The only thing worse than a New Year’s resolution is a Birthday resolution.
We have all faced the Moment of Truth – The ‘What am I doing with my life’ moment – when you compare where you wanted to be with where you are and then make a whole bunch of resolutions for the year ahead that you know deep inside your heart you will not follow.
“You’re a year older now. You have to be more responsible.” Every time I hear that, I feel the need to reply “I’m only a day older than I was yesterday. No hurry here.” But nobody ever thinks of it in quite that manner. It’s always a year older.
I had goals. A list of things to do before I turned 21. I’m 22 now and I’ve done close to nothing on that list. That does not mean I’ve failed. It simply means my priorities have changed. It means that I’ve learnt to differentiate between my wants and my needs; my desires and my dreams.
Someone called me on my birthday and asked, “So, what have you done with 22 years?” To her I said, “Nothing.” But then I asked myself that question – What have I done in 22 years?
We all have answers to such questions. Simple ones. There are people that have become internet sensations. There are the musicians with Grammy nominations. The ones that almost cured cancer. So what have I done?
The most important thing to realize when you ask yourself this question is that you don’t have to win a Grammy to prove a point. For some of us, getting through the day is a form of success. The first five years of my life, I learnt to behave like a human – it is an achievement when you realize the world is now called a concrete jungle. I’m not an animal. I’m human and I behave like one.
The second five years of my life, I understood the dynamics and working of a dysfunctional family. The third five years of my life I made mistakes that arose from being a rebellious teenager. The next five I spent making amends and fixing the relationships I’d damaged during the previous five. And now..
The fifth five – 20 to 25 – I am figuring out who I am. I am learning to accept myself no matter what the world says. I may not be an internet sensation, I may not be the next Beyonce and I sure as hell ain’t curing cancer. I’m not going to find my knight in shining armor and you will not see my name on T.I.M.E’s 100 most inspiring list. But I have achieved something in 22 years that many people I know live a lifetime not knowing – I get to wake up in the morning, look at myself in the mirror and smile.
Do you remember the days when our teachers used to give us a deadline for homework? Kids are supposed to love everything in life. But I don’t remember the last time a kid loved a deadline. What makes you think it changes when you grow up? How can you set a deadline for your life and expect to follow it when you can’t remember the last time you wanted to?
Most of us have the privilege of not knowing when we die just so we don’t live hating life. So why do we insist on doing this to ourselves year after year?
You will always be older than you were. But you will never be younger than you are. So maybe it’s time to stop making lists. And just live.
My birthday is not a new beginning. My lists no longer exist. I refuse to force myself to grow up and mature into a world that calls itself a concrete jungle. So instead of setting a deadline, let me make a confession :
I am a 22-year-old adult that likes scribbling on walls, hates chocolates, enjoys dressing up, loves Barbie dolls, has exactly 11 best friends and is the laziest person I know. My achievement is my ability to put up with all the crap the world gives me because they do not understand how someone can be happy being who they are and not give into what the society believes a 22-year-old should be like. My success is not defined by the awards in my room. It is defined by the people that love me for who I am. So it’s sappy and cheesy. But given the choice, I would pick The Notebook over Jurassic Park any day !
51 thoughts on “Every Birthday A New Beginning ?”
Happy belated birthday Poornima !!!
Thank you 😀
I liked this post. It’s honest and you seem to have a good idea who you are. Achieving something (big) in life is many people’s goal. But yes, living happily and learning to be content with oneself, being comfortable in one’s own skin is also a lifelong lesson. 11 best friends is a lot – you look like you have a great support network. Add in giving back to society somehow and it looks like a great life ahead. You’ll be fine 🙂
Thank you 🙂 I will keep that in mind 🙂
Don’t sweat it – plenty of time yet for a mid-life crisis.
Good post, thanks.
Everything in my life has been ahead of time. I’m guessing this too… Thanks 🙂
Very well said.
Thank you 🙂
You are a very interesting person. Continue on the quest to find yourself, and continue to love yourself…that is awesome! God Bless you!
Thank you for the kind words 🙂
Amazing post…. I have loved every letter and word my word has caught in your piece…. at some point felt like you were talking to me, fabulous
Thank you so much 😀
I liked to think every day is a new beginning, therefore birthdays are a grand journey. I particularly like this statement, “My success is not defined by the awards in my room. It is defined by the people that love me for who I am.” I often say, I will achieve success by my standards, not by what the world deems to be successful.
Very true.. Which is why I think people just need to reach a point of contentment in life. That means they’ve gotten to where they wanted to be – their own form of success.
Thank you 🙂
Definitely and you’re welcome
Great post! I recently asked myself that same question: what have I done with my  years? And realized not a whole lot, so now I’m getting involved in new hobbies, going new places, meeting new people 🙂
You are right when you say that our priorities change. You are even more right when you suggest that our goals should change with them. I believe success and happiness mean different things for different people. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have impacted the entire world, what matters is that you have impacted the world of those whom you love, and that you are happy. 🙂
Exactly 🙂 And when I think of whom have I impacted, I always go back to an episode on One Tree Hill with Lucas’ ghosts of future past, present and future. Whether you choose to or not, you impact the lives of people around you – your family, friends and foe. So even if it’s not a million people, it’s still a handful of people that matter. Just a thought..
Thank you for the comment 🙂
You have the right mindset. Who have I become is a far greater question to ask yourself than what have I done. You are open to life experience, and life will reward you greatly for it!
Thank you so much 🙂
Great perspective! I’m with ya!
