I love my birthday. Every year I wait expectedly, counting down the days, getting unnecessarily excited. I was told that once I get older the excitement for my birthday would wane, but even though I might not hold it to the same pageantry that I did when was 16 perhaps, it constantly shines as highlight on my calendar, a day I look forward to.
But last year was different, last year I took a good, long look at why I was so obsessed with my birthday, why I had 80 day countdowns, why I felt the copious need to remind others that my birthday is coming up, why I went out of my way to make sure I had a huge bash every year, what was the point? Why was I doing this?
Through all of this, I came to the realisation that my birthday, like probably many of other people’s, was the one day when I felt more than mediocre. It was the day I felt like other people cared about me, like they wanted to see me, wish me, be with me. After a while it didn’t even become about the presents, if I got no gifts but 10 people made an effort to see me I was happy.
However, in 2015 I was glum, perhaps it was hormonal, maybe it was an influx of disappointment but I kept my birthday to myself. I made last minute plans to have tea with some friends who had made a concerted effort with me that year, I told some friends that I would be at a bar the night before my birthday, and stayed at home the day of my birthday if anyone came to wish me. I really worried that I was forcing my day on people who really felt compelled to share it with me, and I felt like I needed to keep the option open that they could attend if they wanted to and there was no pressure. But I was surprised, friends streamed in, and really made me feel like I was complete idiot for even attempt that little experience.
Now, reflecting on the previous years, and as my birthday draws closer, I sometimes feel like throwing in the towel, it is clear that 364 days of the year I feel invisible, like I’m looked past or not important unless I am needed, and my birthday is the one day that I feel like I exist in the world, that I’m not just a part of the furniture, and perhaps I should forego the day completely and just accept my invisibility.
But there is another part of me, that thinks to hell with it, maybe I will feel invisible forever and 2 August will be my only shot to feel particularly special, at least I have one day, I should make the most of it.
I’m still going through the process of navigating my way through my twenties and my journey of self-discovery, and perhaps age 27 will bring new insights and new struggles but I am happy to have made it this far. I am happy that my birthday does surround me with people that for some odd reason do care about me, that remind me that I’m not invisible, that I am loved.
Here’s to aged 27: