Why do so many of us have trouble facing our birthdays?
Yesterday was my fiance’s birthday, and although he’s normally a positive, go-with-the-flow, the glass-is-half-full kind of guy, he wasn’t 100 percent chipper about it. You could say he had the birthday blues or what I like to call “the birthday bug.” Besides facing the normal ritual that he had turned another year older, he was feeling a little dejected by the fact that he officially entered his mid-forties.
Perhaps many of you can relate. When we were kids, we couldn’t wait for our birthdays. After all, it was our special day and ours alone. We were the center of attention and everything was done to our liking–the activities we wanted to do, the friends we wanted to be with, and the food we wanted to eat. And, go figure, we actually liked being a year older. It was a status symbol to be the older and bigger kid, not the runt of the litter. I remember when my goddaughter was in elementary school her life’s ambition at that time was to be a teenager.
So what happens when we become adults? We begin to hate being the center of attention and we dread becoming older, losing our youthful looks, gaining a few pounds, and knowing that life is moving on to its inevitable conclusion. For myself, my 37th birthday was a hard one to swallow. I just couldn’t help reflecting on my life and my accomplishments. I was feeling a little depressed that I was still without a life partner, without a permanent home, and without a clear direction for my future. I didn’t want to be older and not at the place in my life where I wanted to be. A good friend and co-worker of mine, though, helped me put things in perspective by telling me not to think of my birthday as a time for turning one year older but as a time to celebrate that it’s one more year that I’m alive and here. That’s a good way to think about it.
We should stop and take a lesson from the kids. It’s time we adults get over the birthday bug so we can start reclaiming our birthdays and enjoy being alive for yet another year. Let’s celebrate ourselves, the people we cherish, the things we like doing, and the food we enjoy eating! In short, why don’t we just celebrate life and not be shy about doing it?