On Birthdays

Photo by the WONDERFUL:  Amber McDonnell

Photo by the WONDERFUL: Amber McDonnell

As some of you know, my birthday was yesterday, and I turned 26 years old. While I understand that feeling weird about birthdays related to age shouldn’t start for a while, I have had some mixed feelings about birthdays for quite a long time, and wanted to explore why that might be. We go about our lives living day by day, with a presumed goal of living an overall happy life that is, ideally, worth appreciating every single day and taking note of what happened to make it good. Not all moments of all days are going to be great, but my goal is always to strive for the good to outweigh the bad. When there are times when that isn't the case, that is my cue that I need to make a change in my life. I have made those changes before, and those decisions to change my circumstance have helped me grow the most. 

So why is this relevant to my feelings about birthdays? Well, a birthday is just like any other day. It is simply the anniversary of the day we came into this world. While I think that is a great thing—and a friend of mine pointed out that I should let people celebrate the fact that I exist on this day, for which I’m always grateful—it is just one day out of the year, and just one year out of, hopefully, many more to come. It seems we place too much importance on a single day each year, so the anticipation can lead to disappointment if the day doesn’t go as perfectly as we might have hoped. But would it be that big of a deal if, instead, it was just any other day that wasn’t quite as fabulous as the previous days, or if it was just a random day that did not live up to the hype? I think it wouldn’t affect us as much. 

To me, not everything has to be a grand celebration or a big to do. Things that I enjoy might not be the same as someone else. For example, my idea of a great time is a workout that pushes me to my limits and challenges both my mind and body. That’s what I did yesterday, and I left my workout feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It made me feel ready to take on anything that came my way, including the year ahead. If we generally live our lives so that we find joy in the things we do every day, why not continue to do those things on a day that is meant to be special and a celebration of our existence?

I think that, overall, it is a good practice to focus on our lives as a whole, rather than single days that are meant to live up to some sort of expectation. I will continue to focus on making my life worth living every single day. How about you?