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I Refuse to Dread My Birthday This Year: A Birthday Reflection Before I Turn 22

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

When I found out what a “golden birthday” was as a kid, I could not help but look forward to my twenty-second birthday. I was born on May 22, which means I have been waiting a while for my age to match the day of my birthday. Forget about turning twenty-one. Turning twenty-two just seemed more special to me. 

Although I have had moments when I was excited to turn twenty-two specifically, I never have been a huge fan of my birthday. Growing up, I rarely wanted to bring attention to myself or have to go out of my way to remind everyone. Then I would get sad when people would forget about it, and I would just want to get the day over with. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about it for another year, right?

That’s not to say I haven’t had great birthdays, but I nonetheless catch myself dreading the day occasionally. Birthdays come with so much unnecessary pressure, whether it’s from the fear of getting older or from societal assumptions that the day has to be fantastic. There is a reason why crying on your birthday has become somewhat of a meme online. It’s hard to be in the moment and enjoy the day with family and friends when there are all these expectations.  

Now that I’m a few days away from my much anticipated golden birthday, I’m realizing that I do not want to have all these negative feelings about my birthday. A part of the reason for this is because my twenty-first birthday was not anything extravagant, but I still had an enjoyable day. I can do something simple like go to Barnes & Noble or get an açaí bowl to feed my growing obsession. Staying home and doing nothing can be a little depressing, but if I do not want to throw an elaborate party, that is completely okay. It is my day, and I want to feel comfortable and take some time to do something I love. 

Turning twenty-two feels like a big step. It seems as if I am really in my “twenties” now, and it is the age I will be when I graduate college next month. And, it helps that there is a pivotal song called “22”  I can reference whenever. I can definitely relate to being “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” Thanks, Taylor Swift!

Alyssa Gordon

UC Riverside '24

Hi, I'm Alyssa! I'm a fourth-year Media and Cultural Studies major with an English minor. I love anything pop culture and baking related. When I'm not writing, I can be found reading or rewatching episodes of my favorite 2010's sitcoms.