I hate to say it, but I think that the older I get, the more jaded I become by birthdays. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Facebook messages, I love getting texts, birthday hugs, etc.
But as far as the day itself, it becomes less and less glamorous the older I get.
When you’re a kid, birthdays are magical. You wake up and the world is yours – nobody can do you wrong, the world treats you like a king for a day. It’s all about you.
But then you get into college and you have to start thinking about whether or not it’s worth it to go to class on your birthday, because over four years, you WILL face that choice. Not to mention if you have a job – you can ask off for your birthday if you want, but nothing is guaranteed.
Step back a little further and think about how weeks become a grind as you go along, too. As you go into adulthood, your weeks become very routine. All of a sudden, the idea of a “birthday week” starts to fade (unless you want to spend tons of money and time off work) and it becomes the “week on which your birthday happens to fall.”
In other words, to sum it up, I just feel that as an adult, birthdays lose their glitz and glamour. It has the potential to become just another day.
But I’m being careful not to be entirely jaded about them, because I’m starting to see birthdays as important milestones for several reasons.
First, it’s a celebration of life. It’s the one day when it’s almost guaranteed that the attention you receive seems to be positive, and you are celebrated, not lamented. I think that’s a good thing for people in moderation (like once a year having that much positive attention. I think that too much positive attention to often [at the cost of criticism or correction] can be bad.)
Second, as people, we do well with milestones or landmarks. I’ve begun the practice of reverse-engineering, which begs the questions:
-where do I want to be and/or what do I want to do?
-where am I now and/or what am I doing now?
-how can I get from question 2 to question 1?
In other words, it’s self-evaluation, asking how I can make the things I want to make priorities into actual priorities based on how i spend my time, money, and other resources. For me, a birthday is the perfect time to do that – a blank slate of sorts with the dawn of a new year. So instead of making New Years resolutions on January 1, I set myself several goals on November 18.
Third, it just gives you a really good excuse to be with friends and family.
So as jaded as I’m getting, and as ordinary as birthdays can sometimes feel, I think there’s still a lot of magic to be had. The world may not stop for you anymore, but you can take time to stop and appreciate your life – look at the people around you who are so kindly bringing you birthday wishes and realize how blessed you are. Take stock of your life and realize where you have room to grow and ask for the grace to do so.