Birthday Anxiety

My birthday is coming up in the next few weeks. It’s always a weird time. I never feel special enough to do anything for my birthday or try to get anyone to do anything for my birthday. Last year, up in Vermont, was the first time since high school that I did something semi-big for my birthday. In college, I usually had a small dinner or quick day hike, which I was good with then. Last year felt WEIRD. I felt guilty for the people who came out for my birthday as if I didn’t deserve it. Even though I had fun, I also felt awful the entire time. I tried making it easier for everyone else. Making it go by quickly so no one would have to stick around. Not letting others spend money on me. Not expecting them to do anything different. I just wanted it to be a typical night out. It ended up being that, but they did buy me a drink, and they did get me a card, so that helped me relax a bit.

This year, I want to try to make it special again because I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I deserve it. I deserve to feel special now and then. I’m trying to plan a camping trip a week or two after my birthday to celebrate. It is also celebrating the fact that I will be finishing my internship that week. It’s an exciting time for me, and I want to take the time to actually enjoy it. But I’m scared to invite friends. It’s slightly sad, no? Friends are the ones that you should have confidence that they want to hang out with you, but instead, I feel sorry that they might feel obligated to come.

Not feeling like you deserve to be celebrated is strange. So you start caring more about what others want to do versus how you want to celebrate. You start questioning if you should celebrate at all. You start thinking that maybe pretending your birthday doesn’t exist is the best way to go. It’s not because you don’t like having birthdays, in fact, you would love to celebrate, but you feel as if it’s a burden for others. Then if you try to have a good birthday but no one comes or seems like they want to, you feel even worse than before. Before you could just pretend that people wanted to celebrate your birthday, but now you have hard proof that they don’t.

It ends up being a vicious and sad cycle. It comes down to believing that the people who care and are worth it, will show up and being excited to celebrate you. So find those people. Those are the people worth spending your birthday with.

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