My dad would often remind me that I was the child who loved birthdays. I would often jump out of my bed and announce to the world that July 11 is the day I was brought into this world.
With my head constantly in the clouds, I’ve dreamt of all possible birthday celebrations (including surprises) and due to my high expectations, especially in my teenage years, birthdays became a source of frustration.
Soon enough birthdays became bittersweet—I’ve always had a healthy mix of dread and joyous anticipation over it. Some would say I had the right balance of birthday blues and birthday cheers.
My first birthday away from home and the loving embraces of my parents and my baby brother (who is rarely affectionate) brought about a different sense of melancholy in me.
It’s my second birthday married but it’s the first one in an entirely different continuum. On the day of my first wedding anniversary which was actually the day before my birthday, I was joyous, having spent it with my older sister who I only spent my birthday with once before, my cute nephew, my brother-in-law, and my good friend, Nikko. I thought I was handling it well until the day came and emotions just flooded through.
Two weeks after turning 29, my heart was still in a state of questioning the brevity of life. And while I believe that I am still young and the best is ahead, I cannot help but wonder where the time has gone.
The 10 years after graduation just whizzed by and I came to realize that while the days are long, the years are not.
Without meaning to sound like a cliché, you realize that the days you remember aren’t the ones where you got a job promotion or pulled off a crazy big event. Yes, they mattered but the ones that cling to you at night when you are alone and cannot sleep are the moments spent with the people you love the most.
And while I have always lived my life to prioritize my loved ones, there are still pittances of sadness because there’s this wish inside that the moments should have been appreciated more.
In the chaos of our everyday lives, we forget what matters most. I have been guilty of this: getting home late, leaving the house early, missing events because I was too busy chasing my career.
While I am proud of all that I have achieved in my 20s, I can’t help but realize the magnitude of what it’s worth, especially when it can be taken in a blink of an eye.
You can be on top of the hill one second and starting over in the next. Then you ask yourself, what was it all for? Money? Fame? The latest handbag? Instagram followers?
Birthdays remind us of the beautiful celebration called life and it makes us evaluate how we are spending its precious moments. In the past year, I’ve seen highs and experienced lows and through all of it, I’ve gained a greater love and appreciation for the ones I love the most because they are the only true constants in a world full of change.