Another Birthday, Another Emotional Meltdown

I turned 44 years old yesterday. Two days before my birthday, my husband told me this birthday was “big” because it was one where both numbers were exactly the same.


According to James, I was supposed to throw a big party to celebrate this milestone that won’t come again for another 11 years when I turn 55.


A big party? Two days before my birthday? Thanks for the advance notice, honey.


I don’t think so.


Instead, I am taking a week off from work. I need it. Lately, instead of running my life, my life is running me.


Over the last several months, I feel like a slave to my schedule. I’m always racing to meet appointments, deadlines and agendas. No sooner do I accomplish one thing (like cleaning up from dinner at 9 o’clock at night), then I realize I don’t have any clean Spanx to wear to work the next day.

As I proceed to do laundry at 10:00 p.m., I walk through my house and see stray cups, dirty clothes, and toys randomly strewn everywhere. I go to the bathroom for a “break”. I’m out of toilet paper…and lotion…and shampoo.




I’m going crazy.


Does life ever go perfectly according to plan?


Yes. And no.



Another Birthday, Another Emotional Meltdown


I had lunch on Friday with one of my best friends. I hadn’t seen her for a year. She, too is a harried mommy (of two toddlers under 3). Like me, she has a demanding career that has her running on empty ¾ of the time. Like me, she doesn’t feel as though she ever stops.


In the midst of both of us running, we got our wires crossed. She thought lunch was at 1:30. I thought it was at 1. In a rare turn of events, I actually arrived 15 minutes early. She arrived 15 minutes late (which really would have been perfect under normal circumstances because I am usually the one running late).


In any event, our mix-up meant I sat in the middle of a restaurant with no computer and a dying cell phone for 1 hour.


Me. Alone with myself. Not something that happens that much.




I figured I would take advantage of the chance to play on my phone since the opportunity rarely presents itself. I liked a few things on Facebook, responded to some e-mails and read a few articles.


Looking for inspiration to cook something new over the weekend, I went to the website of one of my favorite cookbook authors. The first article on the blog was one she had just released in memory of her infant daughter who died (because of a rare birth condition) only 46 minutes after being born.


As I was reading the article, a switch flipped inside of me.


My chest hurt. My heart hurt. Without warning, on a day when I was otherwise in pretty happy spirits, I found myself sitting alone at a table in the middle of a busy Scottsdale restaurant sobbing.


My waiter, a young guy, asked if I wanted some bread with pesto.


I could only shake my head.




Head shake.




Stifled “No, thank you.”


I didn’t know what was wrong with me.


Get it together.


Everyone’s looking at you.


You’re ruining your makeup.


I fixed my mascara and wiped my nose with the fancy white cloth napkin. I then proceeded to pretend to read my phone. Two minutes into that, the phone died.




I waited, my chest wanting to explode from the grief I was feeling that seemingly came out of nowhere. I wanted to go somewhere to escape…but I didn’t know where to go.


At just the right moment, my friend arrived. We hugged. I started sobbing again.


I wonder what she was thinking. I wouldn’t be surprised if I freaked her out. If I did, I never would have known.


When I was able to get a hold of myself enough to squeak out a “hi,” she asked me if I wanted a cocktail. I shook my head “no.” So then, she just told me to me cry.


And, that was all I really needed to hear.


I don’t think it was reading that blog article that caused this unexpected meltdown. I think I had been holding a lot in for a while.


Back when I had more time (and energy), I used to have regularly scheduled “meltdowns,” usually about once per week. People thought I was crazy. I thought it was healthy.


My tears allowed me to clear things that were weighing me down and causing me stress. I liked curling up with my pillow in bed and having a good cry. I always felt lighter afterwards.


As life got busier with work, a husband, then a baby, I stopped making time to cry…


I think I’ve been holding a lot together over the last several years. This is good. The fact that I haven’t been taking time to let go of the emotions that have been weighing me down? Not so good.


After Friday’s episode, I do feel like something has been lifted inside of me. I also feel some residual sadness from whatever happened in the restaurant that day.


Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s because my life is passing too quickly and just yesterday I was a new lawyer, then a newlywed, then a new mommy. Now…I’m 44.


Whatever happened, a few things have been at the forefront of my mind since Friday:


1. I am thankful that my baby and my husband are healthy and alive.


2. I am grateful I have friends who allow me to be who I need to be when I need to be that person (even if it doesn’t make sense).


3. I am good with the fact that at times, I feel depressed and need to sob my little eyes out until they are puffy and red.


These sad, depressing days help me fill my heart with gratitude during those times when I feel happy, alive and in love with everything that is good.

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