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I wish my Mom could call me today to sing me her special version of the Happy Birthday song. There’s an off chance that my brother will, but it’s more likely that no one will sing to me today. But this is not a woe-is-me post! I don’t care about the getting older part. Big deal. It happens. As a good friend would say, I’ve survived another trip around the sun, and that ain’t bad.

It’s been a fairly eventful year. I spent a month in France as a visiting scholar over the summer. I taught my first solo class and got awesome student reviews. I lined up a postdoc position that’s an ideal transition job and perfect for my interests. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, got treatment started, and I’m feeling a lot better. I was conclusively re-diagnosed with ADD. And, oh yeah, I wrote a 380-page dissertation!

So I can’t say that I’m not accomplishing anything with my life, but it’s not all hydrangeas. There’s a lot of struggling behind the scenes – much more than I want to admit. I hired and fired two psychiatrists. I went through five major medication changes, which really disrupted my life and work. I spent months in isolation writing the dissertation. I cried more than I can ever remember crying in a single year. Even things that sound good on the surface were excruciating – especially France. But I’m pulling through.

Eat your heart out, Audrey Hepburn!

I even received birthday gifts! They include audio CDs (Kate Bush and Tori Amos), a couple of knitting books on lace stitches and design-your-own sweaters, a bird ID guide, and a new pair of sneakers. I bought myself a (very expensive) new lens to replace my broken lens. Mr. Chickadee gave me a Xmas-birthday-graduation gift of a Tiffany key. I would call it the key to his heart, but he objects based on song lyrics. <insert eyeroll here>

But more importantly, we’re spending time together, which is the best gift I could receive. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do today, or any other day that lies ahead. I’m a very lucky girl.

In Other News…

Alcohol is definitely a depressant. Two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon on Friday and Saturday night, plus gray skies yesterday and today, and I’m feeling like I’m back down to the “normal” mood range. A little more experimentation is merited, but perhaps breaking out of hypomania is as simple as shutting off the light box and having a couple glasses of wine. Not that I ever really want hypomanic episodes to end, but in theory it’s good to be able to stop the mood swings. On the other hand, I’d like to have just one glass without feeling droopy the next day.