Last week I turned 22 (I know… I’m very young), and this was the first ever birthday that left me with a strange mix of emotions.
As I officially reached another year of existence, I realised what it was that made this year so different from the last. Every year before, I had at least a small inkling of anticipation for what lied ahead. This year, however, that was not the case.
A lot of people fear the day they reach another milestone; the day they reach another decade in age and feel that their life is slowly drifting away. I’m only 22… So that was faaaaaaaaaar from the case for me.
As this “special day” approached, I felt a little confused – I was very happy and I was very thankful, but I just felt like this day was nothing more than just that… An ordinary day!
Every single year since the day that we’re born, we are celebrated for reaching another year of existence. It’s beautiful and I really do believe all life should be celebrated. It’s incredible that once a year there is a day dedicated to each and every one of us.
The thing is… There are millions around the world that don’t have that.
There are millions of men, women and children who will never know their real birthday or the birthday of their loved ones. There’s no record of their birth, no clock to track the time, no calendar to tell the date, no phone to set an alarm and no facebook to use as a reminder.
These people will never get a present, nor will they ever know the sheer excitement of waking up to gifts and people celebrating their life.
I am eternally thankful to be living on this incredible earth for another year, but on this particular day, I just couldn’t stop wondering why my life was being celebrated when so many others never will.
I live a very privileged life here in Australia, and I’m so grateful to be surrounded by fortunate, generous people that want to celebrate my existence.
But this year, I didn’t really want to be celebrated. I still accepted and deeply appreciated the utterly generous gifts from my loved ones, I still had a beautiful family dinner and I still felt lucky to have lived another incredible year.
I believe it would be totally selfish of me to throw all that away… I have to embrace this privileged life for all that it is and the generosity that is constantly gifted. I would feel terrible not to welcome it with open arms – I’m so lucky and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.
But deep down I felt very bittersweet…
We have reached a point in society where people need validation by the number of birthday wishes they get on their facebook wall, from people that haven’t even been in contact for years. We only feel loved by the number of likes on an Instagram post or on an updated profile picture.
But numbers do not validate my worth, nor do they validate yours.
On this particular birthday I just wanted to be thankful for growing another year older. I didn’t want to be celebrated, I just wanted to live a normal day as it was.
Growing old is a beautiful thing and I couldn’t be more excited to be living this amazing life, but instead of wanting validation through birthday wishes online, I just wanted to relax and be thankful for the generosity.
I wondered what it would feel like for the millions of people who will never know their birthday or the feeling of waking up to presents from their loved ones. They wouldn’t know any different, and I think that’s what influenced me to keep my birthday so low key.
I know I’m loved, and I know that people are thankful for my presence – I’ve grown another year older and that’s a special thing. But mountains of gifts are just no longer important to me.
I’m sure we will all reach this point in our lives – some at a younger age than others. But I think that when we reach this point, we’ve finally realised how lucky we really are to simply have a celebration of our life.
Gratitude is the most precious gift in life and we are very fortunate to even know the day that we were born – that’s what I learnt on my 22nd birthday atleast!
[ READ NEXT: 18 Things I’ve Learned in my Early 20’s ]
Have you ever had any unusual birthday thoughts?
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