Birthdays are strange as an adult.
Whether you live just down the road from your family, or you live on the other side of the country from them – like me – birthdays seem to lose their meaning once you move out of home. All of a sudden the day is yours for the making, right down to the detail of what you buy yourself as a treat. Because there is no one to make you pancakes, no one to bake you a cake. There is no one to help with the dishes or with taking out the rubbish. There are no surprises or even gifts to unwrap. All of a sudden everything you have ever liked about your birthday becomes what you hate the most because it can seem as if no one notices that today you are another year older and shouldn’t that mean something?
Now please don’t get me wrong. Turning 22 today has been nice. But that’s all I can really say on the matter. Because truth be told, its days like today, when nothing seems to go your way that you miss home and the way your family celebrates things.
You see, I think that is the problem; your family has a way of doing things and you can’t help but miss the small things like a hug in the morning, coffee made for you just the way you like, presents from work friends and your favourite dinner cooked for you as you drink one of your dads ciders out on the deck.
It’s difficult being away from family at such times as this and because I know that I’m not the only one dealing with this, here are three things I have reminded myself of as I celebrate turning 22.
1. You are special, but the world does not revolve around you: Even if, in your misplaced loneliness you feel overlooked, remember that you do have family who love you and friends who care for you. You’re just going to have to except that the world, even on your special day, doesn’t revolve around your life and everyone isn’t going to jump to make you happy.
2. It’s more than a day, it’s a birth week: birthday celebrations can sometimes last as long as a week; what with all the friends and family who want to celebrate and treat you. Even if you feel a little alone on the day, remember the coffee you’ve planned to have with that college friend, or the party you’re having on the weekend. People live busy lives and it’s ok if you can’t celebrate turning another year older as it actually happens. Tomorrow is fine.
3. Gifts come in many forms: so you didn’t get given a bunch of beautifully wrapped presents that you unwrap on your parents bed early in the morning but you did get a free coffee at lunch, or remember the dinner your new friend just bought you or the beautiful hand written card you received or think about the way that your friends played Taylor Swift’s ‘Feeling 22’ in class. They may not come with a pretty red bow but that doesn’t make these gifts any less special, they are just different.
Birthdays are now, as an adult, yours for the making. It may be different but that doesn’t mean that they have to suck. You may be away from family and that may make you upset for the traditions you miss but that shouldn’t mean you spend it alone. Get out and make the day what you want it to be.