thirty-five next week

I’m going to be thirty-five next week. My real birthday is coming up soon. It’s not something I like to celebrate. I never really did. I grew up with a very lax attitude towards birthdays. When I was a kid, my parents and siblings would just gather, order a pizza (the celebrant chooses and we’d get an extra cheese pizza for my Mom) and just gather around the table and eat and anyone who bought a gift for the celebrant would present it then. That person would either get extra ribbing or be treated with much affection (depending on the celebrant) and that was it.

a photo from my thirty-third birthday party two years ago, courtesy of the wonderful Cez Golez

a photo from my thirty-third birthday party two years ago, courtesy of the wonderful Cez Golez

And I had grown up thinking that was all there was to birthdays. After all, I didn’t see the whole big deal. So I was born. I didn’t have anything to do with that. It’s all science, really. My Mom did all the hard work, if you want to think about it. I failed, most of my life, to see the significance of that day. It’s what you do after that matters, right? That’s what I thought, growing up.

So, when I started having friends; that’s the only time I started to realise that it meant a lot to people. I’ve had so much fun putting up surprise parties for my friends (or attend their birthday parties if they beat us to it) because I saw how important it was to them. If I had the money at the time, I’d buy a gift and would spend weeks and weeks trying to figure out the best gift to give.

Now, it’s my fifth birthday after my HIV diagnosis. Having almost died twice already, it’s really a wonder that I am going to see yet another birthday. Next week, I’m turning thirty-five. I waited my whole life to get to my thirties and now that I am in my mid-thirties; it’s one of the few things in my youth that I was right about. The thirties really are the best age to be.

And I heard that the forties are going to be even better.

I was in Bacolod recently and I was reading my old journals. I used to write down all the events and my thoughts and feelings from the year 2000 all the way to 2004. I wrote it all down. Sometimes, logging in twice a day, if the day was particularly eventful. Every time I read my old journals; I’d be so angry at my younger self. I was such a fool. I was such a stupid idiot.

The more I read it, the more I find myself quite pathetic and disgusting. This particular time had been brutal. I seemed even more low and immature on this reading than I did when I read it last year. I hope that means I’m growing and growing as a person. I really can’t believe that person grew up to be the person I am today. That’s a good thing, right? I’ve grown in leaps and bounds.

I’m still growing up. I’m still growing. That’s a good thing. Next week, it will be my birthday. Advanced happy birthday to me.

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