“What’d you do over your birthday?” “Just hung out with the wife. Did what I wanted to do all weekend, basically.” “That’s great. Our birthdays are the only day where we can be autonomous and really celebrate ourselves. The rest of the year, we’ve gotta give our autonomy over to others.” “I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but you’re right.” This essay publishes on my birthday; what will I do on this day?
I’m not sure.
Whether I stay in and do almost nothing, other than read, write, and row, or go into the city, add some new experiences into my cabinets of curiosities depends completely on my whims on this day. I’ll prepare the options either way by taking care of myself the week before and getting a good night’s rest. If previous years have been a trend, then I’d stay in, read stuff from my favorite writers, and generally have the day completely to myself.
Why the self-centeredness?
Years ago, I went into work on my birthday. I had a caller that was really mad over something trivial. It shook me to my core. It was absurd and yet I could not escape that overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. It’s not like I’m some egotist that wants my birthday to be all about me. I guess I just had wanted minimal perturbation.
Which is why I’d always stay home.
I haven’t been into the city in a few months now. I don’t really buy or collect things much anymore so the appeal of going to a store to buy things outside of necessity seems needless. I passed by a closed Kmart today that I used to browse through. We’d get pizzas there and then it slowly turned into a museum of 90s culture. Exploring the outsides of a building like that or its nearby thrift store would have excited me years ago.
Now, I might just want to explore.
There are parts of the city I love and others I dread. There are experiences there I cannot get at home. I’m on a stricter diet so while I could be a glutton, what would I eat? There are many places in the International District and uptown I like, along with other places with friends, and still more options at home I enjoy.
This is where I plan my goals in the next year:
I still have a massive amount of work to do if I want to downsize to a one-bedroom apartment. I want to do this because it’s still easy for me to pick away at possessions I don’t care about that I can donate or figure on selling. Once those decisions are difficult, then I’ll know what my comfortable square inch rent can be, and I know I have inches and pounds to shed.
I want to write more fiction.
This will require stripping away all these nonessential projects that stand in my way. These essays about downsizing and selling must continue as extensions of my writings more directly about self-confidence years ago because there is nothing to life but understanding our relationship to our self-confidence.
I want to still be working.
I don’t think my own writing will allow me to independently finance my living arrangements, health insurance, and afford me enough for a leisurely lifestyle in the next year. My aim is to work within this company, no matter the number of years, until my writing skill becomes financially successful. I have years of practice to go still.
I would like to earn something from writing in 2019-2020.
I’ve sent out some feelers over the past few years but nothing solid yet. I might offer my services somewhere, maybe not, I’m not sure. As long as my mind is distracted over downsizing, while balancing a professional work with a lifestyle that provides me enough time to read and write daily, it’ll be tricky. I know that by burning less time, energy, and money buying junk, I can invest more into my writing.
I want more life experiences, too.
I still go out to concerts and explore parts unknown to me, but I just write about them less as a foreground kind of experience. I wasn’t really good at writing reviews like those, anyways, but I would like to start getting out more frequently.
The apartment-mansion is in a good spot for that.
I am close enough to everything where I don’t have to write this at the library or somewhere while waiting for a friend. I can write this resting in my living room to the sound of my dryer laundering the remainder of a clothing wash cycle. There’s a nice sense of satisfaction knowing that even on days like these, where I ran some errands or days where I work, I have been able to carve out hours per day for autonomy.
What will the next year have in store?
I think the more we plan for our futures the more likely we can attain what we want. I write frequently about wanting to be a writer, which influences my decisions. If something doesn’t yield any sort of experience writing about, was it a waste? I went to the grocery store today to buy some things for me to consume between the time I wrote this and you read this. Nothing exciting happened. I parked my car, it was warm, I walked inside, I collected the items I wished to purchase, and I paid through the self check-out without holding a conversation with anyone.
Is this an aspect of my lifestyle I’d like to change?
Would I want to experience more social situations? If I were a socialite, I would either want to work on my birthday or go into the city to have conversations with strangers. I do enjoy these experiences, but I don’t actively seek them out.
Maybe I will, going forward?
Maybe I won’t?
Maybe I’ll decide that I’m good enough at what I’m doing to hold steady?
|Quotes: [1,2] A conversation between myself and a coworker about birthdays.|
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: I wanted to save the thing that published on my birthday for something that related to that. As a fun footnote, after I wrapped up this essay and photo, I received a text about going out on an adventure including mini-golf so I am capable of spontaneity and socialization.|
|Related: Last year’s “birthday” thing was “Purpose of Birthdays” as a sort of exploration of characters from “The Story.” Next year, I’ll probably do another essay closer to this one, where I define my goals more clearly.|
|Photo: The apartment-mansion from the perspective of where I was lounging, on the floor of the living room, looking at the dining room with a wide-angle lens showing my birthday gift, a quieter rower.|
|Written On: June 30th [41 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: August 3rd [Minor edits when digitypesetting, otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|