I’m turning 27 this month and like a pair of wedgie undies to a hungry bum, the birthday blues have crept up on me.
Every year, a week or so before my birthday I start to feel a little down. I find myself wanting to stay in and be anti-social. I conduct far too much research on cupcake home delivery than could ever be healthy. I secretly plot all the ways I could spend my birthday wallowing in my own self-pity. And the weird part is I’m not even quite sure why. I love parties so why would I want to celebrate on my lonesome?
This year I want to shake these blues. I don’t want them getting in the way of cake, party hats and potential karaoke sessions any longer. In order to quash them I need to figure out why they come around.
Firstly, the hype of birthdays leads them to forever be a disappointment. Just as New Years Eve is always the crappiest night of the year and the much anticipated “iphone-not-5” unveiling had fans in meltdown, birthdays too are faulted in that they can never live up to their own expectations.
Sometimes the actual age we’re turning can be scary. However, for me, 27 seems like a bit of a nothing age. I’m pretty much doing the same thing I was a year ago, and still getting away with it. Also I sometimes get mistaken for the ‘new work experience girl’ so it’s not my age or aging I’m down about just yet.
More than the actual age we turn, birthdays are also a time of contemplation. They serve as time to reflect on the past year and life to date. Sometimes what we hoped to achieve, and the reality of what we’ve done don’t quite match. And it is this disparity that brings the blues.
Raising the issue of birthday blues with my friends, I hear similar stories. They all share comparable worries: they don’t own their own place, they’re still single, they don’t have their dream career or had travel plans that have never eventuated. They are all focussed on what they don’t have. When 2, 3 or more of these form part of the ‘things I thought I’d have done by now’ list, the blues can set in.
It is as though life has become a checklist. If you haven’t ticked off those big-ticket items by now then you’re failing. And as each year passes, we can be stretched further and further from ‘where we thought we’d be by now’. It seems life’s checklist is becoming the way we measure our worth. And our birthday is the time we reflect on this.
I think this is quite sad. Since when was owning property, being married and having a high-flying career our only measures of self-worth? Somehow things such as ‘being a supportive friend’, ‘helping out in the community’ and ‘watching heaps of YouTube clips’ don’t ever seem to make that list. And aren’t these the things we love each other for? I would much prefer a discussion with my bestie on the esoteric meaning behind ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ over not seeing her due to her new high-pressure managerial role.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the positive. Especially when you’re turning 27, single, unsure of your career and currently being evicted from your rental share house. But you know, I’m a good person. I recycle! I know some good jokes! I’ll find somewhere to live eventually, and if not there is always the option to move back home with my parents. Hmm, on second thoughts maybe I should order that cupcake for one after all…
Do you get the birthday blues? If so, what are some ways you combat them?