Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Can we bring back that child like wonder at that special time of year?
Iím sure that when everyone was a child, we all had birthdays that were full of excitement, anticipation, and presents. We all used to count down the months; the days and even those last few hours until the clock struck 12 and we turned yet another year older. But now that were older, birthdays are feared or we even try to forget that they exist.
When we were younger we used to fantasise about what our lives would be like when we turned 18 or even 21. We used to envision where we would be living; who our friends will be; who we would be dating, and even what type of jobs we would have. Surprisingly enough though, our childhood wishes donít always pan out the way we wanted. We lose contact with childhood friends. Our plans for our future change. Our whole perception of life changes.
I turned 23 yesterday. It's not a major milestone on the list of special birthdays. I had my last milestone two years ago, and Iím another seven years away from my next one. I can remember how I thought my life would play out when I was a kid. I used to think that turning 18 or even 21 was a million years away, and that I would never get there - yet sure enough, those birthdays came and went. I may not be where I wanted to be financially or have my dream job, however I achieved all of my personal wishes. I have an amazing boyfriend; we live on our own in a apartment with the prospect of getting engaged sometime in the near future. I have a university degree completed, and Iíve almost completed a honours degree too.
Therefore, why do I still dread my birthday?
I treated yesterday like any other day. It started off like every other day. I got up. I went to the gym, and I went to work. The only thing that was different was that I got to open presents and cards just after I woke up. I went to dinner with my boyfriend and his family where I received more beautiful presents, and I got to talk to my parents who are in a different state - however I didnít feel like celebrating.
Iím not sure if its because Iíve lost my childhood innocence, or whether Iíve just lost the sprit of what birthdays are all about. I donít know why, but I just didnít feel like celebrating my birthday. That actually made me sad.
What are birthdays meant to mean as we get older?
Are they to celebrate what we have done, and/or what we want to do? Are they all just milestones in which we mentally check off things on our checklist for life?
I may feel differently when I am luckily enough to have children of my own; when I get to see them become intoxicated with the excitement of a birthday. When I get to buy them presents that only a parent would buy, even though you know you will regret it later. But until then I just think of my birthday as being like every other day. Could this also be because I still have mundane things to do, like go to work and clean up around the house? Or is it because of something else? I donít know. What do you all think?
ďWith mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.Ē - William Shakespeare
Try and celebrate your birthdays; even if you still have to do the same routines as per every other day.
You only get one birthday a year. One day that is yours in which you should feel special, and spend it with others who make you special.
Birthdays are a gift, and are not just about getting gifts. They bring you perspective about the past and hope about the future.
For our next birthdays, lets try and bring back some of that birthday magic we used to feel as a kid. Let's blow out our candles, and make a wish for things to come. Let's just try and hold on to some of our childhood innocence, because itís a shame when we lose it.