Today marks the end of my 22nd trip around the sun. Whether you love them or hate them, birthdays are something special—they’re memorable. On your birthday, you can actually recall what you were doing exactly one year ago. Even if you did nothing—that day of doing nothing stands out from all the rest. The only other thing that happens with is holidays, and sometimes tragedies. But a day that’s solely associated with your change and growth? That’s a remarkable thing.
This time last year, I was 30 pounds heavier and one college degree lighter. I was living in a dorm room that I’ll probably never see again, and would soon move into another. It was my 21st birthday, so I was stepping into new legal territory. It was also the last day of the summer school session, so my class went to a bar to celebrate. Because I’m a Leo, I made sure to mention the coincidence on the first day of class, during a game of Two Truths and a Lie. In my excitement, I neglected to prepare a lie—or another truth really, I’m really terrible at that game.
Point is, they all knew it was my birthday. They sang the tune, and for a few jolly seconds I got to play the role of “girl pretending she doesn’t live for attention.” When it got to the part with my name, it became apparent that none of them knew it. It was one of those moments that you know will be funny in retrospect if you can just make it through the initial sting. In any case, I didn’t pay for a drink for the rest of the night!
Your birthday is an event, even when it’s uneventful. Some years, you’ll remember who bought you your first legal drink, or the mini-ironing board that has improved your life ~tenfold~. HAHA GET IT? Anyway, there’s a chance to reconnect with an old friend. Other years, you may just wonder what happened to that shirt you went out in last year, the one you used to love. There’s a chance for rediscovery. Maybe the underground musician you were listening to last year became super successful, and you’re actually happy for them because you’re not an asshole. Point is, there’s always something to celebrate on your birthday: you’re in perfect position to learn something new.
So, here are some things I’ve learned in my 22 years on earth. Let me know what you think in the comments!
- Don’t ask too much of tomorrow. Birthdays aren’t immune to mishaps. Neither are weddings or game days or any day of the year, honestly. You can’t expect anything to go perfectly. Something can only disappoint you if you let it.
- Songs are great time machines. The Birthday song is a good example. But have you ever heard a song and suddenly remembered what clothes were in style when it first came out? Or who you were with when you first heard it? Like birthdays, music has a magical way of connecting us with our former selves.
- Spiders don’t RSVP. This morning, on the 22nd commemoration of my birth, the first thing that I saw and spoke to was a nasty arachnid in the corner of my bathroom. I couldn’t help but remember the last time I squared off with one in the same spot, in which I recreated a commercial for LifeAlert. This time, however, I easily completed the message. Real lesson is, fear isn’t forever. You’re more powerful than whatever terrifies you, you just don’t know it yet.
- To change your mindset, change your surroundings. Sometimes, it’s as simple as opening a curtain. Other times, it might take walking away from a friend. Either way, a change of scenery goes a long way.
- Just begin. Sometimes in life, we get stuck in editing mode before we’ve even put a word on paper. Focusing on all the bad things that might happen is a great way to stay standing still.
- People show you who they are if you let them.
- Uncertainty is opportunity. Not knowing what to do next can sometimes be a blessing. Everything you learn or experience in the meantime can help you along the way. And if you remain open to all possibilities, you might end up with something far better than you could have predicted.
- Letting go can be a good thing. Saying goodbye is just making room for something new.
- Some goals are hopeless. Meaning, you shouldn’t have to hope for them. They shouldn’t be left to chance–go out there and make them happen!
- Take advantage of what you’ve been given. I was born on the 10th of the month, and 10 is the perfect number for countdowns and listicles. TTYL!