Birthdays are weird

A birthday is simply a celebration of how many years someone has survived on earth.

Photo Courtesy of Morguefile/priyanphoenix

A birthday is simply a celebration of how many years someone has survived on earth.

Zoey Becker , Online Opinion Editor

“Do you believe in birthdays?” are the words I saw on a random website last year that lately I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Since I was only browsing the site out of pure boredom, I scrolled right past the post. But ever since then, those five words have stuck with me. Do you believe in birthdays? Do you believe in the celebration of the sum of someone’s years existing? Birthdays are something  celebrated the moment we are born. The day you are born isn’t your first birthday, or your “zero-th” birthday. It’s the day you were born. And for as many years as you live after that, that same random date that you just happened to be born on is celebrated for your birth. It’s a very strange concept if you really think about it.

If you couldn’t tell, birthdays happen to be on my mind because as I am writing this, it is my 16th birthday. I was born at 5:14 p.m. A lot of people don’t find the actual time they first were born into the world to be important, but for me it is very monumental. I woke up this morning with the thought that although it is my birthday, I was not technically 16 years old yet. And throughout the whole day I was waiting for the actual moment when I officially turned 16. But what was I doing at 5:14 p.m., the exact time that I was introduced into the world that I have come to know and (usually) love 16 years ago? I was doing Spanish homework. I didn’t notice I had missed it until two hours later, when I was attempting to correct my cousin for asking how it felt to be “old”. That question has always struck me as being weird. In those two hours of being “old,” I hadn’t even noticed anything different at all. It was strange how I can just go on with my day, when technically at this time 16 years ago I was a tiny infant who knew absolutely nothing at all. It was strange how I didn’t feel one second older than I had two days ago, or two weeks ago or two months ago. It feels strange to step back and realize how unimportant and uneventful time can be. I hardly ever get the feeling of being “old” or “young”, unless I’m hanging out with my sister’s friends or hanging out with my grandma’s friends.  Such a strange question. But then again, birthdays are a very strange concept.

When I was a little girl turning six years old, I could rattle off an endless list of things I wanted for my birthday on any day of the year. Now ten years later, I am 16, and I can’t think of a single material thing that I want. I used to always beg for the newest American Girl Doll or, as I got older, the next phone update or video game console, but now the only things I want are not tangible items. I’ve learned something during the past couple of weeks, as I’ve been asked the same question by family and friends. As you turn older, the things you want become the things that money can’t buy. I have every material thing I need. Much of my family, however, still reminds me that, “Sixteen is a big birthday” and  “Isn’t there anything you want that’s special?” as I continue to fall short on answers. The only special things I want are not tangible and can’t be wrapped in a bow and presented to me. This realization is extremely bittersweet.

Birthdays are weird, and as you get older, they get even weirder. Ten or 20 years from now, my birthdays will probably be as important to me as any other day. The celebration of the passage of time will no longer be important. But for now, birthdays are still weird.

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