I haven’t met anyone yet who each year says “Yea I’m turning the age I should be turning. Just like last year, my life events, finances, and relationships are exactly where they should be according to how many years it’s been since I popped out.”
I can already tell you why I haven’t met that person. They don’t exist. All those things mentioned are social constructs built around you. They vary depending on the culture you come from, the culture you presently live in, and the culture you see yourself being a part of in the future.
Here we are now left with the law in the society we live in. –> America
18- I was finally able to sign all my own documents, have an un-restricted drivers license, and vote. (No more forging mom’s signature :-0 )
21- I was finally able to buy my own alcohol and stop sneaking into bars and clubs by using a fake french accent and pretending I was foreign. (Je m’appelle Alissa. Je ne parle pas anglais)
25- I now have less fees for renting a car. (Maybe I’ll own one by the time I’m 30)
But that doesn’t seem right to leave the fate of a birthday up to the law it co-insides with. At 25 I’ve reached one of my last known restrictions. I thought about the past years and what made them special. Each birthday has been so different;I’ve been sick in the past, in another country, and now on a different coast than all of my family. That being said, I never felt lacking or that I missed out when the variables of life changed. I’ve always felt they were good, life was good.
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.Knowledge and love are both indefinitely extensible; therefore, however good a life may be, a better life can be imagined. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life.“
– Bertrand Russell
Let the love in
So everyday and absolutely every year we learn things, we acquire a new understanding, and become all the wiser for it (hopefully). What has made my birthdays so special has not been the laws that I’ve reached or the new knowledge I’ve gained. It has been the love I let in, no matter how far, how sick, or how different things seemed to be, that has made each year as full as the last.
What does it mean to let the love in? It means a few things but firstly, people give love all the time around you but its easy to dismiss because of pride, prejudice, or your own insecurity. We’ve built up walls and behaviors that make showing human-to-human love seem weird or off. Letting the love in with people is literal. Accept the kindness and the words on your birthday. Be genuine and gracious.
The second component is letting the love in, from you own self. What do you love? What makes you feel alive? Let it in. Embrace it. I made my own breakfast, listened to some Billie Holiday and Louis, and I wrote. It’s easy to forget what makes you tick throughout the year because such is life. Letting your love of pleasures and activities is another way to fill you up, even for just that one day a year.
The ultimate birthday gift
“Let the love in” I reminded myself the night before my birthday. It was easy to feel a little homesick and that something was missing. I let that moment have it’s time before letting the love in from all those who reached out– which quickly filled any void I felt before. Then I let the love in from myself. I wrote, I cooked and enjoyed my favorite music. I found solace in remembering that the amount of love I let in helps deepen the capacity for the love I let out or give.
Letting the love in is the ultimate birthday gift because it is a multiplier of all things. It re-energizes your soul, the soul of others, and if you truly let it in, it becomes the gift that keeps on giving.
It won’t matter where you are or who you are with. Those things will become supplemental to your birthday if you can practice letting the love in.