A Birthday for the Books: No Party Planner Needed!

Birthday time! A time for celebration, hugs, laughs, gifts and maybe a little bit of red velvet cake along the way. When we were little, and it seemed like we had the world at our fingertips, every child longed for their favorite character, movie or tv-show themed party, no expense spared! Each party was complete with the perfect amount of decor inspired by the most recent animated Disney film, a picture-perfect goody bag filled to the brim with Playdough and slap wrist bracelets and a constant tune of High School Musical karaoke songs carried throughout the festivities. While this may have been the norm for birthday parties in the pre-responsibilities and light up Sketcher-wearing days of our lives, maturity sheds new light upon birthdays, how they are celebrated and most importantly who they are celebrated with.

College brings a new perspective to celebrating birthdays. A different location, a plethora of new people and faces and a brand-new environment, all contrary to any birthday you’ve celebrated before surrounded by familiar faces and in your home town. But, actually, this can be what is most exciting! Celebrating a birthday in college can be such a unique and liberating experience. You are surrounded by all these new and unfamiliar things, but they are yours and you can make your day however, wherever and with whomever you want! This year for my 20th birthday, I chose to completely take the reigns and organize a birthday celebration for myself. Maturing and diving into this new and thrilling decade of my life full of new opportunites, experiences and personal growth, I felt like it was important to make my mark and begin this next milestone of my life with meaning. And that’s exactly what I did!On September 27th, a stunning, refreshing autumn day, ten of my closest friends and I ventured out to Janss steps to setup my 20th birthday picnic. Complete with all of my favorites from Trader Joes (including their pumpkin spice tortilla chips, yum!), a few cute beach towels and a speaker to blast my birthday playlist, we set up on a grassy area of Janss overlooking the most beautiful campus in the world! And so the “party” began. Most of my friends were able to stop by and we all sat in the warm sun with the jubilant music mirroring our carefree and blissful moods. As I sat there and was talking, laughing and dancing with all of these people who mean so much to me, it hit me. This is what life is and should be about. True friendship is such a rare treasure to be found, and I had found it at this school, with these people and throughout the rest of my years at UCLA and beyond. It truly was one of my most memorable birthdays yet.

And so my special day came to a close with hugs all around, with my friends by my side and (of course) with a collage of pictures to capture it all! Birthdays are a special time for everyone, each in their own special way and at valuable periods of their lives. But as life goes on, celebrate what really matters and find meaning in life, love and friendship.