Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Strange Relationship with Birthdays

Photography By Anita

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm not too fond of birthdays. Weird, right? A birthday is the one day every year where your friends and family make a big deal about you and tell you how thankful they are for you. You also get presents. Who doesn't love a good present?!

Despite all of these great things, I've cried on my birthday every year since I was sixteen. The fact that I was old enough to receive my license and possess the ability to drive a car anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted, was too much for me. To me, this new freedom meant I was no longer a little girl. I had to now sit in the drivers seat and could no longer snuggle on my mother's lap while watching Winnie the Pooh.

But it's not just the getting older or loosing my sweet, naive childhood that I dread. I understand 23 is still extremely young, and the Grim Reaper isn't standing on my doorstep. I know there are many things I have yet to experience and many things I still don't understand.  What bothers me most, actually, is the self-reflection that I feel is required on a birthday.

What did I do with this past year of my life? Did I waste it? How many times did I say and do things I shouldn't have? How many times did I hurt friends and family members? How many opportunities to share the love of Christ did I let slip by?

The Light Fantastic

As you can see, my self reflection quickly turns into self pity, harping on every bad thing I did within the past year. My tendency to be overly nostalgic amplifies these feelings as my inner psyche likes to scream, "The earlier years were so much better!" Those are hardly the ingredients for a happy birthday.

However, I'm learning more and more that these are lies. Yes, I'm 100% sure there are times I screwed up in the past year. I did things I wish I hadn't. Wallowing in the mistakes I made won't fix them, though. Thinking that life was better way back when is an insult to my all friends and family.

So, my question now is, "What the heck am I doing?" These muddled self reflections of the past help no one. Tomorrow I will strive to look forward to the future instead of dismally wishing I had done things differently. There is so much to look forward to! Fun weekend trips are planned, time with my dear family will be spent, and I'm getting married, for goodness sake!

Once I turn 23 tomorrow I'll still be human. I'll eventually make a mistake. So what? So does every single person living on this earth. That's what we do. We mess things up. I am learning, however, that it's our reaction to these mistakes and our hope for the future that gets us through the day. Our self-imposed wallowing will never solve anything.

Love, Alli

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