Beating the “Birthday Blues”

Last week I turned 26 years old. Most people are excited for their birthdays and usually have plans of extravagant dinners and trips to celebrate another revolution around the sun, but I haven’t been able to identify with that feeling in a while. To be honest, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed a birthday since I turned 23.

Me at 23

It seems that every year since then, I’ve been met with waves of sadness and frustration instead of happiness and excitement. I never wanted to voice those feelings because I felt that if I did, I would seem as if I were taking for granted the blessing of seeing another year of life. However, now that I sit and reflect on it, I was doing myself a disservice for not giving my feelings the attention they needed. This year only made it worse because after Kobe, Gigi, and others passed in the accident back in January, I made myself a promise. I promised that this year, I would celebrate the gift that is “life” and go somewhere and do something. The tables turned with the Coronavirus due to social distancing, and that plan was now out of the question.

So here I was, stuck inside and forced to deal with these emotions for another year. But I wanted this year to be different so I asked myself a question… and then I did what any millennial would do when they have a question about something- I googled it.

Bingo. After reading the first few results, I learned that many people deal with these feelings as another birthday approaches. I even found a name for it… it’s called the “birthday blues”. These feelings usually arise when we feel like we aren’t as accomplished as we would have liked to be. Fear of aging and uncertainty of the future are also causes of the “birthday blues”.

Great, now I have a name for it! See, the thing about fighting battles is this, you can’t fight what you don’t face… and you can’t face what you don’t see. Hopefully, by being able to see that this thing isn’t uncommon and there is a name for it, I can be more comfortable accepting the waves as they come. Another great thing is that I now recognize where those feelings may be arising from and why I’m feeling them.

Uncertainty is not something I’m fond of. I like knowing what’s coming so that I can be prepared. When the birthday blues first began for me, it was at a time where I no longer had a set in stone plan. I was gearing up to start graduate school but I knew it only lasted for so long and I had no clue what was going to be at the end of that finish line. I still don’t but I’m trying to reassure myself that it’s ok not to see the picture clearly.

I read a quote once that said, “either God shows you the end and doesn’t show you the steps to get there, or he shows you all the steps without showing you what the end looks like.” I believe that he’s shown me what the end of my journey looks and feels like but he hasn’t shown me the steps to get there. Talk about faith, right? I’m living and I’m learning daily.

I’m learning that it’s ok to not have it all figured out right now.

I’m learning that other people’s victory is not my loss.

I’m learning that equating age with how much you “should have achieved by now” is not a healthy thought process…

and I’m learning that it’s all going to be ok.

So with that being said, I hope that you are allowing yourself to feel all the feelings right now. I hope that you know that you are loved and I hope that you know that although the road may not be straight, the journey is still worthwhile.

From me to you, so much love.

Shaakira White

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