It’s that time of year again. My birthday. I’m turning 20. No longer will I be put in the same category as a prepubescent 13-year-old with braces crying over Zayn’s dramatic exit from One Direction.
I’m not a cynic, but I feel like birthdays get a little too hyped up for what they actually are. There’s this overwhelming pressure to have the perfect birthday, which never ends up happening.
You wake up to a barrage of generic Facebook posts written on your wall from complete strangers.
Next stop is to check the damage done on Instagram. There’s nothing worse than seeing a pic stitch full of the 48 most embarrassing photos of yourself. Your best friends never hold back the ugly ones.
Dreading this day in the spotlight, you’re still lying in bed. You ask yourself, “What if people forget it’s my birthday?”
There’s always the possibility your friends are pretending to forget your birthday, but then there’s the more realistic possibility they’ve actually forgotten.
Then there’s that person you share your birthday with. I mean, come on. Everyone’s not that special. There are only 365 days in a year, so it’s bound to happen. But even so, you still get a tad jealous when they get more attention or have a better party than you.
Usually the “day” part of the birthday is pretty normal. It’s just another school or workday and you’re able to blend in for the time being.
But once you get back home, there’s a birthday tiara waiting for you and that ugly sash nobody can pull off without looking like a girl scout.
Then comes the cataclysmic birthday dinner. Who to invite? Why do I have too many friends? Why don’t I have enough friends? Why is everybody canceling?
Once you get over the hump of who’s going to the dinner, it just gets worse. Your friends want to embarrass you even more, so they tell the waiter who’s the “birthday girl.”
If the dinner’s at a Mexican restaurant, the embarrassment is twofold because you get to wear the sombrero, felicidades!
You end up getting a horrible rendition of “Happy Birthday” by a middle-aged man that probably sings Shania Twain in his shower every evening.
The dessert itself is a whole other problem. It usually ends up being a single scoop of vanilla ice cream and a candle. Let’s be honest, nobody wants that.
Then your friends not-so-secretly try to pay the bill for you, and they all get really bummed out at the 35-cent extra charge because the “free” ice cream wasn’t free at all.
Once it’s time to go out and celebrate, you’re a ball of nerves. There’s this assumption of “birthday sex” all because of that stupid song, and you’re really not into the whole lap dance thing.
At the end of the night, you end up sitting on the floor with a large cheese pizza and a few of your closest friends. They say, “it’s your birthday, and you can cry if you want to,” so you ask for a tissue.
Once you’re given the tissue, you realize how old you’re growing, and it all hits you at once. You’re a year older, not a year wiser, and you don’t want to have to put your life together yet.
You don’t want to have to worry about job security, financial debts or paying the bills. All you want on your plate is to worry about the simple things in life.
The truth is, it’s not about being overjoyed on this one single day. The celebrating should be done on a day-to-day basis.
This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 26 March 2015 (AKA MY BIRTHDAY).