The title of this post is a bit misleading. Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of 25 lessons I’ve learned in 25 years for you. This post however is a way for me to collect, shape, and share my thoughts on how I feel about my birthday and how this has evolved over the years.
Growing up, it was such a special thing for me that I was born right before Christmas and my family made a (lovely) fuss about this. “Our Christmas baby”, “our gift” (literally all my names mean the same thing – God’s gift). My family went all out to celebrate me in big and small ways. I remember having a birthday bash when I turned 6, celebrating my birthday at school when I turned 10, getting the Xbox Kinect when I turned 12, etc. Naturally, this made me have expectations of what my birthdays should be like. In my early teenage years, I started to make my own plans with my friends. We were all in high school in Nigeria so there were no thoughts of me not having anyone around to celebrate with.
I noticed that my expectations and thoughts around my birthday began to change when I moved to Canada. Typically universities are closed for the holiday season, meaning most people return home to their families. Being born during the holiday season, almost at the end of the year and living in Canada also meant that most people were either busy with their families, attending a Christmas party, dealing with bad weather or simply just exhausted from the year (same tbh). And because I’m not one to force people into doing anything for me, I had to deal with the reality that my birthday celebrations got lonelier. Coupled with how uncomfortable I am with attention and my personality type, I started to embrace smaller and quieter celebrations. It also really helps that I enjoy my own company and am perfectly content with solo adventures.
It truly means a lot when my friends and family here in Canada go out of their way to make my birthday special. To be honest, I don’t really expect much other than a red velvet cake (it has to be Larocca, the best!), calls, messages and social media posts. Any thing more than this makes me a tad bit uncomfortable but a lot grateful for their presence. Somewhere at the back of my mind though, I wonder: will I ever have the undivided attention and presence of all of my loved ones at another birthday celebration? Given the outlined factors, it’s safe to say the answer is NO, but this is completely fine. My birthday is really a commemoration of the day I was born, so it is up to me to observe this day how I see fit and do what satisfies my soul on that day. And this looks like solo trips, breakfast with a few loved ones and shopping sprees.
This year, I turned 25 and when I was asked if I wanted a party, I agreed to it because 25 years is a silver jubilee worth celebrating, but on the condition that the party would not be held on my actual birthday. At this point in my life, I’m very happy to maintain the tradition of quiet time and low key celebrations on my birthday, spending the day doing whatever in this world I decide that makes me happy. I had a ton of fun at my birthday party the week before my actual birthday even though the Ottawa weather threatened to ruin the day (story for another time), but my soul is satisfied by the quiet activities (or lack thereof) that I get to enjoy on my actual birthday.