I celebrated another trip around the sun last Thursday. It was an odd day. I‘ve been battling a nasty bout of depression for a while but was determined to at least get out of my apartment and experience the open air and day. I intentionally worked my butt off earlier in the week to have this day off just for me.
I treated myself to a slice of gluten-free carrot cake (my absolute favorite cake). If you’re wondering, I have Celiac disease so everything has to be gluten free.
Anyway, I bought my carrot cake and went to one of my favorite coffee/tea cafés that sits on Lake Austin to enjoy it.
The café is a very popular place with limited up-close parking. There are rarely parking spaces available in their lot. You have to park up a steep hill where there’s ample parking. Regardless, every time I go to this place I cruise the close lot just in case something is open—it’s always in vain. As I pulled into the lot this time, I said, “Please let there be a spot for me in this lot.” I really wasn’t feeling all that physically strong after having walked up the “easy” side of Mount Bonnell that morning to view my birthday sunrise.
I entered the lot, and as I was coming to the end of the lot before I would have to turn around and park up Mt. Kilimanjaro, one little space was waiting for me! It wasn’t on the far side of the lot; it was right up against the sidewalk leading to the café! Score!!
The next request was that one of my two favorite seats be open in the lower half of their outdoor seating area. I snagged a tea and wandered downstairs. Yep, both seats were open. I opted for the covered one since no one was sitting near it.
I sat and wrote for a while. I’ve returned to random personal writing just to clear my head of crap most people around me do not want to hear. Some of you dear readers get to see some of it. Heh!
So I sat for a while then left to run a few errands. Received a handful of text-message birthday greetings. What happened to people picking up the phone to call? Whatever. Well, at least mom, dad, and my sister called me.
The evening ended with me doing laundry and troubleshooting Internet issues at home. Exciting, huh?
I drifted in and out of my bummed state all day. It was one of the first birthdays in a long time that I didn’t have any kind of gathering with friends/family. Illness has taken a lot from me including many people I considered close friends for years. One of those friends has invited me for dinner next week to celebrate. We go way back to high school, 10th grade to be exact. She is one of the remaining diehard friends still around and I love her and her family to bits!
A lot of people just don’t know what to do with me. I no longer drink alcohol (I still crave it like a mad woman at times), I’m a lot slower than I used to be thanks to myasthenia gravis and lupus so I can’t keep up with people who want to do a lot of walking or hanging out that involves a lot of standing around. I also tire easily so it’s difficult to stay up until the wee hours chit chatting about whatever like I used to.
I started reminiscing about some of my favorite birthdays. Birthday #18, I went with a friend to what would become one of my favorite music hangouts — the world-famous home of the blues, Antone’s. I found out that evening the founder Clifford Antone, may he rest in peace, had a birthday a few days before me. As the years rolled by, he would address me with “Hello my Scorpio sister” and give me a big bear hug at the front door of the venue when I would drop in.
Birthday #29 I partied like a goddess rock star in Brussels, Belgium with friends. What happens in Brussels stays in Brussels.
Birthday #38 I had a large gathering at my place. I was living in a much larger space at the time. I threw a birthday/Halloween party and invited 50 people. Only four or five couldn’t attend. We partied until the wee hours. I still had a few guests left over for breakfast the next morning. No, I didn’t eat them. I did cook for them, though.
Birthday #40 I went skydiving for the first time. Mind. Blown. Awesomeness! I had a very small gathering of family/friends at my much smaller space (the place where I currently live). A couple of months prior to this birthday I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. I was quite weak, and never should’ve attempted skydiving, but at the time, I really didn’t care. I was only going to turn 40 once and I really didn’t know at the time if I’d see another birthday given how my health was going downhill. My neurologist didn’t know I did it until after the fact. Poor man’s eyes nearly popped out of his head! Obviously, I broke a skydiving rule by not telling the instructor about my illness. I knew they would never let me go up even though it was a tandem jump. I felt okay that morning when I got to the place. No one knows it except yours truly and you all reading this that my leg muscles didn’t want to engage when it came to the landing. The instructor on my back and the guy filming on the ground kept yelling at me to raise my legs for landing. They just didn’t want to work. I truly didn’t know that I had three seconds to impact to get my legs up. That almighty unseen force lifted my legs and held them in the nick of time. The instructor and the film guy hugged me so hard after that I could barely breathe! When they told me how close I was at the moment my legs went up, I couldn’t believe it either. I think that realization gave me the same adrenaline rush experienced once the cold air hit my face upon leaving the plane.
I’m a bit more stable now and, God willing, I’ll be in remission if I’m still around for my 50th birthday, which is when I plan to jump out of another perfectly good plane.
Those memories made me happy for a bit then I went back into that dark place of isolation wondering what will happen during this next year of life. New friends? New love? New healthy body? Who knows? At least I was able to have some carrot cake. It’s not a birthday without it!