What It's Like Having A Birthday Without My Family

In short: it does get lonely.

Most people my age have probably grown up celebrating their birthdays with birthday parties, and with the people they love and value most: friends and especially parents. As we get a little bit older and enter our teenage years, birthday parties may cease to exist, but birthday celebrations with our family and closest of friends will usually continue. During the college-bound ages, it finally hits: we'll have our birthdays without our families.

Maybe this realization has already happened to some people -- especially those with summer birthdays, like me. Our birthdays usually happen during a summer program, and it just feels...different.

Here's usually how my birthday goes:

I start my day by waking up and realizing that it's my birthday, only to realize that there is no one to celebrate these first moments with. Then, I would try to call my family, only to have them not answer my phone call... probably because they have not woken up yet. So, I decide to go on with my day. This, my friend, is the first episode of loneliness. Fortunately, though, my friends will eventually wish me a happy birthday, in which my feelings of loneliness would be reduced by a little bit. I feel a little better that at least a couple of people know and still somewhat care that it is my birthday. On top of that, birthday wishes on social media also alleviate these feelings of loneliness.

All goes well for some time until I realize that I really, really, really miss my family. I've already missed them ever since the time I parted ways with them, but on this particular day I can't help but imagine the exciting things that my family and I would be doing had I been home on my birthday. Or, even the bottom line: spending quality time with my family on the day that commemorates my nth year of living on this earth -- my special day. Instead, I have to follow through with some summer program schedule, or even worse, take a college class midterm.

Essentially, nothing changes on your birthday other than a cupcake or two, some birthday wishes, and if you're lucky, a birthday card signed by your co-workers. That is, except if your summer/college friends are solid; in other words, truly your friends. If that's the case, sure you'll miss your family, but your special day won't feel as lonely -- or even better -- not lonely at all.

This year, I am blessed to have a close family of co-workers this summer, and they have made my birthday a truly special birthday without my family.

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