Turning 20 in less than ideal circumstances

by - December 09, 2020

I turn 20 today - it does not seem real and although it is my birthday, it doesn't quite feel like it. I used to think that turning 20 was a lot, and even though it really isn't old, it feels old to me. It really goes to show how everything is all about perspective because, in the grand scheme of things, I am still very young.

Turning 20 in a pandemic is strange, to say the least, and not how I planned on starting another decade in my life. There is often a huge pressure to feel amazing on your birthday regardless of the circumstances you are in. This post is a reminder that it is OK if your birthday wasn't/ isn't incredible.

The last few days have been rough and I can't say life has gifted me with an amazing present this year for my birthday (or even last year). After starting the first moments of being 20 crying, not feeling good last night and today this morning, I have realised that in the midst of such confusion and things going very wrong, we need to focus on small wins. Maybe the whole day cannot be as we imagined and something memorable, but we can try and do something small that will make it different. Something special in comparison to another day.

My last birthday and this birthday have been far from ideal. Both when I have turned 19 last year and 20 today, personal circumstances have meant that my birthday was not what I would have wanted. I used to feel a lot of pressure and did even today to feel happy just because it is my birthday. Because you are supposed to feel amazing on such a special day. But, if there is anything I can take from this year is that we just have to take things as they come. Life is really hard sometimes and can be very unpredictable. Not all birthdays will be great and that is OK - you will not always feel happy in defining moments in your life. Your birthday doesn't have to be the best day of your life.

Turning 20 and stepping further into adulthood is really highlighting to me how sometimes life does not go to plan - things do not turn out the way you want them to and you just have to deal with it as best as you can. Whilst my birthday may not feel exactly as I want it to, there will be other special days instead. Just because today was the day you were born does not mean you have to feel the best you have ever felt - your best day may well be yet to come. You have to make do with what you have. It is safe to say that everyone's birthday this year and in the last year will be a little bit strange and that is OK.

I have always heard your 20s are a very defining period of your life. It makes sense - you grow into adulthood, become more independent and start your career. You may even start thinking about starting a family. Put this way, turning 20 feels scary. But, if there is anything I have learnt from getting older, it is that we are always growing and learning about ourselves and that we will always be working things out. I have learnt to focus on the moment, do the best I can in the situation and leave future worries for when I have to deal with them. If corona emphasised anything, it is how uncertain life can really be.

If anyone has had a birthday recently or one coming up, happy birthday! Remember not to place too much pressure on yourself to have a great day if you really are not feeling it - you will have plenty of other amazing moments even if this isn't one of them. If anything, you can choose another day and celebrate it properly then. We did not choose our birthday, but after all, we can choose when we celebrate it and who says that has to be on the specific day our birthday falls? Plus, I am sure there will be a future birthday which you will love. But, if like me, today just wasn't it, I hope that this post made you feel less alone.

Keep me caffeinated so I can write more 🙂:

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