Owning Your Birthday When You’re Alone

In about eight hours, something different will happen.

Not completely different, just different.

For the first time in 20 years, I’ll be alone on my birthday. I have a ritual where I wake up and yell, “It’s my birfday! It’s myyyy birfday!” and then I break into song. Thank goodness the neighbours have moved out.
But no one will smile and say, “Yes, it is,” and then serve me breakfast in bed. And then lunch. And make me dinner. My birthday’s tend to revolve around food. I won’t go to Hecla or Hnausa dock for a photoshoot. Or do a scavenger hunt around the house or mall – which, honestly, I found stressful. If I owned last year’s birthday, I’m grasping this year’s like a cuddly teddy bear.

But some things don’t change.

Murray, my soon-to-be-former husband, dropped by on Monday night. “Ex” sounds ugly. Murray slid a box and two grocery bags into my fridge, and he said not to open them until my birthday. If it’s not food, that’s super mean.

For Murray’s birthday, he was really sick. Plus, he was alone – which he said was lonely and scary. I had his favourite burger delivered, which he said made his day a little brighter.

I think Murray’s worried about me. When, honestly, I’ll be okay. I am okay. Yes, I had a couple rough months. And the people who I thought would support me haven’t. And – with the exception of one day last month – I’m in a better mindset.
Back to Monday night. We had Murray’s famous pizza for dinner. He made another one for my birthday. Over tea and coffee, Murray and I discussed our relationship. Though we want to stay in each other’s lives, we agree when/if the other finds someone else, that could be difficult. I’ve already offered to be the third-wheel. I named his future girlfriend Saffron, and he named my future boyfriend Stroganoff. Then I threatened to make him a Tinder profile.

I want Murray to move on, and he wants the same for me. But I like being alone. I love my solitude. I wish more people would realize they don’t need a significant other to feel complete. If there is a next one, they’ll have to be amazingly, fantastically, magnificently awesome. Because I’m clinging onto my singlehood, discovering who I am again.

Yes, tomorrow will be different. I won’t wake my husband up, yelling. I won’t have an ongoing bed-service of food. I’ll be taking my own birthday photo.

However, if I survived Christmas and Valentine’s Day alone, my birthday will be a piece of cake.

And pizza!

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