Today is my birthday. I’m 31. This means that — being no longer in my twenties or even just 30 — I am “in my thirties” and am therefore officially old enough to freak out about my birthday. (Actually, I know people who have been doing this since they turned 20, but whatever.)
I get to look at myself in a magnifying mirror (Who invented those diabolical tools anyway? Probably the same asshole who thought that putting fluorescent lighting in change rooms was a clever idea.) to find wrinkles and white hairs and mourn the lost days of my youth. I get to dwell on all the things I haven’t achieved yet but should have. I get to complain about how time passes so fast and where did the last decade go?
And while that sounds super-fun and all, I think I’ll give it a miss. Yes. Wrinkles and white hair happen. Time passes. I’m getting older. It’s inevitable, so why worry about it? (Cosmetic surgeons, I’m sure, would tell you something else entirely.) Maybe I’ve done some neat stuff, maybe not enough, so maybe there is still more neat stuff left to do. That’s the result of choices I’ve made and ones I’ll continue to make. I’m ok with owning that.
Every birthday, I wake up and quickly assess my feelings on it all. Lots of people hide from their birthdays, so I am always curious to see if I’ll feel a need to do that one day. So far, I have never had a birthday where I woke up feeling gloomy. Maybe one day that will change and I will weep or something, but meanwhile, I love my birthday. I still love it the way I loved it when I was six. It remains the first thing I put in a new calendar. I start reminding people it’s coming at least a month before it happens. You know, so they have time to emotionally prepare.
Here’s why I love my birthday so much: it’s all about me. Because I was somehow clever enough to be born all those years ago and apparently that’s something to celebrate. Do I sound self-absorbed? Yup. Do I care? Nope. Why? Because it’s my birthday! (Also, because I think everyone else is self-absorbed too. I’m just less shy about admitting it.)
Sometimes birthday celebrations even involve cake. How many other days do you get where people both acknowledge and celebrate that you exist while providing cake? The answer to that question, which I’m sure you thought was hypothetical, is “none.” (Unless you are famous and get one of those lifetime achievement awards, but there might not be cake at that.)
So my philosophy on birthdays is to milk them for all they’re worth. One day out of every 365. Mine, all mine.