Thursday, January 28, 2010

Birthdays

So usually I get really excited about my birthday. I issue people with gift lists, I plan my own special dinner at a fancy restaurant, and I look forward to the event for many weeks prior (count downs have been known to occur).

Not this year.

You see, this year I am turning 34.

Up until this week I had been too busy to really think about it, but it dawned on me as I was sitting on the bus yesterday morning that 34 is just one birthday from 35. 35 for me is a bit of a milestone age. I had such dreams when I was younger and I thought I would have achieved an awful lot by the time I reached this age. Boxes to tick, so to speak. I thought I'd be married with a family and a fulfilling career. I thought I'd have my own house, a dog, a hobby and be involved in my community. I'd travel, write books in my spare time and have a holiday house somewhere.

Of that list:

* I am married (yay for a tick!)
* No kids
* No fulfilling career. I have a job but it's not really what I want to do long term. In fact, I'm fairly certain it's killing me. Slowly.
* Our house is waiting to be knocked down. Well, I am waiting, at any rate. A long time. A new house is two years away at best guess
* No dog, but two fab cats (who both play fetch which is dog-like) so I am calling that a tick
* No hobbies unless you count shopping and eating, which I don't because one is destructive for my bank balance, the other for my waistline.
* I am not involved in the community at all (revert to point three - the commute from the house I hate to the job I loathe means I have almost no spare time during the week and weekends are spent shopping and eating).
* We do travel a fair amount - usually 2-3 trips a year, so that's a tick
* No book. Not even a chapter. Fail.
* Shit - I don't even have one house let alone two...

Let's tally up the results people: three ticks. Three measly ticks out of ten things. I'm married, I have dog-like cats and I travel. Occasionally.

Wow. When I think about it like that it makes me a little bit sad. I wonder that if I haven't achieved more of the above, it's because I have been wasting my time on things that really don't matter.

The struggle with my birthday and age and things accomplished thus far links to a bigger issue for me which I have been grappling with over the last few months - my mini-mid-life-crisis, for want of a better name.

I hate my job and have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. For me, 34 is grown up. I should have decided by now (or at least be doing something I like). Not only that, I should be well down the road of achieving my goals and aspirations. But I am not - I am stuck in a job where people really don't appreciate me. My talents, such as they are, are being wasted. I feel like I have spent 2009 treading water. Our year was consumed by our desire to try and have a baby, Mr Kitty's incremental changes to our house plans that are still not finished and me sticking it out at a job I can't stand because I don't know what it is I do want to do.

Well, no more people.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself and spending 20Ten repeating 2009 (which could so easily happen), I have decided to make a few changes in my life.

Stay tuned for announcements. Although decisions have been made, it's still to early to post specifics, but in general terms I am going to start putting myself first. Not some company, not other people, me. For a change. I am going to do things that make me happy. And I am going to get a goddamn hobby!

As a wise friend said to em this morning - sometimes you just have to have the courage to step off the cliff and hope that there is something better for you at the bottom.

Let's see how much more I have ticked off my list when I actually turn 35. Despite whatever the Chinese say about it being the Year of the Tiger, 20Ten is going to be the year of the Kitty!

Oh, and for those who are interested, I have tried to get a bit more excited about my actual birthday next week. We've booked dinner at a nice restaurant and Mr Kitty has been buying up a storm. Stay tuned.

Kitty

10 comments:

cclarebear said...

that's what happiness is - it's a balance between making yourself happy & helping others. you have #2 worked out, just need to get started on #1.

big hugs. but i already think you're amazing :)

oh, and happy birthday!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Thanks lovely! My birthday is next week so I have a jump start on the celebrations.

I think we all have reflective times in our life. I am done with reflecting, I know the steps I have to take, it's all about the action now!

amy said...

Hooray for putting one's self first and not feeling down in the dumps!

For what it’s worth, I think you are being pretty hard on yourself in assessing your achievements to date. My old grandpa used to say that ‘circumstances alter cases’ and I think it’s an apt statement. The goals you set for yourself when you were younger didn’t take into account the sorts of things that would come your way in the years ahead and it’s not fair to compare where you are now to where you once thought you’d be without factoring in all the other flotsam and jetsam in between ( - in law we have a lovely term for it: ‘the vicissitudes of life’!).

Also, I was only writing to my god-daughter the other day on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, exclaiming on her being so grown up whilst lamenting on my impending fourth decade. I told her that at 16, thirties seemed so old and grown up – but now that I’m there it’s not quite like I imagined. I may have a lot more life experience and responsibilities these days, but it certainly doesn’t mean that I should be settled for life by this stage, with nothing else to change or strive to achieve. There’s so much more ahead!

Kitty, chin up about the checklist! Things might not be the way you once pictured, but that would be pretty boring if life went entirely to plan and if you didn’t have any challenges or new adventures ahead of you. I know we have only known each other for a relatively short time and I’m perhaps not qualified to say, but I think you have a lot to be proud of – not least of which is the ability to realise you have been in a bit of a rut and the courage to make changes to your life and step out of your comfort zone. Your friend is very wise indeed, and you’d do well to follow her advice.

Good luck with your exciting adventures, whatever they might be, and I can’t wait to read about them in your great blog (or perhaps natter about them over a glass of wine or a coffee soon?).

Xx

PS, do tell about the birthday celebrations!!!!

Elise said...

Youve been writing on this blog - I think you deserve an extra tick!

blondie said...

Yes Kitty - blogging can be a hobby, definitely an extra tick there :)

Not Quite Nigella said...

I know how you feel, I went through the same and even though I didn't have a list, I made a big change in my life. Quality of life is very important. Best of luck and I hope you have a marvellous birthday! :)

WayneandFarrah said...

Great post and much inspiring...I definitely feel like I'm heading in the wrong career path but need to push myself.
I wish you all the best, and Happy Birthday!!!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Thanks everyone. I am trying to be all "silver lining" about the situation and work it to my advantage. I have some great skills and a blank slate in front of me. In some ways it's very exciting. In others, daunting.

I think the issue for me is not that I haven't done everything on the list. It was always aspirational. For me, the list was the catalyst. It showed me that I wasn't where I wanted to be. And that I needed to make change in my life to make myself happy.

Amy, I'm off to Burlington Bar and Grill for the Birthday, but we are going next Saturday night. The menu looks fabulous and the reviews have been very good (and it's northside which appeals immensely).

Elise and Lauren - good call. Four ticks and counting!

NQN - thanks for the kind words! I'm definitely looking forward to a fab 20Ten with lots of wonderful changes.

And Farrah - I don't think what we are feeling is not all that uncommon. All I can say is try to find something you are passionate about. That's what I hope to do!

Kitty xx

Esta said...

Aw Kitty if its any consolation I just turned 33 and haven't done any of the stuff I had planned to do by the time I turned 25! I had a little breakdown at 25 and then went "oh F**k it!".

Coincidently I feel that 33 is a very mature age but that I am not worthy of the age because I don't act the way I imagine a 33 years old acts! Does that make any sense?

One good thing is that I'm having way more now at 33 that I ever did at 23! Hope you have a special b'day.

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Thanks Esta. I think you are right. I had a long list of stuff that I wanted to do by the time I was 25 as well and looking back on the list it was all either pointless or things I wouldn't want to do now anyway. I'm going to focus on the important stuff this year - like making myself happy!