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Two Decades of Birthdays

Alert the media! I turned 20 this past Friday! The Big 2-0!

I'd like to think I'll always remember all of my birthdays, although that might be tricky as I get older. Some will naturally be more memorable, like turning 20 in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. Some were a blur of joint parties with my little brother at children's museums and grandma's house. Water slides, piñatas, makeovers, fancy hotel rooms, and surprise parties. Thanks to my parents, these stages of life are forever documented in pictures and home videos.

Birthdays. A reason to celebrate someone turning one year older. Another trip around the sun. Funny how one day can mean so much to one person while meaning nothing to the rest of the world. Each human being has their own date on the calendar (except for twins, triplets, etc.) For some it coincides with ringing in a New Year. For others it falls around the holidays, more reason for Halloween costuming and Christmas cheer. For my family, the summer months are prime birthday time: May, June, July, and then September. Always guaranteed some sort of sweet treat topped with candles. Make a wish, blow them out, look up and see the smiling faces of friends and family.

Even after they're gone, birthdays of loved ones and significant figures are remembered and celebrated. Recognizing what age they would've been and saying a special prayer for their soul in Heaven. I recently discovered I have the same birthday as Breonna Taylor, an EMT who would've turned 27 if not for her tragic death at the hand of police officers. It's scary to be a young person during this time. Participating in events and movements that will be in history books read by my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I'm thankful to be given this voice and to be among some of the bravest people who aren't shying away from difficult conversations.

Some people don't like to make a huge fuss of their birthday and I get that. Not being the center of attention and no pressure of liking the gifts. Not recognizing the day is easy, it's not like you wake up feeling completely different. But it's something worth celebrating. You've made it to another year! Simply acknowledge it, even if your version of decorating is as minimalistic as Dwight's from "The Office".

The coronavirus pandemic has not dampened the birthday spirit, families make the day special for their children and loved ones with car parades and Zoom parties. Babies are still born everyday, brave mothers and fathers bringing a new life into this crazy world.

I have mixed feelings about no longer being a teenager. Intimidated by the realities of adulthood and milestones on the horizon. Yet ready to leave my teenage years behind. I'm not afraid of getting old. With each year brings more opportunities to create memories and enjoy life. I strive to live until 100 like my great-grandmother. Here's to another birthday and many more! Hope you find something or someone worth celebrating today.

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