Exactly two weeks ago today, I turned 23 years old. A ripe age; an age wherein everybody reminds me that I’m still so young, and I am, so why are birthdays so depressing?
Early that Sunday morning, I woke up and checked my phone to find that I had been inundated with “happy birthday” messages from a few friends and several tens of people I’ve never even met. Online validation is great, though short lived, and I was quickly finding myself filled with the same feeling of dread that I had allowed to weigh me down in the days leading up to my birthday.
This was my second birthday spent with my boyfriend, and I think he knew what to expect; he’s always wonderful, but he was particularly so on that day. He knew that there would be waterworks, cuddles needed, and little sense of celebration on my part, yet he still wanted to try to give me the best birthday he could, regardless. He succeeded, but the depression lingered in the back of my mind. I think he puts it down to me being a January baby.
Fast forward two weeks later, and I am currently lying on the couch, too deep in thought to get up and go to bed – and too comfortable anyway. It’s 12:30am, so this is when my deepest thoughts begin to spill out in the form of tears from tired eyes, and voices, unusually unlike my own, from my mind.
It hit me.
I had so many expectations for myself when I was younger that I noticed I have been subconsciously beating myself up for not achieving them by now.
But perhaps I need to learn to embrace the feeling of satisfaction I gain from the smaller things; frequently writing blog posts, taking my medication, getting ample sleep at night. Perhaps it is worth noting that it isn’t when we get there in life that counts as much as the process of getting there – and that I need to remind myself every January that I am not too old, I am loved, I am doing fine, I will get somewhere.
To anybody who spends their birthday feeling down, you are not alone. You’re doing great, and I’m proud you’ve made it this far.