This is an honest review of what my birthday really felt like this year.
The long-awaited dreaded day finally arrived on the 22nd of February. Ever since I turned 17, I began to hate my birthdays. I realized that there were simply too many things I had to leave behind with every passing year. Now, as a 21-year-old, I have to catch myself before I say the phrase “When I grow up…” and that makes me painfully reminiscent.
Of course, this year, the big elephant in the room made celebrating more difficult. The pandemic came in and for the most part, simply sucked the joy and spirit out of every holiday and birthday all over the world. It is important to understand why, however, the pandemic made celebrating my birthday so much harder this year.
For the majority of my life, I’ve lived a fast-paced life. I’ve always been so wrapped up in my own work that I ceased to look up every once in a while. What I mean by that is I’ve experienced the kind of life where you wake up early in the morning to rush through breakfast, as you sit by your laptop thinking about all the things you have to do that day. Then, you head to school or work like a programmed robot on the TTC, where you are so engaged in whatever you’re doing most of the time that nothing else really crosses your mind. You come home, eat some dinner, work some more, then get in bed with your favorite book or movie, stretch out your toes and lose yourself under your big, heavy blanket. And that’s probably the only moment of calm you’ve experienced all day. I’ve also moved around so many times and had to say goodbye to too many people, leaving too many streets and homes and faces behind to get melancholy every single time.
But for the first time in MANY years, my life hasn’t been fast-paced. The boredom and that deep, unnerving feeling of futileness aside, there is all this time to just think. Think about who I am, who I want to be and who I have been. On the bright side, now I have time to take in the rays of sun on my face as I wake up in the morning, time to make snow angels like we all used to do as kids and time to spend hours talking to those who live far in distance but close to my heart. For me, this thinking has for the first time made me emotional. At the age of 21, I feel like a 12-year-old girl who constantly sheds tears at the thought of having to live so far from her mom.
So this year, a combination of fear of growing up and a deep sense of longing for my family that I haven’t seen for about two years, crept up and made my birthday a very emotional time for me. The reason I felt the need to share this was because I want to emphasize that it is ok to not be ok, it is ok to not be in the spirit of celebration and it is ok to feel exhausted. I try to stay grounded and sane by reminding myself of all the things that I am grateful for and how lucky I am. Really, I couldn’t have asked for better friends who tried to make me feel special on my birthday this year.
At least now, I’m starting to learn to appreciate the moments and people in my life more than before.