrapper, I see. You were laughing with me, thank you!
Happy Birthday to Me.
PS: I did say two key things have changed. Secret prize if you guess the second change correctly! Comment or email me firstname.lastname@example.org