By Sanah Thakur
Today is my day of celebration. It’s the day I can be selfish and boast about the impact of my existence on the multiple lives I interact with. It’s a day we should really be grateful for; one segment of 24 hours where I can make everything about me and dodge the judgmental assumptions of being self-centred. You even have legal proof that you are authorised to claim the day. Yet with each and every birthday that I experience, I find it increasingly amusing that birthdays become less about me and more about the ‘celebration’ of the day.
If you break it down to the word, it’s just the ‘day’ you were ‘birthed’ into this world. Of course, it’s only natural that this is an occasion worth celebrating, but sometimes that can mean that this day is overwhelming and filled with pressure. Almost a week before the date arrives, you’re bombarded with questions about feelings you haven’t given a thought about. While social media, loved ones and Hallmark make it mandatory that you feel EXCITED, the reality of your situation is like arriving late to your own party of feelings, AFTER everyone else got there. To top that, some people seem more pumped up for the night than you feel yourself. Maybe that’s because planning an appropriate celebration to celebrate you, is more exhausting than actually taking a few minutes to privately do the same. The people who love and support you, always have the best intentions, yet it’s hard to accommodate everyone’s preferences in music, food and entertainment when the only one you care about is yourself. To reiterate the main point; it is the only calendar day we get to monopolise on.
I agree not everyone feels this way. There are people out there who love investing time on their birthdays to ensure everyone has a great time. But today’s column is for the people out there like me, who want to exercise their free will in deciding about the nature of the day. While I am excited for another candle to be added on my cake and maturity to naturally level up, I want to remind you that celebrating your existence doesn’t need a specific time frame. Instead of prioritising yourself for just one day of the year, why shouldn’t we aim to do it every day? This of course doesn’t mean disregarding the feelings of others. It’s more about giving ourselves enough time, clarity and respect, so that birthdays don’t feel frustrating when expectations aren’t met, time is wasted or emotions evaporate, leaving us underwhelmed. Investing time in mental well-being on a daily basis will give you a reason to celebrate almost every month, creating opportunities for a “birthday” sprinkle every few weeks. While not every present you receive from opening up will be pleasant, in foresight, it will be beneficial all the same.
As each and every year passes, we look back at the mistakes made, the lessons learnt and the changes experienced, all adding to the stirring pot of our personalities. But why wait for this one day to reflect on the film reel of the past when you can access the actual moment of the mistake, experience or change, in reality? Being aware of the weaknesses we have, the limitations that slow our growth and the potential we have to improve, can lead us to be more proactive about pushing ourselves to create a ‘present’ we can be proud of. This will only make the wait for our actual birthdays, a lot more genuine and long lasting.
On my birthday, I request you to bid farewell to the birthday blues and extend this excitement you are pressured to maintain for 24 hours, to other moments of growth you experience. Celebrate the birth of newer versions of you, of new relationships, new challenges and opportunities. Celebrate the greater depths of your honesty, patience and curiosity. Celebrate the death of bad habits; of old values and exhausted friendships. But mostly, celebrate your birthday, again and again.
The author can be contacted on Instagram @sincerelysanah
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