Do You Like Your Birthday?
Everyone who knows me well is probably laughing at the title of this article. Why? Because they know how much I love my birthday. It's not like I don't recognize that this is largely inappropriate for someone over the age of 5, but alas... I wait for it, I plan for it, and man do I celebrate it.
This year, I can't explain why but I feel the pre-birthday jitters hitting me hard. The last few years my birthday was shrouded in a different kind of excitement. At 24, I had gotten engaged just a week prior, and was about to go to Hawaii with my newly minted fiancé. Talk about a great month. At 25, my wedding was patiently awaiting on the horizon. My days were consumed with writing articles for this blog, visiting the florist, dress fittings, cake tastings, you get the picture. And now with 26 a few weeks away I wonder. Will this be the year that I finally set sail into the rocky ocean waves of entrepreneurship? Will it be the year that Brandon and I expand our family? Will it be the year that I move into my new home? Or will it simply be the year I become a morning person? The year I start running, or the year I eat twirl rice noodles and slurp pho in Vietnam? How lofty should my birthday wishes be? How far ahead should I be thinking, planning, living.
There are so many exciting moments on the horizon, and yet I find it difficult to muster up the proper elation for all of them. The pending weight and responsibility of adulthood feels heavy on my back, like the textbook-stuffed, hot-pink Jansport I carried all through elementary school. Will my 26th birthday come and go, and leave me just as it met me, or will I settle into some kind of newfound clarity? I know that I am still very young, but I feel that my life has always been on the fast track. Riding the wave as if it's an international race. I graduated college a year early. I started working immediately. I met my husband at 23. I wonder why this is my trajectory, but I also know that I wanted, and love all of these pieces of my life. I guess it's this weird limbo I feel being a "grown-up" in a young woman's body. Am I just obsessed with marking the passage of time and checking all of the boxes?
I feel the same way about starting a family, or buying an apartment. I know that most women in their mid-20s aren't going through these same experiences, and that I CAN theoretically wait, but I usually don't. I haven't ever stopped my life to match the societal expectations of what someone my age should be doing, and I feel empowered by that, but also isolated by it. There is one part of me that says STOP. WAIT. DON'T MOVE ANY FASTER THAN YOU NEED TO! And then there is the other part of me that recognizes that this is who I have always been, and likely who I will always be. Reading Forbes "30 under 30" religiously. On the bullet train, in the express lane, counting down the minutes until my next birthday.
What about you? How does your birthday usually make you feel? Do you start feeling the butterflies days or weeks before, or is it a day just like any other? Please feel free to share in the comments below. I love hearing about if and how you connected with my sentiments above.