‘Tis my birthday. And I’m holed up in isolation. I should have been well on my way to a converted barn in the middle of a Vermont mountain right now, but no, I’m still in my apartment in Jersey City.
I mean, I’ve probably had worse birthdays (can’t think of any right now) and I’m sure I’ll have better birthdays (this one won’t be hard to beat) but I’m not going to sulk and feel pity for myself today either.
I’m one year older, now 23. A very insignificant number, but I feel older all the same. I can’t think of anything special that will happen to me while I’m 23, but time will only tell. I don’t fear getting older, in fact I welcome it. And here are five reasons why.
1. Becoming wiser
As we get older, aren’t we supposed to get wiser? We’ve perhaps seen more, read more, learnt more and matured some more. I feel a lot wiser than I was a few years ago.
My mindset has changed, my outlook on life has changed and I’ve changed as a person after living by myself for a year and then moving to another continent by myself.
In the years to come, as I grow older, I guess I will also become a lot wiser along the way. If anything, New York has aged me by ten years since moving here and I’ve learnt a lot from these streets to be a wise fool.
2. Gaining more life experiences
The older I get, the more life experiences I naturally have. The new cities I visit, the new towns I call home, the new jobs I start and new people I meet. With every birthday that comes around, there’s a new 365 days ahead to make new memories and new experiences.
In my 22nd birthday letter, I hoped that in the next year ahead, I would move to a new city, make new friends and make a lot of new memories. I’ve definitely achieved that.
That’s another reason that I like marking my birthday. It’s a good way to look back at the past 12 months and also a good way to look ahead to the next. I don’t have to create the next Facebook or climb Mount Everest in those 12 months, but small things like meeting new people, starting a new job or moving somewhere new all give us new life experiences.
3. Tomorrow is never promised
Another reason to enjoy getting older is because tomorrow may never come. There is no use in worrying about blowing candles out on your 30th birthday, nor is there reason to grimace at your 23rd.
None of us are promised to wake up tomorrow, so we should be thankful for every day on this earth. Making it to another age is a milestone and should be celebrated as just that.
In this current climate, who knows what is to happen? It has definitely helped emphasize to us that tomorrow really isn’t promised to anyone and we could be struck by a deadly virus and suddenly only have days to live. Make the most of each day, especially your birthday.
4. Feeling good in my own skin
There used to be a time that I wouldn’t take the bins out without having makeup on my face. I would agonize over a photo of myself before uploading it to social media, often taking it down again after five minutes.
I have a feature on my Facebook that allows me to approve any post that I am tagged in, before it makes its way onto my timeline. I don’t know if you would call it shallow, but instead, I was very insecure about the way I looked and my skin.
You’ve probably read my blog posts about my skin and know how badly I suffered with acne in the past. Now though, the older I get, the less I care about what I look like on social media, or what I look like when I take out the bins.
I’ve went three weeks now without putting on a drop of makeup, thanks to being locked inside. It’s been a welcome detox for my skin and I’ve started to accept what I look like without it, even seeing others in person and work calls sans makeup.
Those things that I cared about when I was in my teens, especially from what was on my social media timelines, have since changed. I shove my hair in a bun (no longer even spending the half hour it takes to blowdry my hair), wash my hair and I’m good to go for the day.
5. What really matters starts to change
Things that seemed life-or-death when I was younger are no longer even a concern anymore. In school, a lot of things consumed my life like MSN, BBM, social media apps (including Bebo), the local school gossip, Ask.fm and others.
These things have no level of interest to me anymore. Instead, I spend my time on my blog, reading, learning and spending time with my friends. But, who’s to say that this could also change in the next five years?
What matters to me now, may not matter to me in years’ to come. That’s the beauty in growing old, we don’t know what’s to come, how things will change, who will come into our lives and who will leave, the opportunities that will come our way and the things we will turn down.
I’m excited to grow older because there’s always something better around the corner. There are so many cities I want to live in, travel to and experience, so many jobs I want to try, experiences to have and people to meet. Don’t worry about getting older, because there’s no way to avoid it.