Mid-life crisis.

People always talk about unconditional love, where you do something without expecting anything in return. So, am I bad person if I have high expectations?

I turn 35 in a couple of days, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. To me, it’s a mini milestone because I officially turn middle-aged i.e OLD. Who knows how many years I have left to live, but I now feel like I have no more excuses but to be a mature, all-knowing adult.

So can you imagine my disappointment when my nearest and dearest have no plans to celebrate me turning 35? To avoid sounding like a narcissist, perhaps I should give you some background facts and examples.

Family. My family conventionally celebrates by having a meal. My mum asked me a couple of weeks ago where I’d like to go. After some deliberation, I told her no need because she’s the one who always foots the bill, and there’s six of us, so the bill always comes up easily to two to three hundred dollars depending on where we go. Plus she’s no longer working, so she doesn’t get a fixed income anymore. I really meant it when I said no need after considering the circumstances, but it was the speed of her reply that got me feeling a tad hurt. Immediately, and I mean immediately without even a second’s pause, she replied “Ok then”. Wow. Was she praying that I’d say no in the first place? That really got me.

Friends. We have a small group of us, where we’d always celebrate each other’s birthdays with a lunch high tea session, or dinner. And we’d always plan weeks and months in advance. We asians have this thing where it’s preferable to celebrate birthdays before or on the actual day, but not after. It’s probably stemmed from one of those old wives tales, and these days we don’t really believe in it anymore, but still we try to avoid celebrating after. Plus, when your birthday has long passed, the celebratory mood isn’t quite there too. I’m the last person to celebrate in the year, so I waited and waited and no one said a thing. It was only because I think I made a passing remark (like wow how subtle can I be?), that my sister started planning. And because we missed this weekend due to short notice, we’re only doing it next weekend after my birthday is long over. I can’t help feeling a tad sour and bitter because for everyone else’s birthdays, more heart seems to have gone into planning, whereas mine is more like a on-the-way-by-the-way thing.

Then there’s X. Our birthdays fall in October then November. We usually just have a meal. For him, I wanted to buy him a meal, and I really don’t expect him to reciprocate because he’s actually not big on celebrations in general. Even for his birthday, we had to keep it low-key without any pomp or pageantry. But this time, he raised my expectations by telling me that we’d go out for a meal, so I was secretly looking forward and anticipating when he would ask me out. Then he dropped a bomb on me a couple of days ago. He suspects he has some health issues and put himself on an extremely rigid food regime. He no longer eats out for all three meals, and his diet is also very restricted. Of course I didn’t kick up a fuss because health comes first. But I would have gladly accepted a simple home-cooked meal with him. Even if we had to dig up sweet potatoes and have them steamed for dinner, I’d gladly do so because his company is what matters most to me. Sometimes I’m not sure if he’s being dense on purpose. I mean, does he still not know what I want after all these years? I don’t even care if I don’t get to eat. Just give me a glass of water and I’d still be happy if I can see him.

So like I said, overall I am mighty disappointed. All these expectations I had just set me up feeling like a failure. I’m not sure why I’m still behaving slightly irrational like a kid, but I really can’t help but feel that I’ve been sidelined. Plus it didn’t help that while I was out having drinks yesterday, there was another girl celebrating her 35th as well. She had massive balloons, her friends and her poured out from this rocking party van, and they looked like they were going to conquer the world in their shiny party clothes and heels. While I spent the weekend before my birthday sitting at home in my pjs moping. Oh god. I really sound like some big, fat, sore loser. One lesson that I should always remind myself of is that, the higher I hope, the harder I might fall. Should have this tattooed onto my forehead or something.


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