When I was little, the most exciting time of year was always my birthday! It comes right after Christmas, so I was always told to make a combined list of things I wanted. Because Christmas and my birthday are so close, I knew that whatever I didn’t get for Christmas, I was most likely going to get for my birthday. There were always a multitude of presents I just HAD TO HAVE and it always seemed that my lists were way to long and way too complex. However, as I have grown, my birthday has stayed the same. I still make a Christmas list and a birthday list combined and my family chooses which items they want to give me for Christmas, and which to save for my birthday. However, as I have gotten older, it has become harder and harder to come up with things to ask for. I have also come to realize that Christmas and birthdays aren’t always about what you receive; it is about the time together with family and friends and about making memories. However, it still seems that we (at least I any way) always ask for more, even if we don’t need it. Now, being 17, I have noticed a switch from asking for Barbie dolls and American Girl doll clothes to just asking for money. Money? Really? Money doesn’t always seem like an “appropriate gift” or so my family has told me. When my family says this, I find myself trying to come up with actual gifts, but most of the time it is just STUFF and this is stuff I don’t really need. I am a 17-year-old girl and I would much rather have money in my wallet then my room cluttered with a bunch of junk I don’t need. My life has changed, and I know that as I grow older I will keep finding more things to ask for when I really need them, such as items for college, but in the meantime, I don’t like having to scrape way down low to try to come up with some ordinary object to ask for.
When I was little, the most exciting thing to do was planning my birthday party. I worked hard to come up with ideas on what fun activity we could do. My birthday was always a tough one to try to schedule though because it is in the middle of winter. I had a variety of birthday parties: bowling, sleepovers, indoor play centers, hotel parties, dinner and a movie, etc. I always managed to come up with something “fun” to do with all of my buddies. However, when I started becoming a teenager, birthday parties became completely overrated. It may have been just my lazy-teenager hormones kicking in, or just the fact that I didn’t consider them fun anymore. I never had a “Sweet Sixteen” and I stopped having any sort of friend gathering when I got to high school. It became more of a hassle to try to have a party then a pleasurable thing to do. Now, I would much rather go out to dinner with my family and a couple of friends WITHOUT the expectation that a gift should be brought; it is more fun now when things are more laid back.
I still haven’t been able to pin-point exactly when it was that I stopped wanting things and stopped wanting birthday parties. It wasn’t that I didn’t care anymore; it just didn’t seem like that big of a deal. When I was 5, it was HUGE to turn 6 because I knew that I was moving from filling up one hand to show my age, to having to use BOTH hands; something about gaining another year felt different. However, now that I have turned from 16 to 17, it doesn’t feel any different. Yes, I am another number older; big whoop. What is most important isn’t the gifts and the celebrations, it is about being alive and making my life count.