Make Birthdays Great Again

Make Birthdays Great Again

Sometimes people feel weird celebrating their special day and don't like all of the attention they receive. I believe it's time to embrace the big day!

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Growing up, birthdays seem to be the best days ever. Going to school and having your mom bring the entire class cupcakes and going all out for your themed party seemed like givens. As we became teenagers, parties started to turn into casual dinners and the inevitable photoshoots. But after turning 21, I've heard many people say that the birthdays just go "down-hill." Adults start to look at it as another year closer to death and start getting embarrassed by their age. We absolutely have to break this stigma.

Last year was my nineteenth birthday and I didn't want to just go to dinner. I wanted the cake, decorations, guest list, and party music. Being a freshman in college, many of my friends were at different universities. This didn't stop me. I had friends that drove four hours just for the party! It was a great excuse to catch up, hang out and celebrate. It was a night full of all of my favorite people that I will never forget.

Birthdays are the perfect excuse to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you. Post an Instagram story of your favorite picture of them, give them a call and tell them why you love them, and just make the day about them! As hard as it is for some of you to admit, it feels good when people do it. Birthdays are the one day out of the year when it is acceptable to be all about you.

The next time you find yourself dreading your birthday, remember that every age is important and the "fun birthdays" never run out. I don't care if you're turning 21 or 81, you better celebrate! Just accept the gifts, kind words, and the unusually large amount of attention that the day brings.

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An Open Letter To My Unexpected Best Friend

You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better.
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“It’s so amazing when someone comes to your life and you expect nothing out of it but suddenly there right in front of you is everything you ever need.”

-Unknown

Dear Unexpected Best Friend,

You were the person I never thought I would speak to and now you are my very best friend. You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better. I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today. You’ve taught me what it means to be selfless, caring, patient, and more importantly adventurous.

You don’t realize how much better my life has become and all because you came out of nowhere. I didn’t see you coming. I just saw you on occasion, and now I can’t see my life without you in it. It’s funny how life works itself out like that. Our unexpected friendship filled a hole in my life that I didn’t know existed.

I don’t even remember what life was like before you came along; it most likely had a lot less laughter and spontaneity than it does today. I can call you about anything and you would drop whatever you're doing to help me in any situation. You know when I need encouragement. You know when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. You always know exactly what to say.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

I couldn’t have found a better friend than you if I tried. We balance each other out in the best way possible. You are most definitely the ying to my yang, and I don’t care how cliché that sounds. Because of you, I’ve learned to stop caring what people think and to do my own thing regardless of any backlash I might receive. You are my very favorite part of what makes me who I am to this day.

It’s as if I wished up a best friend, and poof—you appeared right in front of me. I am so beyond blessed to have you and I wouldn’t trade the world for all our memories. Thanks for coming out of nowhere.

Love you forever and a day.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Medders

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In 2019 We Are Redefining Self-Care Because Life Is Not Toxic, Your Attitude Is

Nothing is more important than taking care of your mental health. Period. But think twice before cutting someone out of your life and deeming them "toxic"

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"When we self-regulate well, we are better able to control the trajectory of our emotional lives and resulting actions based on our values and sense of purpose."
-Amy Leigh Mercree

With the new year inspiring all part of our lives, it's important to address this idea of 'self-care' that is so widely preached. Self-care, simply defined, is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. However, these lines have seemed to be blurred to a significant extent lately.

Our society has taken a few steps back in the treatment of our fellow peers lately. Whether it's the force of authoritarian violence, neo-nazi rallies, objectification of women, or denial of human rights to various non-dominant groups-- there is no denying that America has some strides to make. But how?

How, in such an individualistic society, do we learn that depending on people is a vulnerable strength rather than a weakness? In a country that places emphasis on being self-made, we are trained to believe that any form of codependency makes one weaker. So, we practice "self-care". We cut off those confrontational friends that try to change our life plans. We toss the relationships that don't support us in every decision we make. We quit jobs that make us unhappy after three weeks. We label everything as "toxic" when in reality it's just something that has denied us of that American instant gratification we crave so innately.

Relationships, whether friendships, intimate connections, or professional careers are not a singular commitment. So many apathetic actions are cloaked under this blanket of "self-care". There is a limit between watching out for your mental health and using it as an underlying excuse to hurt those around you. Just because you are troubled for a short period doesn't always mean that the person is "toxic" to you. Sometimes, it serves as an indicator that this relationship is worth working through and working for.

Now, I am a huge proponent for taking care of yourself in daily activities! Through a life of mindfulness and meditation, memories with good friends, and hobbies that fulfill you, it is still important to check in with yourself and see what attitudes need to be managed. But instead of making rash decisions and dropping everyone around you in your life, take these feelings inwards and work on yourself. If you feel a relationship not working, ask yourself whether its a conflict of interest or ideology, maybe even a miscommunication--instead of breaking things off and insisting you're an "independent woman" who was "being held back". There is pride in working through issues, but only if you allow yourself to be codependent.

This is by far my greatest struggle in life. The second things go wrong in a relationship, I just convince myself that I am independent--I was on my own before and I can sure as hell do it again! I convince myself that the other person just wasn't "the one" or that "if my friendships are meant to be, they'll just...be?" I'm here to tell you that I understand what it's like being an independent person trying to let people in. But please, just don't use your inability to transparently work through issues as "self-care."

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