There’s an understanding among my friends and family that when I utter the words ‘I’m on deadline’, they leave me alone. A few of my friends experience the same thing – we all have this deathly cut off date that if not reached, will be fatal. Or, that’s what we all think.
I recently celebrated a relationship milestone and it got me thinking about things like deadlines, achievements, anniversaries, birthdays. They’re all so different – in the way we approach them and feel about them.
I’m not sure if a couple approaching their 50th wedding anniversary celebrate because 50 is a nice big round number and that’s what you do. And I wonder if they approach that milestone with a sense of achievement or one of celebration. Do they, on that day, think ‘Shoowee, can’t believe we’re still together’, or is it more like, ‘Wow, I’m so blessed to still be with this person who I love more than anything in the world’? Is there a kind of New Year feeling on that day – a taking stock of what has gone before and a sense of urgency to do more to make the relationship ‘better’, perhaps more romantic, or more time spent together, or more lovemaking?
Birthdays are individual celebrations. They say ‘this is my day’. Your birthday is the day you first took a breath and uttered a sound. Your birthday is a day when you should celebrate the utter joyousness of being alive. You should be spoilt and revered. It’s not the number of years you’ve been alive that should be celebrated, because that just makes you feel a bit like you’re in a race (and perhaps that race is running out of road). You should merely celebrate the whole of yourself – who you are, why you are and what you are. And here – do you look back and think forward?
What about if you’ve been sober or drug-free for a year. What kind of celebration is that? Was the last year better for you? Are you looking forward to more and more years of that betterness? I’m pretty sure that AA and NA have worked all that out – the feeling of achievement and that you should focus on that. Addiction is a terrible thing, but do addicts really celebrate? I guess it’s like remembering the death of a loved one who you loved dearly, but was a bit abusive. So there’s relief and grief at the same time. How long do you have to take one day at a time until you can look back and simply say, ‘I’m clean and sober’? Or better still, say nothing at all.
Whatever date-imposed experience you are approaching right now, I hope you are able to put it into perspective and fully feel the positive that emerges or will emerge. I hope you can be in the moment and that it feels right. If the moment doesn’t ring true, I guess some hard questions need to be answered – but that’s between you and you.