Dealing With Birthday Anxiety

May 3, 2010 § 4 Comments

Something not too many people know about me is that I hate my birthday.

When people ask, “When’s your birthday?” I tend to mumble, “Oh . . . in May . . .”, trailing off to volumes no human ear will ever be able to hear & then immediately changing the subject to something more pleasant. “So puppies, cutest things ever, wouldn’t you agree?”

It stresses me out, no kidding. I hate aging (I know!) & I hate how you are left with this expectation of “today must be super awesome & the best day ever of all time that I will ever have because I was born on this day x amount of years ago!”.

However, this year, my birthday anxiety has been considerably less so (although still present, I must admit)  & here is why:

  1. You must absolutely avoid making comparisons between yourself and your friends, family, classmates, coworkers, celebrities, random people for whom you can only make up stories. Although some of us have had similar upbringings & similar experiences, no one has ever lived the exact same life. We are not on a time line, things happen when they happen. I fully believe that people have a great amount of control over their lives (more than we often think we do!), but there is no way we can see into the future, you have no idea what the universe has in store for you, so let yourself be surprised.
  2. Face it. Your birthday will be here every year until you are not so you might as well learn to deal with it. Quit pretending it doesn’t exist.
  3. Review your accomplishments. Have you forgotten all the wonderful things you’ve achieved in your lifetime? Or the many experiences you’ve had? Now is the time to remind yourself that you are in fact, pretty awesome, and that this new year of your life presents an opportunity for even more personal growth.
  4. Set your own new year resolution. While we are talking about personal growth, what would you really like to accomplish? I am planning to move to an entirely new city & start graduate school, but your goals don’t have to be so drastic. I am also planning on buying a hula hoop, painting more, and getting better at playing the mandolin.
  5. Merge! I have been lucky the past few years in that my birthday has coincided with other celebratory occasions. My 21st was exactly the same day as my sister’s graduation from college, My 22nd was conveniently the day after my first year anniversary with my then boyfriend, this year one of my closest friends is having her engagement party the day before my birthday, & I am lumping in celebrating my 23rd with celebrating my graduation from college doing something small, a dinner with some friends the week after.
    What I’ll probably be doing next year & what you can do this year if no  special occasions match up with your birthday is make up your own holiday to celebrate! Declare the day International Wear Fairy Wings & Blow Bubbles Day or Super Underwear DanceFest! Use your Google & see if anything was invented on your birthday, celebrate that too! Plan a weekend trip & celebrate being on the road!

    Not worrying so much about, “this day has to be special because it’s my birthday” & choosing to think instead, “this day is going to be fun because I want it to be that way” is the best attitude to have. Combining your birthday with another celebration takes the focus off of you, which I find alleviates the stress immensely.

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