As we all know a birthday is a day you and people who know you celebrate the day you were born. What does a birthday actually mean to you? Some people see it as a time to reflect back on the last year of their life and think about how they want to move forward. Others view it as a time of sadness as they cope with growing older. There are people who rather not make a fuss out of the occasion while others celebrate for an entire week. Birthdays can also hold deeper meanings for people who have struggled with low self-esteem or felt unimportant throughout their lives. For them it may be a chance to feel loved and remembered as they hear well wishes from others. It’s hard to remember that while some people have an excellent memory when it comes to dates others do not. If someone close to you forgets your birthday it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Sometimes people have a lot on their mind and something slips by them.

I think of birthdays in a way similar to how I think of other important moments in someone’s life such as a wedding, graduation day, or retirement. These are significant milestones and deserve to be celebrated. But these occasions shouldn’t be about just that one day. When so much emphasis is put on things being perfect for the occasion the larger picture gets lost. A wedding is only the start to what is hopefully a happy marriage. A graduation is about all the hard work leading up to that day. A retirement signifies what lies ahead as well as what was accomplished. Similarly, a birthday is about who we were and are every day. If we look at these days on a broader spectrum we might feel less hurt if they don’t turn out as planned. 

Let’s think for a moment about this current time, everyone has had or will have a birthday during a global pandemic. This birthday probably wasn’t celebrated the same way as the others that came before it. Maybe you spent it alone, maybe you cried, maybe you were surprised by a birthday car parade, or maybe you were content being at home with the people closest to you. This one day does not have to signify how the rest of the year will go. I think what’s most important about a birthday is celebrating yourself. Take time and do something you enjoy doing. I know we’re in a pandemic so maybe you can’t do what you really want to but that doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to take care of yourself. Order yourself a birthday cake, read a book, call a friend, do a workout, or plan for how you want to celebrate next year when hopefully you have more options. 

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