So your birthday’s coming up.
Soon you will turn 20, or a quarter of a century, or 29, or the big 3-0 (…GASP), or 37, or whatever age you will be. You are trying not to think about it because there is this feeling of disappointment that comes with thought of getting another year older.
But you can’t avoid it. Your family and friends keep reminding you that your birthday is coming up and ask how you’re going to celebrate. You wonder why they seem to look forward to your birthday. You just feel old.
You actually dread your birthday. “I’d rather people not remember,” you think. “I just want the day to come and pass quietly with any big hurrah.” You don’t want the attention that your birthday brings.
But I urge you. Please, please, please, PLEASE celebrate your birthday. It’s very important that you do.
As children we all loved our birthdays. Maybe it was the presents. Or chocolate cake with sprinkles. Or the party where we got to invite all our friends. Maybe it was because that day was all about us and we loved the attention we received – it made us feel special.
There was a certain excitement about growing up. To be taller. To be faster. To be smarter. To be more like our parents or role models. To get closer to being adults who got to do whatever they wanted to.
And now we’re adults. And life doesn’t seem so appealing. Somewhere, somehow, we lost that excitement for life.
Sure, maybe you are disappointed with your life. It is not what you hoped it would be.
Maybe you wished that your career was further along than it is.
Maybe you hoped you were married with kids, or at least in a long-term relationship that was going somewhere.
Maybe you are embarrassed that you are still living with your parents at this age.
Maybe you had thought that you would have completed your education by now.
Maybe you wished you had more interesting life experiences – done more travelling, met more interesting people or discovered more fascinating hobbies.
Maybe you look around and your friends are “further ahead” than you in life.
Watching Michael Phelps in the Olympics doesn’t help either. You think, “He’s the most decorated Olympic athlete with a total of 22 medals. And he’s only 27 years old. What did I accomplish at age 27?” The depressing reality of the situation sinks in.
Birthdays remind us that time is ticking. We are not getting any younger. Our life is passing us by. Before you know it, you’ll be dead. You’ll be buried in a cemetery and your tombstone will say something like, “Didn’t do anything with his life” or “She was a great example of a failure.”
STOP MAKING EXCUSES.
STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF.
STOP HIDING FROM YOUR LIFE.
Hiding from your birthday is not going to change anything. In fact, it will make it worse. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You do not celebrate your birthday because you do not think there is anything worth celebrating. Then you continue living like there is nothing to celebrate. You lose anticipation for life.
Frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of you trying to hide from your birthday. I’m sick of you complaining that you are growing older and there are no good reasons to celebrate with your friends and family. I’m sick of you trying to make your birthday a quiet affair. Your fear of growing older is holding you back from enjoying your life and moving forward. In fact, the older you get, the more important it is to celebrate your birthday.
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” – Anonymous
Now please pay close attention.
This last point I am making is even more important. This is the most crucial reason that I am desperately urging you to celebrate your birthday.
When you celebrate your birthday, you are not celebrating your accomplishments, your achievements, the great things you have done in life, or the dreams you have fulfilled.
No, you celebrate your birthday because your life has value apart from what you have done. You are worth celebrating, whether or not you’ve done something significant, special or great with your life. You have value and dignity and worth.
Believe this about yourself. Believe it deeply from the bottom of your heart.
And go celebrate your birthday. Do it even if you don’t feel like it. Muster up the courage and go big. Call up all the people that you love and invite them to celebrate life with you.
Because in celebrating your birthday, you are reminding yourself and reminding others that every life has value. Every life is important. Every life is precious: yours, theirs, and the life of every human being on the planet.
How will you celebrate your birthday this year? Share in the comments.
photo credit: Helga Weber, Dustin Diaz