If you experience birthday blues, you are not alone. For many of us, we are counting down the days until our birthday in anxiety instead of excitement. A lot of people despise birthdays because of the inevitable, daunting phenomenon that is aging. I can’t say that aging itself is something that bothers me, but I think for me it all boils down to expectations. With each year that passes, you gain wisdom and experience, and your life is supposed to be that tiny bit more put together. However, despite the law telling you that you’re an adult, you never really feel like one; you’re constantly migrating between a state of growing and learning to feeling like you’re falling behind. And to those who like to ask people on their birthdays whether they feel different: No. We don’t.
The day itself is ridden with high expectations and social pressures. You must look your best, feel your best, and it must be a day to remember – for good reasons. Some people would argue that the bigger the better, the more the merrier. But, for some of us, throwing a grand, extravagant party just adds stress to an already stressful occasion.
Being a twin and sharing your birthday definitely makes it more enjoyable, with the attention always being split between me and my brother. But birthdays don’t hit the same as they did when we were younger. I definitely have my mum to thank for that, who always nailed every birthday party I had. My friends can vouch that my birthday plans now are very last minute, typically decided a few days before my actual birthday.
For me, the birthday dread is due to simply the fact that I don’t really care about my birthday, but I feel like I should. I know I’m more than happy to treat my birthday like any other day, but there’s always that lingering pressure to go somewhere and do something. Despite society’s idea of how one should spend their birthday, you must not fall into the trap of people pleasing – do what you want to do!
Notably, my hatred for birthdays only extends to my own. I actually love other people’s birthdays: getting to find presents for my friends and family as well as it also being the perfect excuse to avoid any work I have to do and go spend quality time with them. Perhaps the key to overcoming birthday blues is shifting your perspective. Instead of it being an important day about you, see it as an excuse to tick something you’ve been wanting to do off your bucket list and to catch up with people you enjoy spending time with. At the same time, if you don’t want to do anything, that’s fine too – it’s your day, after all!