So, this is what 35 looks like. Not a whole lot different from 34, I must say. Or 33. Or, hell, even 32.
I guess when it comes to birthdays, the more you have, the less traumatic they are. Though ask me again five years from now when I turn that nasty number that comes after 39.
Okay, so I'm 35. Now what?
Well, let's see what's currently hot in the world of pop culture, shall we?
Let's see...the #1 song in the nation is...
Nope...never heard of this song before. And, honestly, I don't think I'd want to hear it again. No offense to Desiigner and all of the rapper's fans...but this song just isn't my cup of tea.
Maybe I'll have better luck with the #1 film at the box office...
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Ah, what a surprise. Another superhero film. I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that May is the month of the summer superhero blockbuster. I think a superhero film has been #1 on my birthday the last ten years or so.
And, the top television program of the year? Well...we don't know that yet. The 2016-2017 season doesn't begin until September. But, I imagine it'll be some reality show like "The Bachelor" or "Dancing With The Stars" or "The Voice" or something similar.
So, this is what 35 looks like. I keep trying to not think about the fact that this is the halfway point to 70. Heck, I'm already finding it hard to believe that 40 is not too far away!
But you know...thirty-five is shaping up to be a year that is unlike any other.
For one, it'll be my first full year as a homeowner. Has it been a chore some days? Absolutely. I've still got some work to do on the inside of the house, I have to eventually replace half of my roof, and I cringe every time I open up my electricity bill.
THANKS, KATHLEEN WYNNE!
But you know what? Compared to where I was a year ago, I wouldn't change this experience for anything. I love my home, and I am still pinching myself, not quite believing that it actually happened. After going through a childhood where I was bounced around from house to house for various reasons, it's good to have a permanent spot to chill. I still never forgot the time when I was five years old, and my family was forced to move out of the place we called home because a land developer had planned to build a mini mall where we lived. Several families lost their homes to "progress". Instead, what sits there is an empty spot. My childhood home was a paradise. And like the Joni Mitchell song stated, they paved it over to put up a parking lot. And for years after that fact, I wondered if I would ever have a place where I could call home - and a place that nobody could ever take away from me again.
But now...I have a place of my very own that I can do whatever I want in. I could even dance around in my underwear if I wanted to.
Not that I actually DO...it's just nice to have that option.
So, that is one thing that I can officially cross off that bucket list. I now have a home.
And as of right now, that's fine.
It's hard to believe that the vast majority of my classmates have settled down and started families already. I know some of them have as many as three kids, and a couple are on their second spouses. That's fine and dandy, and I genuinely pleased that they have found what they are looking for.
But one thing I've had to deal with in life is the fact that everyone is living their life at fast-forward, while I keep experiencing the "Be Kind, Rewind" syndrome. It's like my classmates are Blu-Ray players, and here I am living the Betamax kind of life.
But I've always struggled with social issues. I know for a fact that I have some form of social anxiety that keeps me from getting to know people because I'm afraid I'll do something that offends them, or I'll do something that makes them be mean to me. I suppose that's why it took me two whole years to even so much as open up to anybody at the store I work at.
(That's no lie. Just ask any of my co-workers who were around in 2005.)
I guess my goal for 35 is to try and overcome that social anxiety, as well as find out the real reasons behind why I appear to be so quirky to other people. But, I fear that it might not be that easy.
I've debated on how I wanted to write this down. To be honest with you, I feel ridiculous expressing something about myself that I don't even know if there is truth to it in the first place. But I've always wanted to be completely honest here in this blog, and I know that while not everybody reads this space, I definitely want to make a few things clear.
I know that since I've been young, my brain has been wired completely different from how a "normal" brain should work. And, I know that there have been times in which I've appreciated it, but there are times in which I wanted someone else's brain.
On one hand, when it comes to how I process information, I don't seem to have a problem with that. I have a very good long term memory (which helps in writing this blog, let me tell you). I always did well in school when it came down to academics, and I probably have more useless knowledge in my brain than anyone else in the world. I'd make a great contestant on "Jeopardy"...well, if that quiz show would actually accept Canadians again. And, I feel this about that decision...
But on the other hand, I have a hard time cultivating relationships and friendships. I'm getting a little better at it, but I know I come across as extremely socially awkward to a lot of people. And while I'm glad that the people in my life don't see it too much of a big deal...it wasn't always the case.
It's also why I have very few friends who are my own age. I always felt like I was competing with them or comparing myself to them, and I wondered why they found life so easy and carefree, while I had difficulties of my own. It really hurt my feelings when my classmates would pretend to be my friend so I would help them with their homework, only for them to ignore me when it came time for recess. It almost made it seem like the only reason people bothered with me at all was so they could get better grades in school. It never really dawned on them that they were being incredibly selfish, and that I had feelings.
I mean, I get that was a personality flaw that they had to deal with. But it didn't make it any easier. My entire life up until now has always been a "Me vs. The World" mentality. I felt ganged up on because I didn't feel like I could measure up to everyone else. I didn't feel like I was normal because everyone else made it a point to make it so.
I know in my heart that I do deserve to be happy. I know that I have just as much right to hold down a job as anyone else (and I have for eleven years and counting). I have as much right to have friends - and when I say friends, I mean friends who will be there for you all the time - not just when they need help spelling a word or two or 676. And, yeah...I know I've said before that I have no interest in finding a romantic partner, or getting married, or having children...
...but I'm lying to myself. And you know what? I do have the right to have all those things if I want them.
But I am not going to lie here. I know my brain, personality, and even physical appearance is not like everyone else's...and that's fine. What a boring world this would be if we were all the same. But I just wish that my quirks in personality didn't result in me feeling badly about myself for feeling like I don't measure up, or that I wouldn't make a great partner for someone. More importantly, I wish my quirks attracted people instead of repelled them because they are things that I cannot change.
And I don't feel as though I have to because if I do, I wouldn't be true to myself. And that to me is a greater sin than having someone else try to change me.
I honestly don't know why I am the way I am. I could just be built that way. I could be as stubborn as my starsign of Taurus and not change for anyone. It could even be something deeper such as having some part of my brain not being able to deal with social situations that well. It could require treatment for social anxiety. For all I know, I could even be on the autism spectrum and not have even known it. None of that matters though.
The fact is that I am a human being, and I deserve to be given the same love, respect, and kindness that anybody else in this world needs to have.
So, I guess my goal for 35 is to just accept the fact that when it comes to making connections and understanding my social awkwardness, I'm going to have many more barriers than other people. But I'm not saying this as a way to push anyone away or to get sympathy. I just want everyone to know that this is who I am...and if I let you into my life, just know that I think you're incredibly special, and that you're someone that I genuinely want in it.
It's not easy for me to say it in words...but it's much easier to write it.