Let me tell you, birthday parties are hard. Growing up, I always had my dance school friends, my church friends, my school friends, and my friends that weren’t in any of those groups present at all of my parties, and it was always so hard to be a good hostess. Naturally, my friends would only stay within their own group which then forced me to jump from group to group to make sure I was able to interact with everyone, and if I spent too much time in a particular group, my dad would pull me aside and tell me that I needed to talk to a group that I hadn’t talked to in a while. As a kid, that was super stressful for me.
In late middle school and early high school, my parties still had little cliques here and there, but what made these birthday parties stressful were my guests. You know when it’s your birthday and your friends are all there to celebrate your special day, how you just want to be the center of attention? No? Hm, maybe it’s just me. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve actually never liked nor do I like being the center of attention, but at that age…I did. It was my special day, and I wanted everything to be about me. (Yeah I know…so selfish, right?) But naturally, you know, when someone else takes and eats the first piece of cake or when your friends decide to do their own thing somewhere else in the house while everyone else is playing games upstairs or when no one wants to play what you want to play or when someone decides to throw a fit and ruin the mood for everyone (or you know…steals your thunder), you’d get upset! (Once again…maybe it’s just me) But let me tell you, I sure as heck got upset, and as sad as this may sound, I even cried at a few of my birthday parties because I was so frustrated that things weren’t going my way (fun fact: I cry when I get extremely frustrated). Now I know that may sound like I have the “princess syndrome”, but this was a time in my life where if things didn’t go as how I had planned it, I kind of freaked out (hehe, oops).
Anyway, things got better as I got older (thank God), but I think that also came with the fact that as the years passed, some of my friends and I just grew apart sooooo I just didn’t invite them (yeah, yeah, call me a jerk but I’m sure you did it too!). You see, when I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted to form a community with these group of girls, and it was great! We were all pumped for it and super down for our little community to blossom, but as the year went on, nothing happened. It wasn’t anything what I had hoped it would be, and frankly, I was disappointed and really sad. That year was also when I burned out physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and it was during my junior year that God kind of forced me to be in solitude so that I could rest. It was also during my year of rest where I found out what it really meant to call someone a true friend. Friends that I knew I could rely on for the rest of my life. Friends that I knew who would actually be there through the thick and thin. Friends who knew me better than anyone else. Friends that I knew who would be there until the end. So naturally, my birthday parties looked a little different. Some of my friends in the different groups started to overlap at this point, so instead of having four groups, I just had one. Therefore, the group was a lot smaller, everyone was super chill (no divas), and it was just great. I figured, why not just have a chill hangout with my close friends where we just so happen to celebrate my birthday. For example, on my one of my birthdays, we watched the midnight premiere of Spider-Man, and the year after, we watched the midnight premiere of one of the Despicable Me movies. See? Super chill.
Then I got into college, and it was still super chill. I invited my Christian ministry friends, the same ole crew from the year before, and we had a jolly good time. Played volleyball, ate dinner, chilled. Boom and done.
And then…this year. Weeks leading up to my birthday were super stressful. A lot of my ministry friends live in a different city but a few of them had told me they were thinking about coming down for my birthday, and I thought “Wow! They’re going to drive all that way just to celebrate my birthday with me? I’m so touched”. There were also a few friends in other cities who weren’t sure if they were coming down either, so as my birthday drew closer, I honestly didn’t know what to do. As a person who loves to plan and organize things, I was caught in a dilemma. I didn’t know who to invite because I didn’t know who was going to be back in town or not, but then if I created a Facebook event and invited everyone who said they might come but end up not being able to come, well then, that sucks because I didn’t want them to feel bad for not being able to come or experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out). Then there was also the struggle of not knowing what to do because I didn’t know who exactly was coming down or not, so I didn’t know how many people to expect. It might have seemed like a really stupid problem, but I was also caught in this weird position of wanting to invite more people (people I wasn’t necessarily super close with) because I didn’t want them to feel excluded since they knew I was celebrating my birthday with friends and whatnot. Sure, I might have made this problem more complicated than it needed to be, but I hate being exclusive. I didn’t want people to feel left out or hurt that I didn’t invite them, but I was reminded that it was my birthday after all and that I should do whatever I want to do. It was then that I was reminded of my constant struggle of being a people pleaser. I’ve gotten a lot better at it, but it slips out every once in a while. Exhibit A: Forming this year’s guest list.
Anywho, despite the stress beforehand, the party was great. I didn’t have much planned because I honestly just wanted to be in the company of my good friends on my birthday, so it was funny when my friends asked me what else I had planned for the night because all I said was “I don’t know. We can do whatever we want” which then they replied with, “Well it’s your birthday…what do you want to do?” I’ve noticed I’m a lot less selfish than how I was before because I didn’t have the mentality of “It’s my birthday, and I want to do this“, it was the fact that I honestly didn’t know what to do for my birthday because I just wanted to be with my friends. All in all, we just chilled at my house afterwards, played games, ate cake, watched me open presents (LOL), and everything was just super chill. One thing that I did take from all of these birthday parties is that I’m super thankful for my friends from the past and in the present. (:
And so another year passed, and I’m another year older. Maybe I’m growing more chill and laid back as the years go by or maybe I’m maturing! (Hahah well I hope so anyway) Who knows. But here’s to a start of a great year!
To many more mishaps, mistakes, and adventures…to no longer being a teen, cheers.