This year, my birthday crept up on me. In the best way possible, my own day took me by surprise.
"Crept up on you!?" is likely what my teenaged self would say to me right now. She would not be impressed. Why? Because I was never that person. I was the girl who would remind anyone and everyone who would listen that my birthday was coming up. 3 days before, I would be announcing: "tomorrow I'll be saying that tomorrow is my birthday!" Simply the anticipation of my upcoming birthday would have me over the moon. Yes, I was that girl. And I have no shame in that. Celebration-wise, I have never gone the extravagant route. There is nothing wrong with extravagant, but it just isn't me. I usually opt for more intimate gatherings with people I love because that's what makes me happy. That fact hasn't changed. But this year, my dear younger self, I must admit: my birthday did indeed creep up on me.
I thought that if the time came when my birthday wasn't that important, it would be far into the future. When I was much older. With an extremely valid reason for not being overly dramatic about my birthday. But at 26? It can't be. Well, you are right. It isn't. To be honest, the very fact that I almost forgot about my birthday means that I thoroughly enjoyed my past year. This past year, I did something that I have never done. Something that a younger version of myself wouldn't even begin to understand. What did I do you ask? I treated each day as a new beginning. This was not a birthday goal from last year nor was it a new years resolution. This was just something that came to fruition with ease. Unintentionally. Without micromanaging. Without me even noticing. Until I started reflecting back on my year.
In the past, once the anticipation of my birthday would wear off, I would go into my mourning phase. Here is a small excerpt from last year: "I'm 25!? I don't like 25. I like 24. I don't want to get older. I just turned 24, and 25 doesn't sound as nice!" Oh yes, I kid you not. The way the numbers sounded out loud would start to bother me. The reality behind my complaining was in fact, guilt. Guilt, because I would look back and think - did I really live out 24? Did I revel in all that the year offered me? Usually, my answer would be no. And I would start to go through the list of all the things I thought I would have accomplished by this age, but hadn't.
This time, when I realized that I am turning 26, my moment of mourning was exactly that: a moment. A fleeting moment. It came and left. 26 sounds promising. 26 sounds wiser. 26 has strength. When I look back at who I was on my birthday last year - I barely recognize that person. My growth in this past year has taken me by surprise. It has both shocked me and frustrated me to no end. It has lifted me up one day and then and pulled me right back down the next. But it has all been growth. Before, I felt like my birthday was the one thing to look forward to because I didn't make time to celebrate much else. Now, there are so many things I want to look forward to. I somehow have started to find excitement and anticipation for routine things. So much so that my birthday - yup you guessed it - crept up on me. In all honesty, there was always a lot to look forward to. My life has not taken a drastic turn. It has stayed pretty much the same. I just decided to open my eyes. And give myself a teeny bit of credit for what I have accomplished within myself. And that is what made everything just that teeny bit sweeter.
So, happy birthday to me. Here's to many more years of stuffing my face with my favourite chocolate. Of snuggles with my loves. Of crying my heart out. Of dancing to my own made-up songs. Of laughter that makes my cheeks sore. Of coming home at the end of a long day. Of growing and falling. Of ups and downs. Of being happy. Bring it on 26, I'm ready for you.