Birthdays Are Becoming Just Another Day
Two weeks ago, I turned 24-years-old. On the days approaching my birthday, I was ecstatic. “Hell yeah, I’m going to be 24!” I thought of past birthdays and reminisced on the past year of being 23. I even woke up that morning to “On This Day” notifications from Facebook, showing me exactly what I posted on past birthdays! People sent me text messages and posted on my wall on Facebook. You know, people going through the motions.
But the thing is, I’m not a kid anymore.
I remember sitting in front of my birthday cake when I turned seven, while a couple dozen of my family members surrounded me singing “Happy Birthday”. My uncle even chimed in at the end with, “You belong in the zoo, with the monkeys and the tigers, and you smell like one too.” Lets not forget the, “…and many more” added at the end of the song that was lyrically blurted out. I remember grinning ear to ear as the ice cream slowly melted, being so mesmerized by the dancing flames on my candles that someone had to remind me to blow them out and make a wish… and then smear my name written on my cake with a knife to make another wish. But what should I wish for? I already had a loving family who would give me the world, what else can I ask for at the naive age of seven? Most likely to open up my presents to find a ‘Skip It’ or the ‘Game Boy Color’ cartridge I’ve been wanting.
I even remember when it was my 9th birthday and I flew down the stairs leading to my backyard so fast I fell face first onto the pavement below. Thankfully only my hands and my knees were bloody. Being beside the point, I was this excited for my birthday because all of my family members were gathered around to celebrate my special day. I felt special.
But the thing is, I’m not a kid anymore. Overall, I had a great 24th birthday with my parents and I was grateful to spend time with them. Then something happened which made me understand that I am turning 24, not 7 or 9 or any other year from my childhood associated with a wonderful memory. I noticed some people didn’t say happy birthday to me or reach out to me at all. I didn’t get a phone call from Uncle Bob or cousin Joe like I did when I was younger. And I started to think, “Is he mad at me?” or “I thought we were close, what happened?” I didn’t have a party where everyone in my family came over my house; I actually didn’t see many people in my family at all. I didn’t go out with friends because too many of them work crazy hours. My birthday is officially just another day now.
That really got me thinking. Am I really so self-centered that I expect people to go out of their way for me? I am just another human being. I am not more or less than anyone else. Yeah, it’s great to hear from someone wishing me well on my special day, but if I don’t hear from someone, that does not mean I’m not special to them.
I can’t give people this much power. All of my friends work now. A lot of them have families. These people have lives. I’m not the center of anyone’s world and I shouldn’t expect to be.
I can’t base my happiness on what isn’t, I have to focus on what is. I can create my own happiness. It’s time I start doing so.