I love birthdays. There is just something about them that feels magical. Not in the fairy tale Disney kind, nor in the slight of hand of a magician. An intangible feeling that comes from a stranger on the street wishing you a Happy Birthday, the surprise of unwrapping gifts, the rush of blowing out of candles on a cake with your name on it, or a day off from the usual.
However, this birthday. This specific birthday, I was not looking forward to. At the beginning of August my anxiety started to reach it’s peak. I would be emotional over small things as a blanket for the real problems under the bed. In my mind, 25 seemed like such a big number. It hung over my head like a headache, and just when I thought I had forgotten about it, it started throbbing again.
25 seemed to hold so much weight for such a tiny number. I felt claustrophobic from an age I hadn’t even reached yet. I was already filling my head with questions I thought I needed to have the answers to.
But a few days before my birthday, after intricate chats with those close to me and God, I discovered a peace within myself. And I thought I would share a few of the things I learnt at turning 25:
You don’t suddenly change overnight.
I’m sure when we were younger, we would wake up on our birthday and look in the mirror expecting to see some miraculous change. But the truth is, you were probably the same as the day before, and you probably will be the day after. Look unless you dyed your hair or something like that, you would pretty much be the same. So why do we expect ourselves to suddenly have the answer to the meaning of life at the age of 25. If we didn’t know it before, it’s not going to come hand wrapped and delivered to your door on your birthday. We don’t have to put pressure on ourselves to suddenly have answers.
Your timeline is not the same as someone else’s timeline.
I loved what Pastor Peter Toggs wrote on his instagram (that I happened to see just a few days before my birthday.) Nowadays we’re so worried about FOMO – the fear of missing out. And with that comes comparison easily thrown in our face via social media. I have a diverse group of friends that are all doing such amazing and different things at the age of 25. While one is studying to pursue her medicine degree, another is flying off to start her life in another country. While one is buying an apartment, another is starting her own blog. (Yes, that one is me.) It’s not about one person is doing this while the other is not. It’s about riding your very own wave. Unique and special to you. I sometimes think about Moses and other people from the bible that lived to hundreds of years old. I’m guessing 25 wasn’t the most daunting age of their lifetime.
Don’t loose your head.
We’ve got to take things within context. All of this doesn’t mean we have to sit back and relax while we watch life go by. No, by all means let’s get up, do stuff, go places and see things. Let’s live fully and intentionally whether we’re 13 or 50. Sure, age has certain limitations on us like health, finances or circumstances. But age shouldn’t have a limit on our mind. It’s such a powerful thing.
Birthdays are like New Years.
Quite technically they are. Because you have lived exactly another year. So why not use our birthday as the start of something new, instead of the end. Isn’t it a bit dreary when you turn 20, and everyone goes on about how you’re no longer a teenager? I don’t see why we can’t bring out the sparkles and write a few resolutions for the next part of our lives. Kick it into another gear instead of pressing on the breaks. We should have the same excitement of declaring our age as young 3 or 4 year olds do.
Don’t worry; I’m not entirely there yet myself. It’s quite a change in mindset. But I’m on my way.