Today is my 35th birthday. I used to love my birthday. In fact, I would drag the celebration out over the week. This year is different, and I'm trying to figure out why.
Perhaps it is different because I am now forced to move up a dreaded "bubble age" category. I am now forced to check the 35 to 60 category. It is hard for me to comprehend that I am now part of the "middle age" range.
In many ways, I feel much older than 35. I have had more than 30 surgeries. I have survived cancer, and I am living and thriving with an amputation. All of these experiences have aged me. Not only physically, but mentally.
I look at life with an altered perspective. I'm not saying I no longer get stressed out by life's tribulations. I do have a repertoire of coping mechanisms to utilize when life gets hard. Surviving an illness and/or amputation can be empowering. I now know that, no matter what, I can not only survive any situation but I will be able to thrive. I recognize that there is a strength that has developed within me because of my experiences.
This being said, I find myself in a funk today. I never imagined I would be living my life as an amputee. But, I guess this isn't something anybody ever envisions. I am missing my leg today, but I am trying not to dwell on the loss.
I have a beautiful little boy, a wonderful husband, a loving family and a loyal group of friends. I am very lucky. I am stronger now, both physically and emotionally, than at any other time in my life.
Despite all of these blessings, I am feeling blue. I never wanted to be an amputee, but this is something over which I had very little control. Sometimes, this moment being one of them, it is cathartic to express my frustrations and anger over the situation. I miss my leg, and I am sad and angry!
My birthday present to myself this year is permission to feel and express these feelings. I know that moments like this are fleeting, and that I will return to embracing life and all of the joys it can bring. I also want to be true to myself, and that includes acknowledging these feelings when they arise.
I am excited to see what unfolds during the next 35 years, but I am realistic enough to know that I can't predict my future. I do know that I will always have the strength and fortitude to survive and to thrive. This I have already proven to myself. Happy Birthday to me...