Today is my 41st birthday.
Feel. So. old.
For some reason, 41 feels so much older than 40. My friend posited that it was because last year at this time I knew I was headed toward a divorce that would allow me to reshape my life into a happier one. So there was a sense of impending rebirth.
That’s probably part of it. I think I was also just excited because 40 is a big milestone, if a slightly scary one, and I was planning a big blowout. (By which my nerdy self means, a big ole game night with all of my friends and copious amounts of snacks and alcohol.) Less so this year. I’ll get to my plans later on, but suffice it to say they’re far more low-key this time around.
It may also not be helping that I’ve been going on dates with men who are so much younger than I am. Though I find the age difference is really only painfully apparent when we discuss old movies or music. (One guy had never heard of the movie Fatal Attraction. Another referred to “classic rock” as Guns ‘N Roses. Ouchie.)
Point is, I feel a little old this time around, but I’m still excited for the year ahead (especially if it continues to include cute young thangs).
A (good) adjustment
This past year has been wonderful though.
It was tough initially, dealing with Tim’s feelings hurt and loss when I announced I wanted a divorce. I didn’t want to hurt him. I cared about him and his happiness, but I had to prioritize my own well-being/happiness. And that meant a divorce.
Still, it was hard to so injure someone’s feelings when he’d been such an integral part of my life for 12 years. And there was the added stress of making sure he and his parents got squared away on their own.
Then I had to adjust to living alone. While Tim wasn’t always the best company, he was company. Someone I could talk to if I started getting bored or feeling lonely.
I no longer have that, and it’s definitely been an adjustment. It’s led to me going out more, which isn’t great for the budget but overall I think I’ve kept it to reasonable levels.
The divorce was obviously the biggest milestone but there were a few more.
- I got to choose furniture without having to account for someone else’s taste for the first time in 12 years. That was nice.
- I’ve lost about 10 pounds give or take. It’d be more but junk food is just so damn tasty!
- I’ve started seriously saving for retirement (finally).
And mainly I’ve found happiness. I’m really, truly happy for the first time that I can remember.
My old life
Before I met Tim, I wasn’t properly medicated for my Bipolar II Disorder. We didn’t even realize I was bipolar. So my 20s was a series of ups and downs — mainly downs — despite being on antidepressants.
I was also low income, as I had been waiting for and then was just finally getting on disability. So there was that stress.
Then I met Tim, and that started the stress of a relationship with, and later marriage to, a spender.
Now I’m on my own, finally have complete control over my finances and have a job that pays well. That’s huge. Being able to enjoy it all without the stress of another person’s wants/needs has been amazing.
I also have more energy now that I’m not coping with Tim’s depression and making all of his appointments. (For a long time I also had to go with him to his appointments, including his therapy. I put my foot down and finally started making him go to appointments alone about a year and a half before the divorce.) Plus I had either been contending with his insurance for him or making him do it, the latter of which generally involved coaching — and some pouting on his part that I wouldn’t just do it myself.
So my energy is better, and my depression is greatly improved now that I’m not in an unhappy marriage. Go figure!
I’m doing so well that I’m actually thinking of getting off of one of my antidepressants. (Yes, “one of” — I’m pharmaceutically multi-faceted). I think can go back to my original regimen from before the marriage took a sharp(er) nosedive. Granted, the original regimen is still medication-heavy, but one less is still something — and about $35 less a month, though that’s not my main concern.
Things are looking (even further) up
I have a lot going for me in the coming year.
I have an upcoming trip to DC, first to be a tourist and then to hang out with my fellow personal finance nerds at FinCon. I can’t remember the last time I took nine days off. It’ll be glorious!
Also, I have an active dating life (so far), and I don’t plan on settling down any time soon. So lots of fun to look forward to there.
In addition, I have a good group of friends. While trivia has been sporadic lately — summer always makes everyone a little busy for some reason — we’re getting together this Friday for a game night. So I’m still seeing them regularly. They’re a great support system.
And I’m considering trying to go to London in 2020 instead of 2021. It depends on whether Mom can save up enough on her end to comfortably go by then. Because in about three months I’ll have the the hotel bonus points squared away for six free nights, leaving us with just two or three nights to cover on our own. But of course Mom needs the points (or money for) her ticket, so we’ll see how it goes. Still, I have a London trip to look forward to at some point in the future.
But back to the present: How will I spend my 41st birthday?
Well, it’s going to start with taking myself out to breakfast. IHOP doesn’t appear to be sending out coupons for a free birthday breakfast anymore (poo), so I’ll take myself to Cracker Barrel for some French toast, plus biscuits with apple butter. Num!
Then I have a massage at noon. After that, I’ll grab some lunch somewhere. Maybe even get some ColdStone ice cream, which I only allow myself once or twice per year because it’s so expensive/fattening.
After that, I’ll chill out for a few hours before Ubering down to meet my friend Leila (and potentially two others if they can make it). We’re going to a Mexican restaurant that’s generally overpriced but serves very tasty fruit-flavored margaritas for $6 during happy hour. I don’t even like tequila, so that tells you just how good the drinks are.
Then we’ll stumble tipsily over to The Cheesecake Factory, which is in the same plaza, and get me a big old slab o’ chocolate cake for my birthday.
Then Leila, who lives about a mile from me, is going to give me a lift back home.
All in all, it should be a good birthday. And hopefully, it’ll be another good year to come.
How has your [insert your age here]st/nd/rd/th year been? How do you guys celebrate your birthday?