I turned 38 last week, and it was not my favorite day.
It was pretty much like most other days (morning routine, busy work day, kids, dinner, etc) other than a very thoughtful gift from my hubby. I hadn’t wanted to make a big deal, nor had I requested anything special, and that ended up setting the tone for the day.
As the day went on, and more people said “Happy Birthday!” and asked how I was celebrating, I responded over and over with an answer of, “Thanks! I’m not really doing anything.” I became more sad and cranky.
Then I inevitably visited one of the most self-indulging and unrewarding places to be: The “Poor Me Club”.
Why wasn’t I doing anything special that night? Why wasn’t I going out to an awesome dinner, having a girl’s night out, or taking off to the mountains for some inner reflection? Why didn’t anyone do those special things for me? POOR ME.
Joining the “Poor Me Club” often serves us in the moment, and it’s easy to get in. (There is no membership fee, and unlimited whining is encouraged.) We are able to express how it’s not our fault, the world has dealt us a bad hand, and it is just so unfair that we are there. Finding other members of the “Poor Me Club” is even more validating. Then there are two of you to prove that things aren’t going your way, and that everyone is against you… and we are more at peace now that we are in a group of like minded poor me’s.
We’ve all been there, and it never ends well. Or it doesn’t end, and you hang out in the “Poor Me Club” for way too long. You stay there for hours, days, or weeks, accumulating an ongoing list of bad things that have happened to you and how you are always a victim.
Did I escape the club? YES. Was it hard? YES.
I was driving the kids home from school, and had my “Get over yourself” chat that is one of the only things that brings me out of the Poor Me Club.
“GET OVER YOURSELF. You own part of this situation and you know it. What part did you play in this situation? What can YOU do to change it and create a good birthday night for yourself?”
Answering those questions can suck. Admitting you have any role in your crappy situation hurts and is kind of depressing, but it is key. And it was true:
I hadn’t asked for or planned anything fun for my birthday, and I needed to own my part in the situation.
The minute I realized I had control over making the night something wonderful, I took the reins and did it. After dinner, I headed out to my favorite mesa hike to exercise and visit my favorite dog’s ashes. I walked my cranky-ass mood right out of me, and cursed out loud while I was doing it. I then came home and made a fire in the backyard, and shared a glass of wine with my hubby over some great conversation.
And you know what? My attitude shifted, the night ended on a good note, and I can now look at my 38th birthday as a pretty dang good day. The “Poor Me Club” did not win. I did.