On January 13th I turned 27. I thought it would be like any other birthday that I’ve had. It wouldn’t feel like anything has changed. Before I felt like age was just a number and it doesn’t define you or hold you back from what you are trying to pursue or accomplish in life. Those were my expectations for the day, however I woke up that morning with a slightly different perspective. Even though I was envisioning having the same feelings as previous years, to my surprise something was different. I was happy so be here and mark it my 27th year.
I guess I have a new outlook on things around me. I have to admit I was an asshole in my younger years. Raising my voice to make sure that it was the only one heard was not uncommon for me. Making certain my opnion was asserted where I know it wasn’t needed and being oblivious to things around me were the norm. I have grown up a lot these past few years, particularly these past few months. I think my edges have softened and I have become more self-aware. When I was so quick to judge and offer my opinion as to how this should be done or tell people that they are wrong, I step back, listen and observe. I can think of many times during school and out that I caused confrontations and tension among others, afterward knowing that an apology just would not suffice. I know that I hurt people. Words are powerful. They can be hurled and used as weapons. They have consequences. I feel so bad for what I have done knowing that I have hurt people. I guess getting older makes you wiser or something they say. I think it makes you look back at all of the stupid things you did. The skinny dipping, tequila shots, the going to bars at -20 in a mini-dress, but I digress.
Birthdays for me have never been something of a celebration. I guess it felt like just another day gone or my synical attitude. It was hard to conceptualize and feel that once that clock struck midnight you would feel any differently about yourself regarding your age or entity because of a number. It was as if you were supposed to be a whole new person with this new take on life, a mature self really, now that you gained another year. Each new year brought new things or put yourself closer to earning rewards in society’s eyes, like having the ability to buy cigarettes, pay taxes, vote or buy alcohol. Taxes are not really a reward, though.
Happiness. It isn’t a tangible item that you can buy or add to your Amazon wishlist. It is something that you must feel from deep within. I guess I have been going through the motions to not realize what I have been missing or desperately needing. For many months, I have been following a hamster wheel schedule because that was all that I could handle. Taking things one day at a time, get up, get dressed, sort through work and try to make some sense of it, clean the house, do my exercises, and then proceed to do it all over again the next day. Turning 27, meant so much more to me then marking another year on the calendar or trying to convince the lady at the LCBO that I can definitely pass for a 20-year-old. It was waking up and realizing that I had happiness and truly feeling it again in my life. Happiness to me was being able to look at my husband and hold his hand while we go for a Sunday drive. Spend time shopping with my Mom as she embarks on this new chapter of her career, while watching my Dad get excited to go on their first cruise together. Watch my youngest brother graduate from University, see my other brother become a police officer and his girlfriend Alexis become a nurse. Laugh uncontrollably with friends over glasses of wine talking about their wedding plans and have fun-loving arguments over pregnancy and baby names with others. For me, it was having the opportunity to be here and share those experiences with those close to me. I didn’t realize how much I took for granted, how much I bitched and complained about things that didn’t matter until something bad happened.
It shouldn’t take something horrific to make you realize what your actions can do to others, but I am glad that I have realized how to better myself and to retire ‘Fisty-Cuff Katie’. One of my best friends Jeff asked me that day if Sidney did anything special for me to celebrate and for me it wasn’t about him doing anything special for me (we did check something off of my 28×28 list!) it was spending time with him. My response to him was ‘I was just happy to be here’ (and with all things working, not like a floppy fish mind you). To be able to spend time with Sidney, my family, and friends, that was special for me. Before May, I had been caught up in the hustle and bustle of work. Work was my life and I had been proud to say that.
When I lived in Toronto I was introduced to a song that I must have played on repeat since May. I was introduced to it from one of my good friends Patrick Tomasso, who is one of those people who knows just what to say at just the right time. When he initially sent me the song, I was living in downtown Toronto and trying to get a job in advertising. I was wanting things to happen in life and not wanting to take the time to let them get there. I was seeking his advice and in return he sent this to me, along with words of wisdom. This song however has always stood out. He has a particularly amazing ear for music and knowing which lyrics are appropriate and will resonate with whichever situation you encounter. It is a talent that can’t be taught. This song again resonated with me in May on many levels as you can imagine. Here is the song below. It is called “It’s Only Life” by The Shins.
I don’t know if I am ready to say that I am glad that I was paralyzed on the left side of my body, however, it did teach me things that I needed to realize about myself and recognize things that were happening in my life. I am happy to know the things I know now and make the changes that I can to do better. Happiness doesn’t seem as far off as I once thought or felt in my dreams. 27 hasn’t been too bad so either.