Like many, I am one of those overly extra people that consider my birthday a national holiday. No, I’m not referring to a few calls and texts but along the lines of:
Stop everything you’re doing
Ignore ya kids, Ignore ya wife (or husband),
It’s my birthday
All eyes on me
Sorry someone died, you better skip that funeral type because it’s time to celebrate me.
However, as I barrel even closer to the abyss of a milestone age that somehow snuck up on me, I found less of a need for all the celebration shenanigans. Instead, I’ve looked at the accomplishments of others that were born within two years of me and compared their lives to mine to see if I have really fulfilled the goals I thought I would at this age. I find myself wondering, “Why the hell am I not further along in life?”
“What have I really accomplished?”
Now when I say others, I don’t mean my peers sitting next to me at work or anyone I graduated high school with which would make more sense. One thing about me, I don’t ever do anything half ass, including my level of delusion. Instead I wonder how the hell has Beyonce gotten in formation, Justin Timberlake has his suit and tie, Alicia Keys is that girl on fire and I’m just doing the same ole non extraordinary things with my life. I get up, go to work, deal with bureaucratic bullshit while dodging political and racist undertones thrown at me everyday and go home. But at least I can pay my bills.
That should be enough right?
But unfortunately it’s not. I have this annoying habit of never being satisfied with anything I accomplish and always wanting more. By the way, this more does NOT include a husband and kids so cue the collective gasps. Ill spare you my rant on society’s pressure for women to have a husband, 2.5 kids and a picket fence in order to have it all. We will address that in another post.
In order to trick my mind into accepting where I am and seeing things how they truly are, I decide to take myself on a bootleg version of “This is Your Life.” I have kept all my journals for the last twenty years. I never knew why I held on to them, as they were just evidence of my overdramatic insecure teen years. But now they serve as a tangible reminder of how far I have actually come.
No I haven’t written that best seller novel that I’ve dreamed of and I’m not doing a job that makes a big difference but I have mostly made the strides that I wanted to make. Every year I set goals in my journal for where I want to be, something that I encourage everyone to do. In my opinion, performing self checks are the key to growth. Instead of doing the whole new year, new you schtick, I use my birthdays as markers instead. This year I read my journal entries from the last two years and I’ve hit those targets….except for the one that constantly evades me.
I still haven’t found my chill.
I’m not talking about winter weather, after all in the South that doesn’t really exist anyway. If you don’t know what a chill is, I’ve enlisted the help of my good friend the urban dictionary to assist.
I am making strides in conquering the battle of the bulge, being more charitable, doing self care but yet I continue to wonder “oh where oh where has thou chill gone?” It was four score and seven years ago but there once was a time I did possess a chill. True enough it was back in elementary/middle school when I was so insecure that someone could look at me sideways and I would cry, but it was there nonetheless. Unfortunately the state of our (Trump) affairs has caused my chill to go and bury itself far below anywhere that I am capable of finding.
Every morning I start out on a quest to find my chill and find bits and pieces of it and then it happens…..Someone slides into my Twitter mentions, another employee uses all caps and bold print in work emails, I watch the news, a dumbass swerves in front of me on the road, family drama, or something else randomly stupid and instantly the chill disappears.
With age comes the ability (so I’ve heard) to not sweat the small stuff and let the petty arguments pass you by. Not every action deserves a reaction. There was a time in the 99-2000 era when people were backing their ass up to Cash Money that I was busy popping off for any and every reason. Now that I’ve learned to pick my battles, I can look back at the things that I used to get mad at and see that it wasn’t worth it. However, and it’s a big however, I do feel that I’m one McDonald’s ice cream machine being down instance away from just losing it completely. I’ve been trying to limit my time on social media where all the keyboard thugs seem to reside but that only helps so much.
Stupidity is everywhere.
The political climate and increasing tensions across racial and gender groups have only gotten worse. Instead of having simple disagreements online about fictional characters or musicians, I find myself having conversations with people about why it’s inappropriate to be scared because a Muslim woman walks in wearing a hijab and accuse her of possibly blowing up the place.
(Note: This is not an exaggeration. I stopped an entire child’s birthday party to explain to another grown ass adult how as a person, moreso a person of color it was even more ridiculous that she would make such a prejudice statement.)
So yes I’m getting older.
I’m on the path to where I truly want to be and along that path there will continue to be stupidity, racism, prejudice and bias. All things that I will not ignore and will not be quiet about. If that means that I have “no chill,” then so be it.
Maybe I could go further in my career or life if I kept my mouth shut. Maybe I could have a seat at the Executive round table if I nodded my head and said “yes sir” even though I know what is being asked of me is asinine. Maybe I could bite my tongue when I’m being disrespected and just go with the flow to not be viewed as the angry black woman.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Life is full of what ifs and shoulda coulda woulda. But what I am absolutely certain is that I’ve fought hard to accept who and what I am. Flaws, Opinions, Passion and all.
And the lesson I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that I am a person who everyone is not going to like………..and that is absolutely okay.