Dialogue of the Birthday Blues

What’s the matter, you ask, and why
With so much to love, do you want to cry?
As you’re still young with time to dream,
Life gives more to you than you need.


I will tell you what, I say,
Thirty-two’s two days away.
Two years more than three times ten,
Yikes, I’m older once again!

I worry yet that naught I’ve grown:
I have no family of my own,
I’m breaking every social rule,
And darn it all, I’m still in school!

So here I sit, bemoan my fate,
So many milestones, come too late
I should have been done years ago,
Instead I’m lost and rather slow.

I don’t know what I want to do
Once formal learning’s finally through,
Uncertainty cuts like a knife,
I’m not sure what to make of life.


Oh no, you say, and have no fear,
You needn’t agree with all you hear,
False expectations of a crowd
Who compare and judge … and talk too loud.

Why believe the things they say?
There’s nothing wrong with you, anyway.
Why hurry to fulfill a role
That’s not imprinted on your soul?


To heed such wise advice, I should,
If only I could claim some good.
Has come from all those years unfurled,
But I’ve changed nothing in this world.

Try to understand my gloom.
I rarely venture from my room,
And when I do, it’s such a mess,
A misadventure full of stress.

The trouble still remains for me,
That I take too long since I can’t see.
I’ve no accomplishment at which to point
My life appears so out of joint.

Or so say my friends who can’t disguise,
The fear in pity in their eyes.
How did I go oh so astray,
How could I have turned out this way?

They remind me I’m a Stanford grad,
And should not have it half this bad.
“Where’s the house, the job, the date?”
Protest my friends? “You’ll be too late!”


I’d question friendship of that kind,
I’d tell them so if I’d half the mind
But they’re not the ones who trouble me:
I care too much for you, you see?

Why listen to such knotted lies
They’ll seal your place with gilded ties
Just leave those should haves on the shelf
You are the author of yourself.

Too many values and ways to be,
Don’t foster authenticity.
So many making this mistake,
Turn from the chance to live awake.

Good enough, it can’t be bought,
Or given out as you’ve been taught.
Living well takes skill and art,
It’s not in tick marks on a chart.

Your worth is with you when you’re born,
So there is nothing here to mourn.
You are always where you need to be,
And share your light so brilliantly.


9 thoughts on “Dialogue of the Birthday Blues

    1. Well, no, and sort of. 🙂 Autonomy is a word used in philosophy all over the place, and it means self-governance. I’ve read quite a lot of philosophers who have interchanged self-authorship instead, and then argued for the meaning. I’ve found that a lot of ancient people say this about themselves too, we are the creators of our lives, we answer to ourselves. So it’s one of those ideas that is everywhere and belonging to no one in particular. Glad it spoke to you, it’s the truth!

  1. Gosh that is lovely Éilis, and very true, the part about being true to yourself, that is. I know you have concerns about still being a student, but isnt it a good tbing to be still learning and growing, when the rest of us have already given up or fallen by the wayside, or become sidetracked by life’s diversions? The measure of success does not really lie in what house you live in, or how many children you have. When I was 32 I had a good career but no relationship, few friends, I was desperately lonely and would have given up my career for a house filled with a family. I resigned myself to the fact that was ot to be my future. I accepted, let go, whatever you want to call it, and started to find some peace. Then all of a sudden I mst Conor, had my first child, moved house and country, gave up my career… who woukd have thought it? Not me! Like as soon as I decided not to hanker after what I couldnt have, I was given it all… and more. As you know, those things I was given have proved more challenging to deal with than feeling lonely or having a career. So e should be vareful what we wish for. But at least I have no regrets. That would be worse. So try not to put pressure on yourself about what you should have achieved. What he said to you is absolutely true. Oh, and Happy Birthday! Xxx

    1. Thank you Ali! Yes, he’s definitely right about that, 🙂 and really, it is worth the challenge of being my authentic self in this strange world we live in. I really need to keep in foreground everything I do have, all the gifts in life and what I have actually accomplished, like finishing my last dissertation chapter and starting to revise the project! 🙂 And then remember I’m always enough. Even when my manifest friends worry for me because I’m not following their trajectory and tell me just what they think about that. Strange how as soon as you let go of what you’re longing for, it happens, and usually more than that besides, as you shared? I can’t pretend to know why that is. Just curious, what career did you have at 32? I know what it’s like to be very isolated and lonely, I’m sorry you had to experience that too. It’s wonderful that you have no regrets. Sometimes I think I do have a few of them, but then I wonder what would come of all I love if my life had gone differently? I would not make the trade.

      1. Yes, I wouldnt want anything to be different. I even hesitate to say I wish Carys was ‘normal’ because then she wouldnt be who she is. I owe so much to that little girl. I never would have written my books or started this blog, although that is on a personal selfish level. The last few days with her have been a bit ‘challenging’, shall we say, lol. But she has defo taught me so much. So I would not make the trade either, except for her to not have to suffer, and to be able to enjoy some mobility and communication. Lol! Did I just back pedal???

        At 32 I was a store manager in London for Habitat. They were an interiors retailer started by designer Terence Conran. I loved working there. I loved the designer furniture. But I hated a lot of the people who shopped there. I got sick of selling dining tables costing £1000’s to people who didnt really need them, just so they could own the latest piece by their favourite designer, whilst elsewhere people were fighting wars, or children were dying of starvation. It was gross consumerism. When I got pregnant with Cai and decided to move to London, I was ready to leave.

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