Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Birthdays

Happy Better Than the Alternative Tuesday, everybody! Did you survive Halloween? Do you have a sugar hangover today? I do not because we don’t get trick or treaters in my building. It’s kind of a bummer because there is nothing cuter than small children in costumes. Thankfully, Blondie sent out a picture of my angel baby niece in her ladybug (ladybug!) costume right before I hit the hay last night. Now THAT was what I was waiting to see all day.

This is my favorite Halloween costume Mrs. Obi-wan ever made for me. She's so creative. I fully plan on stealing this idea for my own child someday.

Speaking of the most beautiful baby in the world, our BTAT them this week is birthdays. Hooray for birthdays!

I love me some cake

When you’re younger, birthdays are a thing to celebrate. Parties, cake, candles, presents, cake, guests, singing, cake. It’s all to celebrate the day you came into this world with people who are glad you did. I, famously, love birthdays and love celebrating them.

Hooray! It's my birthday!

As we get older and approach the “big” birthdays, something changes. 18 is a “big” one and so is 21. But as soon as 22, 23, 24 hit, people start to celebrate less and see birthdays as yet another year when they don’t have XXXX in their lives, aren’t yet married and haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to by the time they were 25. Quarter-life crisis. 30 is like an “uh-oh” for so many people I’ve known. “Uh-oh” because they don’t have a house, 2.5 kids, a dog and the perfect career. 40 is still the classic mid-life crisis time and it doesn’t seem to me that, until you get to the big 5-0, people start celebrating again.

Why isn't everyone else happy on their birthdays? There's cake, after all.

Why?

So many of my friends have become depressed around their birthdays and only half-heartedly celebrate with their family and friends.

Why is that?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past ten years, it’s that birthdays are a time of celebration. One more year here with us. I cried on my husband’s (then boyfriend) birthday the year he came home from Iraq, I was so happy he made it home. It wasn’t like it was a “big” birthday, it was his 28th, I think. It was just such a gift to have him home with all his fingers and toes. No birthday was just another birthday after that.

30th birthday? Woohoo! Let's jump out of a plane!

My closest family members having birthdays after battling cancer makes me want to jump for joy to celebrate their LIFE, their being HERE. My beloved aunts and uncles who came thisclose to not being here only to fight back and see another wonderful birthday celebrated with their kids and grandkids. It’s just so beautiful.

Don’t have the life you envisioned for yourself when you were 16? Well, you were 16 and things change. Go with it. Really cool things can happen when you least expect it. Don’t like your job? Start working on a new one. Does that mean going back to school? Don’t be scared. I’m doing it now and it’s nothing to be afraid of. You can change your life, you just have to decide to do it. You are in charge of your own happiness.

Maybe you’ve not experienced losing/almost losing someone so you don’t know what it is to truly appreciate, not just celebrate, birthdays. I get it. Not everyone has. But I hope that doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate and celebrate your own birthday just because ohmygodyou’regettingolder because that’s stupid. Yes, I said that’s STUPID.

31st birthday and there are BALLOONS!

Celebrate. Eat cake (ummm…hello, cake is yummy). Be showered with love by your friends and family. Smile. Say “thank you” when people wish you a happy birthday, not “ugh”. Take a moment and show some appreciation for the life you have had, the life you’re living and all the days to come. Because it beats the hell out of the alternative.

And if it’s your birthday and you want a shout out from me, just let me know. I’m a very good singer of the “Happy Birthday” song.

Now go out and run!

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