After an early birthday dinner at my parents’ house on Sunday, my brother told me there was something I needed to see. So we all trooped into the family room, where he turned on a VHS he’d found — an old home movie, first of his seventh birthday (highlight: as he listened to the musical candle on his cake play the birthday song in an endless loop, he quipped, “This will end when I’m eight”), then of my tenth (highlight: my overly-earnest, very video-camera-conscious reactions to each gift I opened).
As I watched the video, I thought about how much more important birthdays feel when you’re a kid, and they’re filled with celebrations and surprises and presents and sugar. Lots of sugar. When you’re a kid, birthdays are proof positive that you’re getting bigger and growing older, which is hugely significant to children and surprisingly less thrilling for adults. Less-thrilling-enough that for the past several years, I’ve pretty much forgotten my birthday was coming up even though it’s always been on the same date every year. I’ve just kind of started mentally skipping myself ahead to the next age a few months before it actually happens.But birthdays don’t need to be big or celebrated with parties to still be special. Watching that video with my family was a good reminder for me that even when my birthday doesn’t feel like a big deal since I’m not a kid anymore, it’s still meaningful. It’s the best of opportunities to really pause, reflect on where you’ve been and what you’ve been through, and most important, who’s been through it all with you.
Today is the last birthday of my twenties, so it does feel a little more significant than usual.
Nine years ago, Danny and I had our first date on the first birthday of my twenties.
It kind of feels like I’ve somehow come full circle, although I know the circle is nowhere near complete. There’s still so much to live through, and so many people to live through it all with.