I remember being a child and counting down the days until my birthday. It usually started around the month of May, after my April half birthday. I would know the exact number of days until my birthday, and would tell anyone who was silly enough to ask me how old I was. Birthdays were the only thing I was really excited about.
Remember when we were kids and we used to be very focused on the exact age we were? Telling people, “I’m ten and three quarters” or “I’m eight and a half”. What ever happened to that? When did we start getting exact with our ages and stop getting excited about how old we were?
I think about that question now, just after I just celebrated my 21st birthday. When did I stop telling people my exact age? Why did I stop? When did I stop getting excited to celebrate a birthday? Why did I stop getting excited to celebrate a birthday?
As children, we are so excited to celebrate our birthdays. We get excited for the birthday party with all of our friends, the cake, the presents, being told we’re special because it’s our special day. And that’s something to be excited about! I think some of my happiest childhood memories are at my birthday parties. Most of my parties were Halloween themed since my birthday fell so close. Going to friends birthday parties were fun, too. All around, birthdays were fun and exciting.
Maybe it’s sad, but I actually forgot it was my birthday. You might ask, how does someone forget their birthday? Honestly, my midterms took up more time and energy than my birthday thoughts did.
I’m only 21 years old, but my philosophical view on birthdays is that as children, we really don’t have to worry about anything, so we have more time to be excited for and think about our birthdays. That’s why as children, we count down the days until our next birthday, because it’s an exciting thing to look forward to. This is my theory.
As an adult, I don’t really look forward to my birthday because I have other things that I’m thinking about. I worry about if I can go out to celebrate or if I should study for my exam the next day. I crunch numbers to see if I have enough money to pay rent and have a birthday dinner. I check my phone all day to make sure I don’t miss the birthday call from my parents and then play phone tag for the next several hours because there’s a seven hour time zone difference.
For me, as an adult, my birthday is just another day. I get up, go to school, eat lunch, study, go to the gym, eat dinner, go to sleep. It’s a pretty routine day for me, with a couple “happy birthday” texts and shouts thrown in there.
Celebrating your birthday as an adult is different than it is as a child, but it doesn’t have to be grey and sad (kind of the tone of this post so far, yikes).
There are so many things you can do to celebrate! Have a birthday party. Go to dinner. Do something you’ve always wanted to do, like skydive. Skip class. I went out for all-you-can-eat sushi with my friends, and it was really the part of my birthday I loved the most because I was with people I love. And it was all you can eat sushi.
Either way, make sure your birthday is spent with those you love. Make goals for the next year so you can look forward to celebrating another year and another goal achieved. Make sure you remember it’s your birthday and take time to celebrate you. Make sure to smile, Make sure to call your parents.1
Also published on Medium.