It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday! Gonna party like it’s my birthday!
Okay, maybe not. If you know me, I’m not exactly the “partying type.” But in celebration of my 24th birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog post about what we all have on our minds on our birthday.
Now, I will say that when you’re turning ten years old your biggest birthday concern is most definitely cake, but generally after you pass 18 or at latest 21, the nagging thought at the back of your mind on your birthday is not how many presents you’re going to get or how much cake you can eat, but rather, how much longer you have to live.
All right, maybe it’s not that drastic.
But for the last four or so years every birthday has decreased in its sweetness. I’m reminded that it’s one more year slipping through the cracks, and when a lot hasn’t changed in the last year, it is somewhat disheartening. So I end up being depressed on my birthday which just isn’t any fun.
As adults, sometimes I think we like to put up a great façade and hold elaborate parties and make it our “birthday week” or “birthday month” to distract ourselves from the inevitable feeling of dread associated with aging. We don’t want our skin to sag and our muscles to weaken and wrinkles to form in all our creases. Youth is highly valued in American society despite the fact that those who actually are young (i.e. teenagers) desire to grow up faster.
It’s a twisted age world we live in.
However, I don’t have elaborate parties for my birthday. Celebrating with friends and family is about the best I can do being an introvert. Instead, I think I draw my birthday insecurities from “missing out” and not so much “getting old.” The two are connected, but differently in my brain than most people. Sure, I would love to be young and beautiful forever. It’s something I certainly enjoy right now, but when I imagine myself in the future, my main concern is not with how beautiful my skin is or if my hair has started graying. No, it’s about what kind of job I have. Where I’m living. Am I able to support myself? Am I doing something I love? Have I traveled any? Do I live somewhere I love? Do I have a compassionate group of friends that I couldn’t live without?
I structure my life around the security I feel in it. Right now as an aspirational twenty-something with my eggs in too many baskets but nothing I feel particularly passionate about (well, except YouTube), I feel very insecure about the state of my life. Turning twenty-four seems old. It feels like I should have already accomplished something grand by now. Or at least, be on the verge of doing so. But I’m not even in the beginning stages of a magnificent breakthrough right now. So I distract myself with fashion and YA literature and fun television shows and movies. My hope is that eventually I won’t need to distract myself, but that my life reality will be closer to my life fantasy right now. But birthdays remind me of the passing of time, and encourage the fear that it will only ever be a fantasy to me.
So this has been a little bit depressing. And I don’t mean it to be, but I supposed talking about “being old” just lends itself to a more somber tone. I am excited for my birthday. I plan on eating ice cream cake and giving out cupcakes at work and maybe I’ll even get a few presents. I can’t turn back time or stop its passing, but I can try to live in the moment more for the time being. Magnificence will come, right? As long as I keep working hard and being creative? But for today, Happy Live In the Moment For Kaitlyn Day!
NOTE: It is not, in fact, “Live in the Moment” Day. But for your curiosity I looked it up. Today is:
- National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day
- National Bookmobile Day
- National Eggs Benedict Day
- National Stress Awareness Day (maybe the only relevant holiday)
- Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day (that’s very specific)