There has always been this rule about turning twenty one, it’s not a written or legal rule but yet everybody knows about it. The rule states that on your 21st birthday “Thou shall do something wild and crazy” because it’s your first step into adult life, although last time I checked 18 is the legal age into adulthood and of course on a persons 18th, they still feel pressured to do something extravagant.
I turned 21 yesterday. and I’ve been planning what to do since summer. I’m not the type of person to celebrate her birthday – what I usually do is sit in my bed with a bowl of ice cream or any type of dessert I wouldn’t usually treat myself to (I’m a big fan of desserts) and it’s during this period that I feel like I deserve a whole serving of vanilla cheesecake.
I’m not exactly sure why I celebrate in this way, sometimes I do go out with friends for dinner but I think one reason is because of the time of my birthday. November. Right after Halloween, Right before Christmas and most of all, exam period. In the 5 years I spent at secondary school, I had an exam at least twice on my birthday so there wasn’t any time to do something fun because I always had revision.
At college, my coursework deadline was around my birthday so I would hand in my work and go home to treat myself. This carried on into university and now that I’m in my final year, it’s still the same thing, I have a pile of work that I’m going to have to demolish in a second but I was never bothered with the timing of where my day landed. I’m a quiet person, I don’t like noise so staying home for my birthday wasn’t a problem, after all, I received messages from people that loved me, people that mattered and that always made me smile.
However, this year, I realised I was going to turn 21, this was my time to do something different, something memorable, something bigger than vanilla cheesecake. Everywhere I turned someone was throwing the question at me: “what will you be doing for your 21st?” and I usually responded with a blank expression on my face: “i duno yet” family and friends were counting down for me “4 months to go… 3 months to go … 3 weeks to go … 5 days to go…” and I felt like whatever I have planned must be good enough to wow all of this people.
I decided to do a three-day celebration since my birthday fell on a Saturday. Friday was for partying in the city, Saturday was a spa day in the countryside and Sunday was dinner – to tie the weekend together. I spent most of my time in the library looking for places to go on Friday night, what hotel to have the spa, what restaurant to eat taking into consideration the price, location and travel. Seeing as my friends and I were all students (some working, some not) I had to make sure things were accessible and affordable. I initially wanted to travel out of London as I have never taken holiday away from home but price and the fact that I have a lot of coursework to get through couldn’t allow it.
I was stressed up until the Friday before my birthday, we ended up missing the show we paid to see but we still went clubbing in freezing temperatures but I enjoyed those few hours until we got back to the hotel and things weren’t going the way I imagined it would in my head and somehow I was the one to blame, my friends would turn to me to ask why this isn’t working, why that didn’t happen, why whatever was whatever. There is a lot of pressure being a host or organiser but I expected my friends to let me have the peaceful birthday I came there for. It didn’t feel like my birthday and I didn’t enjoy it even though I put my bank in debt because of it. Everyone was moany, bored and by the end of the night, we weren’t speaking to each other.
When I came home, I found a birthday card from family and after reading the note inside, it suddenly felt like it was my birthday, all I needed was something so small and meaningful to make my day. All the fancy outfits, the moneys spent, the fancy hotel, the dip-in-chocolate spa treatment (amazing by the way) were really not that important and because I spent so long trying to make it all perfect, I was tired and when it didn’t even go to plan, I was stressed.
I appreciate all the people that were involved, my friends for leaving their lives to come and celebrate with me and my family for helping me put it together, but I now know that all that matters to me isn’t what I spend my day doing but who I spend it with, not how many messages I got but who I got my messages from.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect things to go exactly the way you planned because you will go crazy when it doesn’t and you’ll spend your day being grumpy George instead of happy Jane. Take life as it comes because it has a lot of curves and DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO HAVE A BIG BIRTHDAY! Fly a kite if that’s all you want. That’s why next year, for my 22nd, I’ll be sitting in McDonalds with 5 cups of McFlurry 🙂
I’m going to get myself ready for the last part of my birthday weekend now. Have a good evening.
(P.S I don’t know who George and Jane are lol)