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The Quarter of a Century Birthday Blues

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Mar 24, 2014 12:36 PM

Today is my 25th birthday. In years past, today would have been filled with flowers, cake and certainly a grand celebration. However, this year is my 25th year and things are different.

Allow me to give you a little background on my birthday history. I grew up in a family with 9 children. It was equal parts insanity and fun. In a family of that size, it’s hard to outshine 8 other individuals. The only day in my childhood that I had the undivided attention of my family was my birthday. As an Aries (if you go for that sort of astrological thing), a middle child and all-around ham, I enjoy being in the spotlight. I’m at my best in a crowd of people that’s laughing at my every witty pun. Anyway, individual attention was lacking as a kid, so I made up for it with my birthdays. Each year was better than the last. Not all were extravagant affairs; some consisted of simply going out to the movies with my best friends or hosting an all-night poker game. However, they all had a common theme: Savannah gets to do whatever she wants on her special day.

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I’m ashamed to admit this, but for several years I gave myself a “birthday month.” What is a birthday month, you ask? A Birthday month is a 28-31 day celebration of your life! Gifts are accepted and encouraged, weekends are dedicated to commemorating your day of birth, there are always several cakes – life is wonderful. In my case, birthday months didn’t last very long. My family and friends were happy to indulge me for a day, but a month was pushing it, even for me.  I’ve since been happy to reduce my length of celebration to a weekend -- sometimes two if my birthday falls on a Wednesday.

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Like I said, this year is different. I’m turning a quarter of a century old and that feels heavy. My life filled with perpetual lightheartedness, minor obligations and overall stress-free mentality has finally begun to feel the weight of responsibility. If the tone of my mother’s gift is any indication, she thinks I should become more responsible, as well. My patio furniture was left in the elements this winter so she bought me patio furniture covers for my big 25. Point made, mom.

 I assume that most young adults struggle with this specific birthday.  We might feel like our youth is slowly slipping into oblivion, we might worry that we aren’t professionally accomplished, and some might stress that they will never develop a taste for dry red wine. I’m facing some serious first-world problems here!

So, in order to ensure that I don’t stroke out from stress on this special birthday, I’ve compiled a list of things to accomplish in my next 25 years:

  • Practice kindness every day.This is one of the most important goals. Practicing kindness should be mindless and instinctual. So many of my bad days have been turned around thanks to a smile or nice word from a stranger. I plan to actively be the change.
  • Run a marathon. – Running has become a passion of mine in recent years. The only way to push myself to the limit and really explore my running potential is to run a marathon.  
  • Write a book. – Before my next 25 years are up, I will have written a book. It might be a horrible piece of work that would send Fitzgerald into a fit of depression and binge drinking, but it will happen. 
  • Invest my time in things that matter. – That’s a little vague.  I think most people are unaware of how much time they spend on meaningless things. Netflix binges, anyone? Instead of spending my time watching the entire Grey’s Anatomy series -- again, I plan to spend my time living. That means taking full advantage of my crazy family, adventuring in my new city, volunteering my time to causes that I have a fierce passion for and traveling anywhere my limited budget will take me.
  • Build myself a library. – I may be one of the few individuals in this country that refuses to read a book on a tablet. I find it offensive. Books are meant to be tangible; they have a smell, their pages turn yellow with age, bindings crack and places are saved with dog-eared pages. The most wonderful thing about a new book is the crinkle sound the binding makes when it is opened for the first time. You can’t experience that on a tablet. My library will be filled with yellow pages, cracked bindings and wonderful stories.
  • Count my blessings. -  It’s easy for me to complain about day-to-day annoyances and forget about how fortunate my life truly is. I so often find myself getting caught up in the madness of it all, instead of treating my life like the gift it is. Hunter S. Thompson said it best,

"Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives...and to the 'good life', whatever it is and wherever it happens to be."

My next 25 years will be dedicated to appreciating the moments, celebrating rain storms, laughing in the face of traffic, taking full advantage of my health, deep breaths, marveling at sunsets and living the happiest life I can. 

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