On July 25 Yah blessed me with another year, I turned 27. While, I've always been one to get excited about my birthday, the last few years have been a little different. The days leading up to my birthday for the last few years have been a bit somber and very nostalgic. I wasn't sure what was bringing about these feelings, but this year I wanted to get in front of my "birthday blues."
My mother came to LA to visit me and the day before my birthday we created a beautiful periwinkle outfit together. The entire process of designing and sewing was very therapeutic for me, but talking to my mother about the expectations I had for my life vs the reality of it, really put things into perspective for me. I think my "birthday blues" stemmed from the disappointment of my life not looking like what I thought it "should" be. While I am grateful for where I am in life and the things I have accomplished, there is still a cloud that hovers over me at times reminding me of the things that didn't go my way. This year I've tried really hard to be transparent and honest about my feelings, the entire process has been draining but also very forth telling. I feel like my vulnerability has left me taken advantage of a few times, but the peace of knowing I spoke my truth has made up for that. Trust, it wasn't easy dealing with these emotions leading up to my birthday but for my sanity I had to look myself in the mirror and tell myself, "It may not look like you envisioned it to be, but it is ok and you are exactly where you are supposed to be."
Im not sure if anyone else has had these feelings but if you have below are a few things I came up with to assist you with beating your "birthday blues" or pre-birthday depression:
1. Lower Your Expectations.
While I do believe it is beneficial to set goals, try not to get to caught up on expectations. Unmet expectations can lead to disappointment, which leads to mood changes, which leads to depression.
2. Keep Busy.
Don't wait around for someone else to do something for your birthday. Sitting around the house just gives you an opportunity to mull over the passage of time and be sad. You know what you'd like to do on your birthday, so schedule it! I made sure to get up early and start sewing and before I even knew my mother was coming down I made up my mind that I was going to take a helicopter ride.
3. Remember All That You Have Accomplished.
It's easy to gloss over everything that you have accomplished and end up feeling like time has passed with nothing to show for it. Try to focus on the positives because, remember, you are a boss! So prove it to yourself. Go through old pictures of good times (warning: some people may become more depressed doing this, you know who you are), make a list of accomplishments, or even get a friend to remind you of your victories.
Spending time thinking about what you have done will keep you from thinking about all the things you haven't yet accomplished or that you think you should have accomplished. You've already accomplished a lot. Focus on that. Be proud.
4. Don't Wait for Someone Else to Make You Happy.
Remember, no one can read your mind, and no one is perfect. If you're waiting for someone else to make things special, you'll be disappointed. If there's something that will make you happy, then make it happen yourself!
5. Make a Plan to Make This Year Special.
Make plans for the upcoming year it gives you something to look forward to.
6. Let Your Friends Know.
While there are many who don't want any attention on their birthday, there are others who make it a point to mention it or who would like to be lavished with attention. That is usually me but this year I didn't even make my typical birthday post. While the not posting wasn't bad, me failing to mention my birthday or giving my friends an opportunity to do something for me was a bad move on my part. You can be coy about it, too: "So I think I might schedule a massage for my birthday next week." That's all it takes.
7. Know It's Okay to Mourn.
Sometimes, we just need some time to be sad about what isn't, and what might not be. That's okay. You deserve that process and will feel better afterwards. Let yourself cry about the house that you don't own, the corporate position you haven't landed yet, and the significant other you may not have found yet. Then, get over it. You've got life ahead of you to live—don't waste more time than you need to in worrying about what isn't.
8. Learn From It.
You may want to punch me in the face for saying so, but know that pain is there to teach you something. Maybe your birthday makes you feel lonely—that's true for many of us. However, you can also use that feeling to help motivate you.