So, birthdays. A time to celebrate and be grateful that God has blessed us
with more time on this earth. A time to discover who we are and who we want to
be. A time to love our life and not place any unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
We all want to feel that we matter. We all want to know that our existence
matters, so we look forward to that one and only day on the calendar. The day
that reminds us that we are still alive. The day that says, you’ve made it
through another year, here take another.
So, we wake up in the morning and check our phones, wondering on whose mind
we were first and secretly hoping that they weren’t reminded by Facebook.
We remind people indirectly, “Do you know what day it is today?”
only to receive that unenthusiastic, “Happy Birthday”. We smile and
say thank you, feeling special even if it’s just for that one day.
We mark the day by dressing up and setting up expectations for ourselves
that no one else knows about. We expect gifts, a party maybe and get excited
because today is the day that everyone has to be kind to us. After all, it’s
our birthday. We take pictures and post it all over social media, we like,
share and retweet copycat birthday messages and smile in pride as people ask
us, “how old are you today?” knowing that not everyone makes its to
their next birthday.
This year, I turned 30-years old. I had planned to do something that I
believed would help me overcome a fear; I wanted to go on a huge rollercoaster
and scream my lungs out and feel the sensation of freedom in my gut but I
couldn’t do it. I chickened out.
The experience was meant to mark my new decade, it was meant to signify the
trajectory that my life would have taken for the next ten years; facing my
fears, doing things outside of my comfort zone, climbing new heights, literally
and figuratively but instead I stood in front of the rollercoaster and I burst
into tears. I cried because I wasn’t brave enough to do what I had set out to do
and I cried because I was still in the same place I was the day before; birthday
or no birthday. I cried because I had set such high expectations for myself and
I couldn’t go through with it. I cried because I was embarrassed. I cried because
I was starting my new decade standing in front of inanimate object, intimidated and feeling
I still regret not going on the rollercoaster and I’m still scared to do it
but I hope someday I will gain the courage to face at least that one fear.
If it’s your birthday today and you’re reading this, I hope you find the
courage to face even your smallest fears and I hope you relinquish all expectations
you had of yourself for this next season and simply enjoy being alive.