I promised a birthday post, and it is now fourteen days after my birthday. Wherefore the birthday post?
Usually I use birthdays and New Years’ for their culturally prescribed purpose, namely as a time for the setting of goals, and a time for checking-in on goals previously set. What the hell happened, then? I mean, I passed exams. Goal achieved, no?
Well, yes, but.
One of the many horrors of exams is that they’re supposed to be everything. You live this strange, constrained existence for a year-ish, wherein your sole focus is this oddball process. Everyone does it differently; everyone has different methods for keeping sane, but mine involved putting absolutely everything else on the backburner — my health, my writing, my friends and family — until after I passed. This was probably not the healthiest choice.
It’s not that I didn’t believe the many post-exam friends who swore to me, “You’ll do nothing for six months. You’ll be recovering for at least that long.” It’s more that I’d postponed so many of the things I love, I was raring to get back to them, and I didn’t count on my own exhaustion, or quite how thoroughly I’d trash my health in pursuit of academic glory.
Nevermind the emotional ramifications, wherein I pretty much decided Not to Feel anything that might cause pain or distract me. When I actually let myself stop and consider the turmoil of the past year of my life? Cue two week depression. Since my birthday, I’ve moved my laptop to my bed, where I’ve mostly stayed, eating Cthulhu noodles and binge watching Hulu. It’s been godawful. Although I have caught up on a year’s worth of television, I’m pretty sure. Downton Abbey is as ridiculous as everyone’s said; it’s a soapy, endless Jane Austen novel.
I don’t have actual depression; I suppose I ought stop using the word, or at least flag it as being the boring, “I feel schlubby and hate myself” kind, versus the clinically diagnosable kind. Mine is insta-curable, too: Just apply exercise. So you can imagine my dismay when, after deciding that a week of nameless and needless sadness was unnecessary and stupid and it was time to hit the weights, I left my gym bag on the train.
Gym bag containing the (irreplaceably expensive) pair of shoes that remain the only ones to date that have let me work out without being unable to walk afterward (hideous foot pain being one of several health ailments I ignored in order to study). I am a complete, absolute, and utter idiot, I know. It’s like I left my prescription medication third car from the back. I had an apocalyptically bad night of recrimination and self-hatred, followed by dragging myself to the shoe store at the next available opportunity and spending grocery money to fix my mental health and cosmic stupidity. I called the CTA and went down to lost and found, but no dice. Had an old iPod in there, too. I am the worst.
So as a result, I’ve spent the past two weeks…not feeling very goal-oriented. So instead of a birthday goal post, here’s a shortlist:
1) TOMORROW I WILL GET OUT OF BED AND DO STUFF.
2) REPEAT STEP 1 AS NECESSARY.
Okay. Now that the wahmbulance has pulled out of the hospital, let me also say that my birthday party was a proper night of carousing, and I loved every second of it. I have the very best of friends, and I remain endlessly grateful for the life I live here, depression weeks notwithstanding. Tomorrow, I will go for a run, or at least a reasonable walk with intermittent jogging. No more of this nonsense.
You can see the birthday balloon I was gifted, though not the bottle of whiskey to which it was attached. Also, that’s like half the crowd of people who showed up. And yes, it was held in a bank vault. Somewhere behind me is a punchbowl. We had punch (though sadly, no pie), and later went out for tacos and ice cream. I got to wear a flouffy dress. Seriously, it was fab. You should have been there.