I don’t quite remember when the transition took place but it was quick. Just like the snapping of a finger. A day before my birthday I was excited, almost thrilled and yet on the day, all the enthusiasm dissolves and disappears into the abyss. Birthdays that were synonymous with cakes, cards, confetti, presents, and parties suddenly turned into a melancholic affair marked by gloom, depression, and misery. I don’t know the exact age when the notion of raising a toast to a year on the planet seemed reprehensible and unacceptable. It was an obligation that I didn’t want to fulfill anymore.
I can’t pinpoint what changed. Maybe it was adulting, quarter-life crisis, loss of innocent young years, grief that comes with being wise, or the notion that even good moments are marred by a flicker of pain. Or maybe, it was just the combination of all. It’s hard to tell.
With every year, the feeling of dread swells, rising like a spire. Is it because we have bee programmed that our value and self-worth decreases with age. This oldfangled mentality that should have been discarded decades ago still sticks with me like a parasite. Anti-ageing products, meditation, exercise, and a nutritious diet are somehow supposed to restore the vitality and vigour that gets lost somewhere. We are racing against time, forced to look at the past and never ahead in the curve. Birthdays come as a stark reminder about the ephemeral nature of our lives and the years that make it.
I’m not sure if I feel sad about birthdays because I’m a sad person and maybe that’s what overthinking and overanalysing does to you. I carry this whisper of emptiness that overpowers the shouts of fullness. Knowing that being happy will make the situation better but my inability to do so makes it even worse. Despite being crowded, I don’t only feel alone but also lonely without the slightest inclination to be a part of any celebrations planned for me.
I’m stuck and with every passing year, it feels I get stuck even more. There doesn’t seem to be a way out of the conundrum I face every day. The year gone by screams to my face of the things I didn’t get done. Of the things, I managed to do. Of things, I regret doing. Of things, I regret not doing. Of things, I’d resolved to do. Somewhere, somehow, I was standing up to the demons in my head and failing rather than actually doing something worthwhile.
Birthdays are messy, cruel, and depressing. They remind me of many failings and little successes.