It feels like yesterday I was thinking how quickly January flew by, and now it’s suddenly March- my favourite month! My birthday is in exactly one week (I turn twenty-four), which means I will be one year closer to the quarter-century mark! Luckily it also means that spring is just around the corner (hopefully), and I am definitely ready for longer days and more sunshine.
Growing up I loved my birthday, which I am lucky enough to share with International Women’s Day, but something happened when I reached 16– I started a strange ‘tradition’ of crying at some point during the day, which both my family and friends find incredibly strange. Even I think it seems silly, but every year no matter how much I try not to, I shed at least a few tears. Sometimes it’s made sense– like my last birthday at home before heading to college, but theres nothing inherently sad about turning twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, and so on. Last year I thought I’d finally broken the pattern, only to be surprised by tears rolling down my cheeks as I began to fall asleep.
Then again, maybe it’s okay to cry on your birthday, and no, not just because of the song, but because birthdays represent not just the passing of time in a very personal way, but make us think about the fact that time is finite. Maybe crying is my way of saying goodbye to the past year, of acknowledging that something is ending so that something new can begin? Or maybe I’m thinking about this way too much, and should be thinking about what sort of cake I’d like for breakfast instead?
Although most people made their resolutions two months ago (and may or may not be falling off the wagon) I am just making mine now. Rather than New Year’s Resolutions, I like the idea of ‘Birthday Resolutions’ which I have always found much easier to stick to, and which feel a bit more personal. This year, I have three:
- To stop apologising. Not if I’ve really done something wrong, obviously, but to stop apologising for things that aren’t my fault, but rather using it as a filler or a way of minimising- think sorry to bother you when an excuse me would work just as well. (Full disclosure, I was inspired by The Guilty Feminist podcast on this one, which is definitely worth a listen, though beware of bursting out in laughter on the tube)
- To be nicer to myself. The lovely saying of “don’t say it to yourself in you wouldn’t say it to your best friend” is definitely something I can use quite a bit of work on. I am definitely my own worst critic, so hopefully being nicer to myself will help me to become more confident and proud of my achievements.
- To be more present. I am terribly, terribly addicted to technology, so this is by far one of the more difficult challenges I’ve given myself, but I think also one of the most important. I don’t want my entire life to be mediated through my cell phone– when I talk to my family and friends (even via video-chat) I want to really be there and listen, rather than thinking about my list of things to do. When I go to a new place, or see a really beautiful or amazing thing I want my first thought to be “what an amazing experience,” not “hold on, let me take a photo for Instagram/snapchat”
So, for my last week of twenty-three I will be practicing the above three things, but also just trying to enjoy the passing of time and the adventures each day brings. And thinking about what type of cake I’d like for breakfast on the day, of course.