Birthdays are interesting. Some people choose to celebrate all week long, craving the attention, begging for anyone and everyone to know their special day is coming. Others want to ignore the day, hide from it, pretend it’s not so special or anything overly important to celebrate. The rest of us fall somewhere in the middle.
Of course, there is no right way or wrong way to celebrate your birthday. After all, it’s your day, right? And you have the right to act, feel, do, say whatever you deem appropriate—within reason, obviously.
What I personally don’t understand is how someone can hate their birthday. Or, more specifically, hate getting older. I mean, it beats the alternative. Why does getting older have such a negative connotation for some people? Especially if we’re getting older and wiser.
Maybe that’s the problem. Everyone gets older, but not everyone gets wiser. Or . . . Everyone gets older, but not everyone grows up. Everyone gets older, but not everyone embraces the changes that come with age. The good changes, anyway.
Put like that, getting older would be frustrating or painful. Much like a slap in the face. Because, in all actuality, who wants to get older without growing, without learning, without changing, without bettering themselves?
My recent birthday was, well, interesting. It wasn’t that I wanted to avoid the day flat out, but I simply didn’t feel like celebrating this year. Back in my early, mid, late—fine! All through my twenties, I loved when my birthday rolled around. Not only did it mean that all eyes were on me, but it also gave me an excuse to party. By “party,” I mean drink as much alcohol as I could swallow, act like a complete fucking tool, and then use the fact that it was my birthday as an excuse for my actions. It was my birthday, and I could act, feel, do, say whatever I deemed appropriate. I also blamed everything on the alcohol.
Cutter didn’t call you a bitch, that shot of Patron did. Cutter didn’t spill his drink on you, that vodka soda has a mind of its own. Cutter didn’t fall down, that dirty martini tripped him. Cutter didn’t randomly and awkwardly break into Neve Campbell’s monologue from Wild Things—actually, Cutter did do that one. Haven’t you seen my acting reel?
It wasn’t because I’m sober that my birthday was difficult to navigate this year. It was because of me—my head, my thoughts, my inability to stop overanalyzing every minute detail of the past six months of my life that caused me to question whether or not a birthday celebration was warranted.
My best friend constantly tells me to get over myself. Well, if you’re reading this: Surprise, bitch! I’m still not over myself. Any day now, though. Well, maybe. . .
If you’ve kept up with my blog (I haven’t even kept up with my blog; this is my first post since August!), then you know that I faced some changes over the past several months. Changes that have been hard. Changes that have created an entire shift in shaping who I am today. And while it has been a difficult year for myriad reasons, it has also been an amazing year, a year filled with first-time opportunities, adventures, and lots of self-discovery. Regardless of how I choose to look at the glass—half empty or half full, it changes daily—the point is that change is the only constant we can rely on in life.
Taylor Swift has an amazing song lyric that has lived rent-free in my head since May: “Time won’t fly; it’s like I’m paralyzed by it. I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.”
I’ve spent (perhaps wasted is more appropriate) so much energy and so many hours trying to fight and delay the inevitable. Trying to find my old self instead of accepting my new self, embracing my new self.
Maybe that’s my problem—er, one of many. I’m trying to find something—someone—who no longer exists. Because, after a shift of some kind occurs, be it a breakup, a move across the country, losing a job, a death. . . we change. We’re altered. We have to be, don’t we? In order to survive.
I will always be me. The guy who says “fuck” too much, laughs at his own jokes, collects an excessive amount of books and shoes, and thinks he’s the real-life, male version of Carrie Bradshaw. Some things don’t change.
But, some things—a lot of things—do change. And honestly, what good does it do to try and avoid those changes? In the long run, we’re only hurting ourselves, wasting our own potential.
You can’t always put the rabbit back in the hat. Or, more appropriately, you can’t squeeze your foot into a shoe you’ve outgrown. That’s a bad analogy; I wear shoes that don’t fit all the time. What can I say? Fashion is painful.
Yet, if we continue to hang on to the past, then how can we expect to have room for the future? How will we be able to grow, learn, and better ourselves—no matter our age—if we stay the same? If we constantly fight and delay change, then what do we expect our future to look like? Who do we expect to be in the future?
Change. . . it’s necessary.
Sometimes, that change includes letting things go—people, places, dreams, regrets. Then, we get to meet new people, go to new places, discover new dreams, make new mistakes to later regret.
The reality is (who doesn’t need a strong dose of reality from time to time?) that change is hard. Change is hard for me. It will probably always be hard for me. After all, change takes us out of our comfort zones. Though, it is when we are outside of those comfort zones, when we’re truly uncomfortable, that we’re able to grow. Growing pains, right? And during those uncomfortable or even painful moments, we often get the opportunity to experience life. We get to truly live.
There is some comfort in knowing that despite change, the changes around me and within me, the essence of me will stay the same. Simply put, I’ll always be me. Hopefully, I’ll outgrow the bad, the ugly, the parts that no longer suit me. The parts that don’t align with the person I want to be. . . and keep the rest.
Hopefully, when I change, it will always be for the better.