I remember when I was still very little. Birthdays were as anticipatory as wedding ceremonies are these days — for lack of better upgrading moments. Few days to my birthday, my adrenaline has kicked in and my heart won’t stop racing. I couldn’t tell if it was the joy of knowing the whole attention was going to be accorded me for the entire day or if it’s the goodies that followed — or if it was the birthday presents that come with it? Perhaps the thought of knowing that I was growing in age and metamorphosing in height, education, and the rest.
Before my birthday comes, I already set out plans with either (mostly) family then or with friends (during Uni days). For the former, I made plans on the birthday treats I would be giving out and also use in celebrating the D-day. And the latter, it was always restaurant and other adventurous activities that we might be engaging in. Honestly, it’s was more thrilling then.
Compared to now.
Birthdays, for me now, is scary. Daunting. Mentally exhausting.
One would think that by feelings these ways I must be engaged into a more serious plan for it, or, at least a more extended one compared to how it used to be. But this is not the case.
Birthdays these days are nightmares. Either prior to, sometimes during, and most times afterward.
The Age Factor
While growing up, retrospectively speaking, I think it’s easier to add another year and be hearty about it when you’re super young, I mean in your early 20s than it would be when you’re approaching your late twenties. The mentality is that you’re young and fresh, with fewer life burdens to bear — and hopefully, not that much responsibility and accountability compared to now.
During your teen years approaching adulthood, it’s presumed that you had fewer worries about the things you’re constantly fretting over now. Your worries might have been over education, looking attractive enough for relationships with the opposite sex (as the case may be), and keeping up with the latest trend in many categories with things relating to that.
This, however, is not to say we thought too lightly about those ‘serious’ things then or our future in the past. But it’s a matter of fact that we just weren’t as dead-set as we are now, during those times as we are now.
We are growing up, and as we do, we are incurring lots of responsibilities our way — transcending formal education now — but rather to other categories in life. Like health, wealth, marriage, work, you name it and making an unnecessary fuss about them as well.
The attribution to these many facets of life, I realize, has come to drain the fun out of birthdays. It feels like the more your birthday is lurking around the corner, the more weight impounded on your shoulders — tritely.
Let’s not rule out the other part of aging
Have you ever wondered the reason why it’s so hard to pronounce or ask someone else what their age is? At least without feeling this stomach-churning feeling before or afterward?
I presume it’s to do with aging. While adding more years to your previous years is a blessing, and while we’re being told to be wiser at it, doesn’t rule the other part of aging out. Which is the feeling of just knowing that you’re not just growing, but getting old.
You’d know this from the manner of caution or precautionsyou exercise before speaking to someone about your age or theirs. Or the sensitivity surrounding the whole age group, age bracket, in fact, the age-talk in general.
I remember while growing up, I was very quick to pronounce my age. Confidently, clearly, and heartily. But now, I’m not quick to do so without truly scrutinizing the purpose for which and if the hearer is worth it.
Could this be what’s stopping you too?
As we grow our burdens grow and so is our appetite to life luxuries
When we were much younger, we were not as into the things as we’re currently killing ourselves over. The likelihood of mental illness development for me wasn’t as high as it is now. Back then, I worried but only for limited things at a limited time — while believing I still had time-ish.
As we celebrate our birthdays, it helps us look back to our previous birthdays — and life in totality if it permits. By this I mean, we evaluate how far we’ve come professionally, sometimes mentally, relationship-wise. And sometimes we neglect the core categories that also need to be enlisted among those.
This is because as we grow, the bracket of burdens, responsibility, and life-wants grow.
This is normal. But it equally kills the fun of birthdays. As they now serve as reminders to how much you have yet to accomplish or how less you’ve accomplished. Yuck!
But birthdays aren’t supposed to be so depressing. I know it sounds hypocritical, but they are called birthdays for a reason.
When you were born, a lot of things happened to a lot of people around you — your parents, caregivers, and other loved ones — emotionally to say the least. To be honest, if you are a good person and behave like one, your friends and strangers even would be more than glad that you came into existence. Which all still boils down to why they keep appreciating you on your birthday and why you must.
This should work.
Birthdays serve as reminders to both good and bad, accomplished- and get to be accomplished, burdens- and more responsibilities, but isn’t life filled with such on a normal ground?
What makes the difference though, a point truly noteworthy, is that you remain mindful in appreciating the life you have. Mindfulness is taking it one step at a time. Being in the moment and celebrating a true being that you are.
If you ask me, I’d say that this is the main point of birthdays. Not worry days that you’ve slated in your calendar, not workday either — certainly not down day and hopefully, not death day.
Let your birthday keep revealing the true purpose for which you came into existence. And this shouldn’t be complicated neither should it scare you.
P-S., not all birthdays need to be celebrated either. They can be simply marked. They can be marked specially, quietly, or excessively even (as with the case of turning points like silver and golden jubilees etcetera).
Remember to always celebrate yourself no matter how little. Remember also not to grow only in age and all the perks or burdens it comes with, but intellectually, mentally, and spiritually also — because these guide more.
Make your birthday your best day best month and you’ll look forward to it more.
Remember you’re totally worth it. I know it.
Happy Birthday to Me from Me. 05:09