The Lifespan of A Single Perception

by Dima

Recently I came across an article about birthdays and the first line reads like this: “It’s a day that’s all about you – it’s your birthday!”

A tradition celebrated by the whole crust of humanity. A 24-hour interval of time when we feel that our mistakes are forgotten, neglected friendships suddenly flourish, and a spray of abrupt love becomes a ladder to heaven.

With the ability to lose ourselves in the sea of time, we also lose our purpose – to feel good; not just on those allotted chunks of time but with every breath of life.

I’ve wasted countless days in frantic preparation for birthdays celebrated with people who were entirely indifferent to my existence, and whom on the day I’d cram like sardines in my mother’s 90sqm communist-era flat. And it took just a few hours to know that my time was up. The clunk of empty glasses and half eaten cake were nothing more but a reminder that I’m no longer special. A feeling I sank into for the most part of my life.

My parents, who saw their three-year marriage as a short-lived failure with heavy consequences, viewed birthdays as an opportunity to wipe off the guilt for having made an irreparable mistake. Fifty shades of Mickey Mouse and the Pink Panther were furnishing my room for many years until I had the strength to detach myself from the despair that was haunting me as a child.

As children, we are convinced that being-special-feeling comes once a year. This opens up new avenues where manipulation and exchange become unconscious choices. “Do what I say and you will get what you want,” these sorts of things.

We are brought up to believe that worthiness comes at a cost and the sense of it is a crucial barometer when we shape ourselves as grown-ups. Some obtain it through education and degrees, others see an escape in high-end jobs that pay fat monthly cheques, but irrespective of how we see it, it is always there.

Naturally, at the age of thirty-six, I see the world from a different and, perhaps, more reasonable and comforting standpoint. I finally tore away part of my old self.

I lived too long in a country where culture and tradition blend with social structure and status, and the question that keeps hanging insecurely as if waiting to be torn down, is who are we if we are stripped off of all this “prestige”? I look deeper and I find the scared little girl in me, still there, hiding from the world, as vulnerable as I remember her, full of dreams and love, of capturing the world with a blink of an eye. She has no past and shaping a future is a distant falling leaf.

This little person intuitively accepts that worthiness is not a knot of rules and requirements. She doesn’t recognise this futile existence and she wants to live fully.

I now learn to acknowledge the little portions of happiness in my day-to-day life. I no longer need my birthday to know that I’m unique individual in search of my own path in life. There is no one like me, there is no one like anyone else, ever.