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Happy Birthday To Me - A Review



I don't know about anyone else, but somehow the day I was born comes up every year on my birthday. According to my mother, my birth fell on Memorial Day. Apparently it was unseasonably cold - it even snowed! (Typical Michigan.) She always says that the labor was "easy." (I'm not sure if this says anything about me or more about how strong my mom is.) "The doctor said you were a Perfect 10." Apparently, this is in reference to the Apgar Score, a method of assessing a baby immediately after birth to see if any intervention is required.


I'm coming up on 28 birthdays since that Perfect 10, and it still weirds me out to write that. (Does anyone besides me ever forget their own age?) When I added up that I'll be turning 28 this year, I thought, "THANK GOD!" The last year was full of MANY milestones for me; marriage, buying a house, getting a puppy. It felt like I was 27 going on 35. Nothing against 35-year-olds, but I guess the sensation was that I was so focused on "getting stuff done" and checking off the to-do list that I felt like I had lived 7 years in 1. I almost forgot to enjoy it! I'm thankful for my hard-working nature. Anxiety presents itself in many forms, and not all of them are bad; it's when there's too much that it becomes an issue. I had A LOT of excess anxiety this past year, and it pushed me toward so many things, including working full time as a musician (for the first time ever!) Now, sitting in "The Quar," this excess anxiety was a nuisance at first; it's impossible to sit still when you have so much nervous energy. I built a couch for myself and decorated it, for heaven's sake. However, as this "new normal" settled in, I finally had a chance to be still and reflect on this past year, and many birthdays before that.


The nature of having an end-of-May birthday is that it always falls on or around Memorial Day Weekend, which meant a lot of my friends were out of town for my birthdays growing up. It's amazing to think back on the contrast of birthdays; some quiet and with family, some rowdy and full of friends. Some favorites come to mind: the one with the American Girl Doll party pack , where I picked my theme out of the catalog and had to mail in an order form. Or the one where I turned 18 and graduated on the same day. Or the one where I was dating a guy who didn't like the idea of me drinking alcohol (cue eye roll), but I was turning 21, so my sister snuck me out, insisted we wouldn't tell anyone I was turning 21, then told EVERYONE when we got to the bar (thanks for that, Sister). It might even be the one with my friends where I wouldn't admit my shoes were way too tall, and I ended up slipping and falling and trying to "act cool" by crossing my arms across my chest like a mummy (I'm rolling my eyes and shaking my head as I type this - what a moron lol!). Thank God my friends literally picked me back up and dusted me off. And the one where it was my first birthday dating my now-husband, and he had an opera-themed cake made just for me, or the one where I got to sing the pre-show for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. I can't pick one that's my favorite, even the ones where I stayed home and relaxed with family. This year has something special, too, but different.


I'm sad that bars and restaurants are all closed. I'm sad that travel is out of the question, and more importantly, that so many are STILL on the front lines of this pandemic to help us all get the things we need. (THANK YOU!) At the same time, I'm grateful for this low-key celebration. The pressure to have a Pinterest-worthy 28th is gone, and it's allowed me to think, "What in the world do I really want?" "What REALLY makes me happy?" Life is too short to spend our time doing anything other than what we were REALLY meant to do, and that takes a lot of digging up our feelings, bringing them to the light, and living in our truth. I'd be lying if I said I have no regrets, but quitting my full-time job to sing is not among them. Because I was brave enough to admit what I wanted, I can now rest knowing that I did it. The only thing that stopped me was a global health crisis, something COMPLETELY out of my control.


For my birthday, I ask that you all dare to dream, and dream BIG. Be honest with yourselves, even if it makes everyone else uncomfortable. Quit your day job, or get a day job! Whatever it is - do it. And when you do, tell me about it. <3

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