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 !