I have been lucky enough to be inundated with people in my life who really love their own birthdays.
In fact, that statement doesn’t really do it justice. They more than love their own birthdays. They give the day they entered the world the same status as a national holiday, often extend it into other, unsuspecting days (read: “It’s my birthday week!”), and take personal offense if their birthday isn’t acknowledged at every even-slightly opportune moment throughout the entire month.
Impressive, isn’t it?
I, on the other hand, often forget that my birthday is even happening. Most often, my mother calls me on the day of my birthday – this is how I know I am yet another year older. Facebook, however, makes it a bit more difficult to forget – one’s birthday is almost always commemorated through countless wall posts, messages, and those weird facebook “gifts” at least one person feels the need to post.
This year – this Friday, actually, I will turn 26.
I know I just said that I never remember it’s coming, but these other people in my life have been holding countdowns in my honor for at least three weeks now. I am constantly reminded – as if forcing me to recognize my birthday in the same obsessive manner they do justifies their own preoccupation with their day of birth.
Twenty-six is no milestone – it certainly doesn’t hold the same weight as 16 or 21. In fact, 26 holds almost no significance at all, except for the fact that I am now officially in my “late twenties” and a mere four years away from thirty (thanks to all my younger friends for constantly reminding me how much closer I am than they). And yet, birthdays – whether they be a milestone number or not – never fail to make me feel just a little nostalgic, to spend a little more time than usual wondering how it is that I have arrived at the places I have, how I have survived the things that I have, and whether or not I really am a better person for it.
I have a very wonderful friend, for whom I am grateful to have in my life. Recent events with this person have caused me to think back over decisions made, stands taken, and opportunities missed. I often wonder to myself how much of my life would be different had I been a little more spontaneous, a little less terrified, and perhaps taken a phone call or two for what they were really worth. I cannot say that I have regrets – I feel grateful that I can look back over 26 years of life and say that I still do not believe in them, that I really wouldn’t change my life experiences up until this point. I believe that they have made me who I am today, taught me valuable lessons, and I know that I wouldn’t be the same without them.
Despite these convictions, and the ends to which I believe them, I can’t help but wonder, just every once in a while, if I would not have been equally as good of a person had I taken the chance I sometimes wish I had. Would not the universe have worked out my lessons to fit accordingly? Would not I be the same person, perhaps just a little less worse for the wear?
But I have no regrets, remember?
Does he? Do you? I suppose those things are not mine to know.
Happy Birthday, me. Here’s to another year lived and another year survived – and well, might I add.