It’s that time of the year again. To tell you the truth, I’ve been a little apprehensive anticipating this day, seeing it approach day after day. Now that it’s here I’m thankful to God that I lived to see another year but I also have a few things to say, to myself that is, about it.
You see, after a certain age birthdays cease to be that joyous occasion where you become the center of the universe. After 25, or maybe earlier than that depending on when you decide to start taking yourself seriously, birthdays are not all about gifts, celebrating with friends and smiling at a computer screen while scrolling down to catch up with the endless posts on your facebook timeline wishing you many happy returns. After 25 birthdays are played down, or up if you will, to benchmarks. Where am I now? What have I achieved so far? What are my plans?
And that’s only natural; because before 25, or earlier than that, you are eager for time to run by so that you can finish school, get a job, find your better half, etc. You are looking forward to see what the future has for you. Not that after 25 you become a dead-beat with no dreams and no expectations whatsoever. No. It’s just that you realize how fast time has gone by and you want it to slow down; because you understand what life is all about. You know what matters and what not. You know it’s not about balloons and surprise parties where you have to act surprised. Your birthday now is an occasion to reflect on the past year and start planning for the year ahead.
Now, if I was writing this last year, I guess I would’ve sounded more blue; because when I look back at the past year I know I can’t be thankful enough, and I realize how God gave me things I hadn’t even thought of while I was busy hoping for different things.
This time last year, I was still working 9-5, and growing more and more sick of it. This time last year I hadn’t even decided to start writing the novel which I’ve written and published now. This time last year I hadn’t had a clear plan of what I want to do or where I want to be. I don’t know if those where the direct reasons but I remember that I was a bit depressed. On that day I felt lonely probably more than any other day in my life. I went for breakfast with friends and they put a candle on the pancakes, which was the only celebration I had, and I’m totally okay with that because those days where you celebrated your birthday with friends and relatives like it’s a big deal, those days are over. Now everyone is busy with their own life, so a candle on a pancake was pretty good if you ask me. I received a few calls, facebook greetings despite hiding my birth date, it was nice, and then in the afternoon depression set in. I went for a walk around the block, alone, I was mad some of the closest people to me didn’t even remember it was my birthday, which is silly I know but I couldn’t help it, nor could my inner child or the drama queen inside me.
I remember receiving 2 gifts from 2 friends, one a week before my birthday and the other a week after. But it wasn’t about gifts, I just felt that suddenly everyone was drifting away, and it’s time I learned to live alone, celebrate my way, give myself a gift on my birthday, and to not let myself feel lonely even if I had to do everything alone.
Thankfully, it worked. I decided that my gift for myself would be my first published book. I decided that on my birthday I would sit with myself, reflect on what was and what’s to come, and to start planning for a new project. The most important thing is that no matter how bad I felt at any time of my life, I’ve never felt like I didn’t deserve it or felt angry at God, because I was sure that He knows best, and that I had to be patient, and God never failed me, He has always given me better than I expected.
So yes, this year I feel like I’ve grown up, matured, I feel that I know where I’m standing and what I want to be, in sha’a Allah. Yet, I pray to God that my sister will forget my birthday, because I can imagine what she would say after “Happy birthday”. And what’s annoying/hilarious about my sister is that she doesn’t do hints, no! she says it as it is. Like for example, after a creatively annoying way of telling me that I am an official “3anes” she might mention the fact that at 28 she had had 2 daughters. God help me.
But it doesn’t matter, because I’ve made up my mind that I would enjoy this day, and I pray to God that I will, more than I’m planning to.
Happy birthday to me.