Today Is My Birthday, and to Celebrate, I Am Reclaiming My Time

7 Jun

Today is my birthday, and I have a confession to make: I’m not 100% sure of how old I am.

No, that’s not some Peter Pan–ish form of denial. And it’s not an indication that I’m so old I’ve started to forget basic things.

It’s just that, over the last year or so, I’ve had to remind myself multiple times of what year it was and how old I was. Really.

We all experienced that to some degree over the last 16 months or so, didn’t we? The pandemic year warped our sense of time, causing days to blend into each other, and leading us to forget just when we were experiencing things, or when we had experienced them. Things we thought we did “this year” were actually done “last year.” Many predictable or scheduled events were either postponed or canceled outright. And a few milestones that should have been a bigger deal took place during the pandemic without as much as a whimper, leading some to think they didn’t even happen.

Birthdays, for example. I know I had one in 2020, but since the celebration was so muted (by necessity, and because of everything else that was happening around that time), did I really turn another year older?

Apparently, I did, because 12 whole months have passed since I turned 46. So I guess that means I’m turning 47 years old today.

It’s a new year

Thankfully, things are very different this year. The pandemic isn’t fully in the rear-view mirror yet, but it’s getting there. I’m now fully vaccinated, so I’m able to go places and do things and see people comfortably again. I’m no longer filled with conflicting thoughts and anxiety about what’s safe to do and what’s not safe to do.

During my year at home by myself, I spent many hours just passing time. Killing time, if you will. Working longer days because there was nothing else to do. Sleeping late on weekends because there was no rush to get up before 10 a.m. Going on random drives on Saturday or Sunday afternoons just to do something other than sitting around the house. Watching a lot of YouTube videos. Really, I just wanted the pandemic to be over and for things to go back to how they were.

Consequently, there was very little balance in my life. While there are definitely advantages to living solo, I’ve always appreciated having the option of not being on my own. The ability to switch off at the end of the day and not be at work. To go out. To simply do things, with (or without) other people. The pandemic took all of that away, things were all out of whack, and my balance was way off. I definitely felt it.

And so, as I turn yet another year older, and things continue to return to some degree of normal (however we’re defining it), I’m reclaiming my time, as Maxine Waters would say.

I’m taking back those hours in the day, those days of the week, when I was working later and/or procrastinating, and just letting time pass because I had no other option. The pandemic was greedy. Suffice it to say, there is a lot of time to make up for.

That reclaimed time is my gift to myself.

Thanks to the vaccines, I’m able to do things, with people, again, so I’m going to do that. I’m going to do a lot of that. I’m going to focus more on what brings me joy and what makes me happy. I’m going to re-prioritize balance — and by extension, my mental well-being. In some cases, it’s going to take some effort, but it’s going to be worth it. Actually, I’ve already gotten a head start on it, and I already feel much better.

I’m looking forward to a more fun and more productive next 12 months. I want each day to matter. That’s why, as I celebrate another birthday, the best gift I can give myself is time.

I don’t want to lose track of it again, like I did this past year.

Happy birthday to me!

3 Responses to “Today Is My Birthday, and to Celebrate, I Am Reclaiming My Time”

  1. Katie June 7, 2021 at 9:25 am #

    Happy Birthday Martin!


  1. In the End, 2021 Was Like a Bridge to Nowhere | Martin's Musings - December 31, 2021

    […] (and elsewhere) were lifted around Memorial Day Weekend, and in early summer, I started to reclaim some of the time I was spending inside, by myself, working. I saw family and friends offline, I traveled to […]

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