I Thought Things Would Be Different By Now (The Birthday Blues)

July 29, 2021

As my birthday draws closer, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about this past year, and my life overall.  Birthdays have always been a weird time for me. As much as I would like to be in a celebratory mood, my mind is often in a whole different headspace. Thoughts of why hasn’t ____ happened yet?, will my life ever be interesting?, I bet this year will turn out like all the years before it. You get the picture. I even start to feel guilty about thinking that so I start thinking about how guilty I feel. The negative thought loop goes on and on and on. This is also known as the Birthday Blues.

birthday blues

This year I’m determined to stop that negative thought loop, and focus on enjoying my birthday. I want to be able to look forward to this next year in life, instead of resenting the years before it. I know I can’t be the only one that feels this way, so I thought I’d write about it. Today I’ll be sharing why I think we feel this way, and what I’m planning to do to create a different mindset about my birthday this year. Instead of focusing on how I thought things would be different by now, I’m going to be focusing on the good.

Why We Might Dislike Our Birthday

Birthdays are fun, except for when they’re not. Whether you end up not having any plans, or it reminds you that time is passing by, it’s perfectly normal to experience the Birthday Blues. I didn’t think it was normal for the longest time, which of course just made me feel worse. I felt like I was being ungrateful for the birthday wishes, and whatever presents I got or activities I did. I wasn’t ungrateful, I was just too in my head. 

This article has a lot of great information about the causes of the Birthday Blues, and even more tips. I’ll be discussing one of those causes. It’s the one that personally bothers me the most, and I know that is the same for others. I’m talking about the pressure we feel to achieve certain miles at certain ages and the pressure that puts on us.

The Different Milestones We Measure Up To 

Starting your career, getting married, buying a house, having kids, these are all amazing events in our lives that deserve to be celebrated. Unfortunately somewhere along the way society has put pressure on us to get to these milestones by a certain age. It’s almost like if we aren’t in our dream job outside of college, or married by 25, we are somehow unworthy and missed our chance. No wonder why we get so down and wonder why things are the way they are. Society says things are supposed to be different and we believe them. 

This expectation puts so much pressure on us. My 25th birthday was a hard milestone to pass. I was single, hadn’t found a job I loved yet, and was still overweight. None of these things seemed like they would be changing anytime soon. On top of that, I felt like I was watching my twenties pass me by, much like I did in my teenage years. I wasn’t making many memories and doing things that typical twenty-somethings do. Each year that has passed has been just as difficult, if not more so. This year I want to do my best to get out of this mindset.

What I’m Doing Differently This Year

For my birthday this year, things will be different. I’m going to hype the hell out of that day, so that I’m more excited when it gets here. I’ve already started making plans. In past years I never really planned anything. When the day came I just carried on like it was a normal day. I think it’s time that I start putting effort into my birthday. I decided to spend the weekend doing 28 things that I love since I’m turning 28. Most of them are simple, like reading or getting Starbucks, then there are few big things, like going to a flower field and getting a haircut. 

Starting August 1st I’ll be taking time each day to think of the good that has happened this year. This will prevent me from focusing on all the “milestones I should have reached by now.” I’ll be documenting it in a birthday journal, and maybe even sharing some of them on social media. I’m hoping this will help me feel better about this time of year. Yeah, I thought things would be different by now, but that’s okay. I’m done measuring myself against society’s timelines.

If you’ve ever felt, or are currently going through, the birthday blues I hope this post helped shift your perspective. If you’ve been able to get through your birthday blues let me know what worked for you in the comments below.

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