Your Birthday: Then vs. Now

Your Birthday: Then vs. Now

The childhood drink was apple juice. Now, maybe hard apple cider?
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fAs you grow older, birthdays become less and less exciting. It's still cool to feel like you have a day dedicated to yourself, but when adult life and responsibilities get in the way, celebration may be the last thing on your mind. Each year you may realize that...maybe you're not actually excited for your "special day" like you would've been in elementary school. As I grow older I find that a few things about birthdays change dramatically as we age. Here are some things you might've forgotten about entirely.

1. A Cake

I can't tell you the last time I had an actual birthday cake. Now, this may sound sad (it sounded sad to me as I typed it), but it's not like I couldn't get one. I just never really thought to. Personally, I'm not a cake fan myself, but even still. I've never felt sad about not having icing to lick off a numbered candle on my birthday. Unless you're having a big party, a cake just seems extraneous, doesn't it?

2. The Party Itself

I think my last birthday party was when I was thirteen, no joke. Past then I would usually hang out with some friends, grab some pizza, and watch a movie or something. Nothing special. But as I've grown even more and transitioned into adulthood, it'd be a miracle if I even leave my house on my birthday. I've got schoolwork to do, cleaning to get done, not to mention all the time my usual procrastinating will take. Who has time to think about hanging out with friends? I've got a shift at work and a paper to write. I can age next year.

4. Presents

Happy birthday to me. From: me. The best part about birthdays as you get older is people find it more and more acceptable to just give you money for your special day, which means you get the best gift of all: online shopping spree. Anyone can tell you my addiction to online shopping, but it is unparalleled come my birthday. I've got $250 dollars to spend? That's $200 worth of stuff plus shipping. That plus the blessing that I don't have to fake liking gifts anymore makes it the best time of the year. I get whatever I want, and the only person that might be questioning it is my banker when I suddenly drop $300 in one weekend.

5. Friends

When I was three, I remember inviting the entirety of my daycare class to my birthday party at McDonald's. When I was thirteen, about five of my friends came over and we giggled over Twilight (yes, I was one of those kids). Now, I might invite one person over to eat pizza and complain about life. As you grow older, people get busier, and can't just have their moms drop them off at your house for a party. Schedules constantly conflict in adulthood, but in my opinion, it's a blessing in disguise. Parties can be a hassle to plan, and with only one or two other people, it's much cheaper and easier to celebrate aging. One large pizza: $7.99. Eight large pizzas: my wallet crying.

6. Excitement


As a kid, I thought my birthday was the absolute best day of the year. I couldn't wait to get presents, be showered with affection, and see all my friends at my party. Not to mention getting a year older. But as I grow older the years go by quicker and quicker; everyone tells me I'll blink and I'll be 40. Growing another year just isn't exciting anymore. It's just another year closer to more responsibilities: a year closer to having to begin my career, a year closer to being off my parents' insurance, a year closer to my car breaking down and me having to buy a new one. Aging has just become more and more stressful; is it time to retire yet?

7. The Myth of the Day Off


Birthdays used to be so special that celebration would consume the entirety of my day's activities. It was wake up, have an awesome breakfast, get calls from my family, get ready for my party, have my party, then enjoy a super-long sleepover with a select group of my friends. Now it's like, 'Yes, happy birthday to me, but I have a paper due in two hours that I've barely written a paragraph for. Then I have to go to work.' Life doesn't stop for your special day anymore. That means you can't stop either.


Don't worry, birthdays don't suddenly get sucky as we grow older. We just have to celebrate them in a different way. It's more fun to celebrate as an adult, but those celebrations come with more responsibilities and consequences. So we just have to party safely, and enjoy this weird stage of adultish-youth while we can. As I'm told later on into real adulthood birthdays do just sort of get sucky. Guess we will all find out. Happy birthday!


Cover Image Credit: http://healthquest-fitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/birthdayparty.jpg

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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Enjoy Your Family While You Can, Because Family Is Everything

Make as many memories as you can with them.

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We often hear family means everything. And it is. There's nothing like family. They're your automatic people. They're stuck with you and you're stuck with them, whether you like it or not. Sometimes, or a lot of the time, they annoy the crap out of you. You fight. You make up. They annoy you again. But the commonality with all of these things, the reason why you can never stay mad, they're your family. And you love each other unconditionally.

My family and I are incredibly close. We always have been. For as long as I can remember, my entire family has always been there – parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. We truly embody the big family. And I couldn't be more grateful for that.

I have always been the type of person to hang out with my family. From movie nights to Disney trips, even game nights, I more often than not choose to hang out with my parents, sometimes more than my friends. I will always choose the road trips, filled with laughs and spontaneous bursts into song. The truth is I want to make as many memories with my family while I can because no moment is promised. There's no doubt that I also love my friends, and thoroughly enjoy my time with them too. But if I'm home or have the opportunity to be with family, I'm definitely biased.

Throughout my life, I've lost loved ones. I've seen those close to me lose the ones they cherish the most. It's easily the most difficult thing to go through. I know the pain of letting moments slip through your fingers, of wishing you have more time with your family. And I don't want to waste a second.

My parents are dorks. They drive me nuts sometimes. They embarrass me from every once in a while. But they're my dorks. They're my favorite people in the whole world. I wouldn't trade a moment with them for anything. I choose to spend my nights, my weekends with them because I value them, I cherish them. They have sacrificed everything for my sister and me, and I don't take that for granted.

I dread the day that I won't be able to call my mom and tell her all about my day. Or to laugh until I cry from my dad's unparalleled humor. This is why I want to indulge in all those little moments, those things that are not promised and I will not have one day.

If this last year has taught me anything it's that we need to embrace our loved ones while they're here, laugh as much as you can with them, make as many memories as you can with them. That's what I will be doing. Family is the most important thing to me and I will love them until the end of time.

Cover Image Credit:

Nicole Cantore

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