Thank you 😀
Your post just made me smile. I’m a teacher you sets deadlines all the time… Maybe I should set a new target for my pupils instead – take a good look at yourself and love the things you would normally confess! They make you who you are. Keep writing… It’s great
Haha.. I had a teacher who actually said that to me. She’s my favorite teacher so far.
Thank you 🙂
I love your comment about being one day older. I had NEVER thought of that before because a birthday seems like such a leap forward. I am curious about your list of goals. Thanks for sharing.
Graduate; lose weight; travel to Santorini; meet my knight in shining armor; fall in love; make billions of dollars and buy a house in the most expensive area in my city; have a big fat Indian wedding; learn 5 foreign languages; start an organization that helps connect people with resources to the kids with dreams; become famous – many unrealistic, many high hopes, I guess you could say I was a typical teenager. Now I just tackle life one day at a time and my pre-planning goes as far as meeting a friend on Sunday. 🙂
Thank you for reading 🙂
That’s quite a list. I think I had one like that for many years. Now I look back and see that I would have been ruined by those dreams. The plan for my life has been far better than I could have imagined. I hope you find that to be true, also. I think you are headed for great things but maybe not the way you first imagined.
As unbelievable as it sounds to my own ears, I am glad I have none of those things and that my priorities have changed. Now should I draw up a list for my 22nd year, it would probably be something like – Get 1000 followers on blog; stay single and focus on life; stop daydreaming and work.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that I would rather spend money wisely than blow it all on one big wedding where half the guests are going to be criticizing the decor and food.
Thank you 🙂
Well done! Keep up the beautiful writing, and happy birthday.
Thank you so much 🙂
Happy Belated Birthday, and I thank you for such a great post. I do need to really think about what I have contributed in my 17 years on Earth. (Y’know, just before I reach adulthood in a month’s time)
Thank you 🙂 For the wishes and the kind words 🙂
I’m 18 and I couldn’t relate more. Happy Birthday! 😀
Thank you.. on both counts 🙂
Loved how you put this 🙂 Belated birthday wishes 🙂
Thank you 🙂 And thank you 🙂
Hi, I have a smile on my face , and joy in my heart for I know life’s worth it , cuz there’s people like you who know and are proud that they have just a chosen few best friends(3 in my case), give you a run for your money cuz i consider myself to be the first laziest, and most importantly live in our minds, in a world created by our wild imagination, and waiting for the next miracle – because its really there, just that most people are blind to see it. And living happily for however long our life’s gonna last. 🙂
Thank you so much.. 🙂
Please don’t change.
Thank you 🙂
Very true, we often measure success in terms of the big things, and forget about the “small” successes, usually non-material, gradual, and hard to quantify. Props to you for realizing that!
Thank you 🙂
Woah! Totally honest! This is an absolutely honest “…thought_voiced_out_loud!”
Can I say Happy Birthday in arrears?
I like this post and it has gained you a new follower!
Haha Thank you 😀
Yes you can and thank you for that too 🙂
Thank you for the follow 🙂
I really enjoyed your post and gives me confidence about my Who Am I? page. I didn’t want to do a run down of my life, like you didn’t want to hear ‘what have you done.’
One piece of advice, enjoy the now and do what you love. Because what you love is what will give you drive to do anything later.
See, at 22 (now 35) was a US Army EOD tech (Bomb Squad). I thought and still think it was awesome. I would do it again. I look back now and think ‘dang, can I do it again with something different.’ For years now, I have worked, got several degrees, and protected/hidden my past all the while wishing I could go back and stay.
The great thing about all of this is. I learned determination. I learned to keep going until I can see the light. So, that’s what I am doing now. Jumping head first into building my writer’s platform and praying for a soft landing later (much later). But it wasn’t until this week, I learned that. Granted, I frequently got asked how I can do one and not know what to do or how to do the next. So, I hate the question.
I like it now. Love it. Because I can do something big like that again. And I will one day soon.
Thanks again for your post! Incredible writing!
Thank you so much for the comment 🙂 I am definitely trying to focus more on the now because I learnt the hard way that while planning for the future and obsessing over it, we forget to enjoy the things we have right now.
I cannot imagine what life is like working on the bomb squad. I’ve never known someone that did. So I’m very glad you took the time to mention it 😀
Thanks again for the motivating comment 😀
I just turned 23 a few days ago, and I can relate to a lot of this. A day older, not a year older . . . pretty cool perspective. I’m going to keep that in mind, especially during the holidays.
You mentioned in a reply that graduating was one of your goals. Good goal obviously, but don’t get in any hurry – unless you have a job lined up. I just graduated this past May with an English degree, and I’m still looking for a job.. “You got a job yet?” “Why didn’t you study something else?” “blah blah blah Obama blah blah.” Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner will be loads of fun this year.
Keep writing. And hopefully you’ll change your mind over the Jurassic Park and Notebook decision 😉
Oh my goodness ! “Why haven’t you graduated yet?” “Don’t you want to get a job and settle down like other girls your age?” I am dreading Deepavali family gatherings already. I don’t have a particular job lined up and also, that was my old list. I am yet to graduate and in no hurry whatsoever.
English degree – That was one of my three choices to study in university. The other two being Psychology and Mass Communication (what I ended up choosing)
I will, thank you 🙂 And I cannot make promises that THAT change will ever happen.. Maybe The Avengers. Maybe.. 😛
Thank you so much for reading and for the comment 🙂
Great post! You are an amazing young woman!
Thank you so much 🙂
Keep up the good work