Why I Hid in a Cave on My Birthday

I turned 33 years old last week. Yeah, 33! I came to a point in my life that when someone asks me how old I am, I pause for at least five seconds and roll my eyes before giving an answer. Yes, guys! I am now 33 years old! Huwag na kayong ano! :p

Anyway, not a lot people knew that I turned a year older last week. I hid my birthday on Facebook. For years, I had been writing a birthday post, but I opted to skip it this year. I wrote something to honor my husband instead.

For the first time in years, I planned to come to work on my birthday. My husband said that he needed to attend an urgent meeting so I decided to go to work, too. I woke up really early on my birthday only to find out that my husband would be taking the day off because his boss allowed him to skip the meeting when he told him that it was my birthday. (Malakas ako sa boss ni Boyet?!) Because I didn’t file for a vacation leave, I just asked my boss if I could work from home instead. I went offline at exactly 4 PM. I said a prayer in a chapel, had dinner with my family and went home. I just realized while writing this post that I didn’t even get the chance to blow a birthday cake. Hihi.

A colleague greeted me on my birthday. He asked me why Facebook didn’t notify him.

C: Je! Happy birthday!
Me: Hihi! Thanks!
C: Bakit hindi ako na-notify sa Facebook?
Me: Tinago ko. Gusto ko kasing malaman sino ang mga real friends ko. So there, FAKE friend kita!


Other asked me the same question. It wasn’t because I wanted to know who my real friends are. I’ve known that a long time ago. I’ve thrown away toxic friendships long before I turned thirty-three. Plus, people can remember their worst enemy’s birthday the same way that some of my closest friends can forget mine simply because they are not good with dates. So why did I hide inside my cave on my birthday? It’s because I realized that my life has turned noisy.

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

Above is the kind of noise that I’ve been enjoying for more than a year. But there is a different kind of noise that I opted to filter out this year. I literally went offline on my birthday. I posted only one photo on Instagram a day after my birthday. Social media has opened a lot of opportunities for me and this blog. And I am eternally grateful to my wonderful readers and virtual friends who share this happy place with me. But I really wanted to dedicate one full day to my family. I do hope you didn’t mind.

je's anatomy - 33rd birthday

I just needed some quiet time to have my life reassessed. I’m overwhelmed. I’m a working mother. I handle a team at work, and I run a crazy household at the same time. I’m a wife, a mother and a career woman who tries to figure out how to balance every aspect of my life. I’m tired, but I am not complaining. I’ve dreamed of this life. I’ve prayed really hard for the things that I have now – a beautiful family, a career that helps put food in our table and a blog that allows me to meet amazing people. But then there are days when I simply want to grab a book from my shelf, binge-watch some Korean dramas or just cuddle my baby and my husband the entire day. So there. I used my one-day quiet time to help figure things out. And I’m glad I did it.

Albeit all my daughter’s screaming and shouting, it was the most quiet birthday I ever had. And believe it or not, it turned out to be my happiest. :)

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