That pretty much sums up how I feel about my birthday.
Which is tomorrow.
As in less than an hour from now.
Birthdays mean different things to different people. To me, it means that the other 364 days of the year aren’t.
And that bothers me.
It seems like some peoples’ birthdays go on forever, with tons of parties and events…and mine never does. It comes, twenty-four hours pass, and then it’s over, and the only thing that’s changed is my age. Some people count down to their birthdays. I can’t really fathom that. Last year, on my 25th birthday, all anyone could say to me was “wow, you’re a quarter of a century old!” Well, thanks, that makes me feel a lot better about the biological process of aging and the fact that I’m still single, childless, jobless, and pursuing a degree which may or may not help me in life. This also is the beginning of the end of me being in my mid-20s. Soon I’ll transition into my late 20s…not cool, not cool. Well, I mean, cool in the sense that I’ve made it this far in life and many others haven’t, that I’m alive and free and in control of all my faculties, but not cool in reminding me that hey, you’re getting further and further from being able to date a teenager anymore.
Creepy aside. Anyway.
What bugs me the most about birthdays is that they’re so final. Like, you only get one a year. Then you have to wait another year to go through the same experience. And the day after is the worst – it’s like everyone else in the world gets a birthday before it’s your turn again.
And then, there’s the added pressure of how to spend your birthday. Treat it like a normal day? Take the day off, eschew responsibilities, and commit yourself to pure, unadulterated fun? Eat crazy amounts of chocolate and cake and drink copious amounts of alcohol? Spend it largely alone, with your thoughts to keep you focused and sane, or have a big party with as many people as you can?
Looking back on past birthdays is something that I tend to do around this time of year. Most of the time, the memories are disappointing. Like in 7th grade, when I had a huge test on my birthday, or three years ago, when I got into a huge fight with my parents the morning of my birthday that soured my entire day. Some birthdays were relatively successful, like in 5th grade when my teacher gave me a poster of endangered species, or my junior year in college, when I turned 20, saw a Rosanne Cash concert, and ended up at a house party that turned out to be a surprise party for me. Israel was another fun birthday – a group of us went to Maale Film School and watched some short films and met up with the filmmakers, followed by dinner with Dayna and Abbie in Talpiot, and later bowling with Dayna and Anya. My last two years of birthdays, in Houston, were mostly just blah and upsetting.
But enough negative.
I enjoy that feeling of weightlessness when I wake up, and I can say, “Today is mine. No one can take it away from me.” I like the random “happy birthday” greetings from people I meet up with, and blushing when people say, “it’s your birthday, isn’t it?” I like it when people go out of their way to do something nice for me, whether it’s a present, a card, or a hug, but just a greeting and a big smile can make me happy. I like it that even if I stay up tomorrow past midnight, it’ll still be my birthday until I go to sleep (according to some birthday rules).
That’s not a lot of things to like about birthdays.
Now I’m sad again.
But it isn’t yet my birthday, so I can’t do too much worrying about it being a bad one; it’s a blank slate, a mystery, a day of promise.
Just keep yourself in check, Jacob – you’ll get through the day, one way or another.
And hopefully, it’ll be a happy day.