My birthday is coming up soon. When I first realized it was so close I was shocked at how fast the past year went by and I started to think about what I was doing this time last year. After thinking for a couple of minutes I remembered exactly what I was doing. I was extremely frustrated and stressed out from trying to plan the perfect 21st birthday.
Turning 21 should be really fun, but I ended up spending way too much time and energy trying to make it perfect. In our society we make such an ordeal out of birthdays, especially if it happens to be your 21st birthday. There is all of this pressure to have a perfect celebration and we start to worry about doing something impressive enough for our friends, when the celebration is supposed to be about ourselves in the first place. I found myself trying to figure out the perfect restaurant that would be appealing to the large group of friends that I invited. I also had to plan car pools for everyone since many of us do not have cars, and figure out who would be leaving after dinner and who would want to go get a few drinks. Frankly, all of the planning was exhausting.
The first problem with this scenario was that I was making too big of a deal out of something that is not really that big of a deal. It’s exciting to turn 21, but I have since realized that it is nowhere near the most significant moment of my life. That’s true for everyone since we all have experiences that will be monumental moments in our lives due to our unique interests and talents. The second problem with the massive birthday celebration plan is that I was stressing myself out over accommodating other people instead of focusing on what I really wanted to do. I would have been content to eat some cake and drink a few glasses of wine with my friends, but I was worried that it wouldn’t be the huge celebration that everyone else was expecting.
It is completely fine to celebrate your birthday, but don’t get too stressed out about making it perfect, because there’s not really such a thing as perfect anyways. Ultimately, it is just another day and you do not need to make it be the highlight of your month. You also do not need to worry about what other people think or succumb to the peer pressure. Honestly if you want to go cosmic bowling and have a pizza party, you should do that. If some of your friends make fun of you for being “lame”, then maybe they aren’t the friends that you want to have at your celebration anyways.
So what am I doing this year? I honestly have no idea. I’ll probably have some sort of cake or dessert with some friends and then go out for the rest of the night. I don’t know exactly what time, who all will want to come or where we’ll go, but that is kind of the beauty of it. I’m keeping my birthday low key this year, sort of like a birthday present to myself.
By: Christine Skopec, Anxiety In Teens contributor