I always find it fascinating to see the way in which people relate to their birthdays. Some individuals want lavish parties and bask in the glow created by buckets of attention heaped upon them. Others are horrified when personal attention comes their way and they would rather allow their birthdays to pass quietly. Some individuals are burdened with the yearly birthday blues, while others are basking in birthday bliss. When your birthday hits, what category do you fall into?
Individuals who struggle with the birthday blues are often people who have an intense fear of aging. They are petrified of what will happen to them as they age Therefore, they struggle with each passing birthday, as the birthdays are a reminder that they are leaving their youth behind. There are other reasons one might struggle with the birthday blues. Very shortly before my sixteenth birthday both my grandfather and my best friend died (both of cancer, two weeks apart). This made that birthday and many subsequent birthdays a challenge for me. I have long since recovered, but it took quite a few years for me to separate my birthday from the loss of the year I turned 16.
Do you suffer from the Birthday Blues?
- Do you dread each birthday?
- Do you refuse to celebrate?
- Are you depressed with each year you add to your age?
- Do you look in the mirror waiting for more gray hairs and wrinkles to emerge?
- Are your birthdays sad for you because you are alone?
- Do you dread the day of your birth due to low self-esteem and low sense of self-worth?
Defeating Birthday Blues:
- Accept that growing old is a natural process and, as my dad used to say, it “beats the alternative!”
- Allow yourself to celebrate the occasion of your birth – give yourself permission to like yourself enough to be thankful you were born.
- If you are alone, find people to be with – if you don’t want a fuss, you do not have to let them know it is your birthday – you can have a great time with your friends on your birthday without them even knowing.
- Celebrate those wrinkles and gray hairs - you earned them!!!
For those of you who love a big birthday bash, enjoy! I think it is great that you like to celebrate on your birthday and you feel comfortable with your friends celebrating with you. This is an important occasion and it is wonderful for you to be able to accept your friends’ joy as they celebrate your birth with you. They let you know how happy they are that you were born because they love that you are part of their life. The best piece of advice I can give to the birthday bliss types is this: be sensitive to those around you who do not share your enthusiasm of birthdays. If a friend, family member, or colleague wants a smaller, low-key celebration (or no acknowledgment at all) honor their wishes and allow them to celebrate their birthdays in other ways. Do NOT plan a surprise birthday party for an individual who prefers low-key birthday celebrations, this will not go over well.
I personally enjoy a quiet birthday – I like to be with my family and sometimes my close friends and that is enough for me. I get lost in the larger celebrations and it becomes overwhelming for me. That said, I love getting notes on Facebook, but that is public acknowledgement while hiding behind a computer screen, which gives a bit of safety, autonomy, and freedom.
So, today is my birthday and I would say I am quite content. Today marks 366 days until I turn 40 (yes, I CAN count – remember, it is leap year!) At age 39 I feel no different than I did at age 38 and 364 days. My goals IS to feel different by 40, to figure it out, to learn more, share more, and live more.
Thank you to all of you who are joining me on this journey. My hope for you is that when you reach your birthday you will be able to embrace the celebration of your existence on this earth (whether autonomously, or with friends and family). My desire is that on your birthday you can acknowledge, accept, embrace and celebrate how valuable you are. As I head for 40, I will continue to strive for the authenticity that will propel me towards living my life truth with dignity and grace.
With one year to go~