I just had a birthday. On the Fourth of July, as a matter of fact. Before you say the following, I’ll go ahead and take the liberty to do so: yes, I get fireworks every year; no, they’re not just for me; yes, it’s such a fun birthday; and, yes, I know I’m a firecracker. What was that? Yes, a firecracker with red hair at that. Moving on!
Another year older, another year…. That’s it. Another year. I may find myself to be another year wiser, what with a full 365 days worth of life experience tucked under my belt, but I have to laugh when I hear my generation panic at the onset of nothing more than another year.
I’m now 26 and you know what? I don’t feel old. There have been zero thoughts about how I would like to be 21 again, or back in high school, or God forbid, middle school. (I’m not going to say I’d rather jump into a pile of fresh lava than experience middle school again, but…I’ve heard Hawaii is pretty nice this time of year.) After the age of 23, it seemed that a lot of my friends stopped seeing birthdays as a time to celebrate with a birthday party, but instead a time to groan with a pity party. Things like “I don’t want to be [insert laughably young age here]” and “I can’t believe I’m [insert an age our parents would kill to be here] – that’s so old!” were flying out of my friends’ mouths at high speeds.
I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t put emphasis on an age before. In years past, I thought certain ages seemed much more advanced than they truly were (sort of how your gradeschool teachers who were 40-years-old seemed like they had one foot in the grave). The closer I got to these aforementioned ages, the sillier I found my past thoughts to be.
When I hear people whine about their still very spry selves, I can’t help but quickly shoot back, “well, it beats the alternative!” Yes, you can count on me to interrupt your age pity party with a nice and straightforward reminder that you are not a corpse. How awkward is that? It’s okay; I agree with you. It’s pretty high up there on the awkward scale but really, what is whining about your age getting you? We have yet to invent time travel so we can’t really go back as an alternative. Truly, there isn’t an alternative aside from the awkward one I just mentioned.
Let’s move on again. A birthday merely signifies the onset of another year. You’re as old as you feel! Age is nothing but a number! (What other cliche line can I insert here?) So once your special day comes around, strap on your birthday pants and eat some cake. If you whine about your age, take a breath and just remember: you’re able to take that breath.