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Every year my birthday comes around, and along with it, my tears. It sounds contradictory, but something about that infamous June day always leads to internal disappointment and uneasiness. As I’ve gotten older, I have heard other people share the same sentiment about their birthdays. The reason you may hate your birthday comes down to this: too high expectations, attention-related anxiety and depression of aging. 

Your birthday only happens once a year. There is so much build up and hype in our brains for our big day. With social media, we see others spending their birthdays lavishly, such as going out to fancy dinners or taking exotic trips with their friends. They show their clever gifts they receive and cakes that look straight out of Cake Boss. Even if we crave a simple girls night on our birthdays, compared to what we see from others, it seems too lowkey. We also expect birthday wishes and texts from certain people. You may get 50 wonderful texts, but if that one person doesn’t text you, you will be disappointed. And do not even get me started on birthday posts. We HATE to admit it, but we all have experienced the feeling of not getting a special Instagram shoutout from someone you expected. We don’t mean to be ungrateful, and we don’t mean to let these small things upset us. But subconsciously, we get disappointed when certain expectations are not met. 

This next thing could just be me, but unless you are celebrating a milestone birthday (helloooo 21), aging another year can be kind of depressing. Every year, life gets more complicated, and we are handed more responsibility. These are (supposedly) our days of youth and fun and the idea of being closer to adulthood can feel overwhelming. I often find myself reminiscing on my younger days;I had such a small brain, but along with that, small cares. All my birthday expectations (cake, presents, attention!!) were fulfilled. Lastly, while the attention birthdays bring can be exciting, it can also be anxiety-inducing. The exes pop back in for a “hbd” and remind you of the past trauma. That one friend posts the ugly picture of you, and you stress over who sees it. Someone tells you happy birthday and you embarrassedly tell them “you too!”. And if you are like me, you just don’t know how to act when given any attention at all and probably panic a little.

Even though it’s never your intention, you may end up anxious and disappointed on your birthday. But if anything, your birthday should be a reminder and celebration that you made it ANOTHER year in life! When you think of all shit you went through and experienced in one year, it is actually a huge accomplishment. When you look back at where you were a year ago, chances are, you have grown tremendously. It is normal to feel let down on your birthday. But regardless of the outcomes of your special day, you should take the time to celebrate the milestone of making it another year in this crazy, unpredictable world.

Madison is a Sophomore Heath Sciences major. Outside of HerCampus, she is a member of Futones Acapella group on campus and Is the External Philanthropy chair of Furman’s Chi Omega chapter. She is passionate about singing, naps, SZA & her vizsla-Hank. Following college, Madison hopes to pursue Occupational Therapy..
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