I was going to share pictures from my last birthday, but left it later and later until it was too late. I was going to describe it as ‘the best birthday so far’. At least it was in principle but in practice I was so plagued with OCD it was exhausting. My friends went all-out last year it was amazing.
This year’s birthday was even better and the last occasion I’ve socialised I was able to enjoy it more. This time I went a good amount of time before I began consciously one-sided blinking, becoming self-conscious about it and trying to stop but not wanting to finish in an ‘uneven’ state— which is the whole problem with this type of OCD obsession. There’s never ever a ‘good’ time to stop, it just feels awful to stop and awful to continue.
Anyway I met my two friends at the riverside shopping centre, which I haven’t actually been to since before the pandemic and at that point I’d only been living here 6 months. So I’ve only seen it in late summer and winter and this year the riverside area was decorated with some temporary stuff to make it even more of a focal point. It’s already a highlight of the city. They were showing Wimbledon tennis on a big screen, which you can’t deny is a strong sign of summer here. Occasionally a canal boat passed through.
It was a pretty nice ambience to be in, sitting in the sun and chatting to friends. I got a lot of much-needed sunlight. My friend gave me a bag of very thoughtful small gifts and a card. I ate a celebratory vegetarian Mission Burrito— a place I’d been to once with my friend when I first came here in 2019— and drank a deliberately-nostalgic iced coffee which gave me strong memories of drinking them on my adventure in California in 2009.
After two hours we changed location which allowed me to ‘reset’ the OCD state and I had another hour of peace again before we went home.
My friend noticed that I was less anxious and more relaxed which she was happy about. Friends like these are all you need.