Birthday Phenomena

Birthday+Phenomena

Molly Bomar, Editor in Chief

Starting at our very first birthday, kids are celebrated with a big cake and balloons. Our family friends and grandparents surround us when we smash our cake into our faces. While we have no idea what the party is for, the adults mingle and celebrate their successes of great parenting. 

 

Over time we have a bit more of a voice in the celebration, sending out invites to all of the kids in our kindergarten class to play at a nearby park. Our family still blows up balloons and ties party hats around our heads to celebrate. Moms decorate vanilla cakes with our favorite cartoon character and we blow out the candles of our 6th year. 

 

However, we slowly lose the glowing excitement for our birthdays as we grow older. During our middle school years most of us go bowling and run through the lazer tag maze, followed by a sleepover with two or three of our closest friends. Our parents almost have no say in the event since there’s no party to plan. 

 

I recently turned 18, commemorating my last hoorah before I move out for college. But rather than submitting to the societal norm of downplaying the celebration of my teenage years, I took it to the next level. 

 

Within the premise of a dinner party, a long wooden table sat in the middle of my backyard. Surrounded with warm lights and colorful banners, the setting for the party reflected more of a midsommar evening than a Saturday night in September. 

 

Every guest was given a sailor hat, a celebratory item in nordic countries to signify high school graduation and general celebrations. Worried my friends would think the idea was lame, I immediately placed the hat on my head, and they followed in suit.  

 

The fear of what others thought of my party was a fleeting thought: my closest friends automatically joined in on my birthday shenanigans. Glow sticks soon decorated wrists and necks and laughter flowed out of a small dance circle in my backyard. 

 

I think for the most part milestone birthdays of our 16th, 18th, and 21st years are what we look forward to most. We often overlook the celebrations in-between. I’m not sure if it’s because it is my last year in high school or the final party for my mom to help plan, but I felt like I was back in elementary school. The extravaganza felt overdone at times, but I loved every second of it. 

 

What I do regret about my birthday is not related to my party, but rather I regret the years I have let pass; the years I didn’t go above and beyond in celebrating. 

 

I say all of these things to say do not let the years slip by uncelebrated. Enjoy your present moment in your high school years. Don’t be afraid you will be shamed for your happiness by those you love most. But instead rejoice in your current circumstances; they won’t last forever.