It’s your birthday, and I’ll overthink if I want to…

It was my youngest son’s second birthday this week. We had a lovely day (despite the rain), with presents, balloons, grandparents and the constant crazed screeching of party blowers.

I don’t know if it’s the excitement and subsequent comedown, the volume of cake and wine consumed, or the reminder of passing time, but I always get so reflective on birthdays.

Whether it’s my birthday, or a loved one’s, there always seem to be key themes to my ruminations.

Birth
As a Mother, obviously my children’s special days always have me reminiscing about their births. For one, I always wonder why we celebrate the babies, when it was us Mama’s that put all the hard, and very painful, work in! (So I always make sure to treat myself to a glass or two of fizz).

But, children’s glory-stealing aside, I do enjoy the opportunity to think back on those two incredible occasions. The pain, the exhaustion, the fear, the pride, the elation. There’s nothing that can be compared to bringing life into the world.

Second born at a few days old

Neither of their arrivals went according to plan, but there really is nothing like childbirth to remind you how powerful and resilient women are. (Except from the woman in the cubicle next to me on the induction suite with baby #2, panting, crying and begging to be examined when she wasn’t even in labour yet… )

Age
As a child it’s a badge of honour, but unless you have to fill in a form or perhaps are some kind of avid survey-taker, it’s not often you really think about your age as an adult. So when your own birthday comes around, it’s almost a bit of a shock to remember how old you are!

In my head I’m so much younger than I am. I love Disney, dressing up and colouring – what do you mean I’m 34?!

A weekend away with Uni friends obviously has to include
Disney dressing up (this was my 29th birthday…)

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved the TV programme Friends (actually I still do!) I remember thinking how cool and grown up they were, and how much I wanted to be exactly like them when I grew up. And now when I watch repeats, I still feel that emotion. Then I realise that in reality, I’m older than they were for half the show and between my friends and I, we’ve experienced all of those “grown up” scenarios I always found so entertaining, and many more besides….!

Age is a funny beast, with its complete disconnect between mind and body. I know the old saying “age is just a number,” but my surgery scars and frown lines do seem to suggest that isn’t true…!

Time
Birthdays really remind you of the passing of time – and the older you get, the quicker it goes.

And whilst I do enjoy reminiscing with my friends and family, as an anxious mind I can really struggle with change. Ruminating alone on the passing of time can often lead me to think about what has been lost, what will be lost in the future, and dare I say the big D.

I know I need to work on thinking harder about what I’ve gained over the years – new skills and experiences, our own home, children – and also what has remained a safe and comforting constant – my husband, family, the most wonderful friendships…

Note to self – remember this when you turn 35 later this year…

Accomplishments
As a child, age brings lovely milestones like walking, learning to read, earning a swimming badge. As an adult, it’s altogether more competitive and judgemental.

“By xx I was married with 3 kids”; “Hmm, by your age I ran my own business and had learned to craft ships in bottles”; “Oh yes, by then I’d travelled the world, qualified as an astronaut and re-trained as a yoga master.”

What you have, or haven’t, achieved by each passing year can become a real weight on your shoulders.

The dread of the next birthday dinner when you’ll be required to produce the scroll of “by this age I have…” achievements – on which you will be judged – can really distract you.

From understanding what it is YOU actually want from your own life, not what others demand from you. And from the appreciation of what you have, and how hard you no doubt worked for it.

Plus no one ever asks about the most important achievement – if you’re happy.

Tell me below how birthdays make you feel.

18 thoughts on “It’s your birthday, and I’ll overthink if I want to…

Add yours

  1. Awhie, this was a lovely post! Very pleased you are treating yourself too! If you had to choose, who do you think you are like from friends? For me, I have to say, Phoebe! I have such a quirky/ fun side! 😀
    Nanny M xx

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    1. Thank you so much! I definitely think I’m a (very) strange mix of Phoebe and Monica… It’s funny how, when we were younger, nobody wanted to own up to being a kooky Pheebs, and now we’re all like “yup, hands up to the Buffay!!!!” x

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    2. It’s a roller coaster of feelings for me. Part of me feels like I’m getting old too fast but I always remind myself that I am lucky to have made it to this age. Not everyone is so fortunate. I’m trying to be intentional with my time and life in general and that is helping me live my life to the fullest. Birthday should be fun😊

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  2. I’ve yet to have my first born’s first birthday, but he’s nearly 6 months old so we’re nearly half way there! I think I’ll have all those emotions too and just be amazed at how quickly he’s grown!

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    1. Ohh goodness, first birthday is a REAL roller coaster of emotion!! Seeing them grow is the most amazing gift, though.

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  3. Ah hey, I’d be Phoebe too! She’s cool. Anyway, being induced. Urgh. I remember spending the night on that maternity ward with all the other women alone and crying behind their curtains. Miserable! But happy birthday to your son! Lovely post. Xx

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    1. Thank you so much! Yeah, induction is a horrible old kettle of fish. I was induced with both, but had two very different experiences. My body is dreadful at evicting babies!! xx

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  4. I don’t really have any feelings on my birthday, I am still so sure I’ve just left school. I can’t be almost 36.
    New year on the other hand sends me in to a frenzy!
    Happy birthday to your son x x

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    1. Yes! It’s a head f*ck that one…! I keep seeing ads for its 25th anniversary and I don’t believe it can be true.

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    1. One big mega celebration!!! Are you cross with your parents for being born on Christmas Eve?! Our eldest is born second week of Jan and I often ponder if he’ll be mad when he’s an adult and all his mates are too skint to go out and celebrate after Christmas and New year…!

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    1. Good plan… although the older you get, the better the hiding place needs to be! This year, you may well find me on the roof…!

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  5. My next birthday will be the big 4 Oh no…gulp! I enjoy my birthdays now because really I’m just a spectator, balloons go up, there’s always a cake with candles and presents to open and I’m not the one blowing out the candles or indeed opening the presents as there’s usually a scuffle and lots of little hands grabbing at the gift wrapping! 😂

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  6. Such a wonderful read. I loved every word I just read. And speaking of birthdays, I don’t really do much on my birthday. To me, its just another ordinary day, and also I get a year older, which is never a good thing. I want to remain forever young. Ha, but lets be honest here, that’s never going to happen.

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