By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
I’m a huge birthday person.
Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around piñatas full of candy and birthday cake up my nose (which is probably where some of my trust issues stem from).
I believe everyone should feel that their birthday is an important day. It is the day you came into the world, after all. But there comes a point in our lives where it feels like they’re no longer special — like our lives aren’t meant to be celebrated anymore.
I understand that for many people, birthdays never felt like they mattered. Sometimes they bring bad memories or they simply feel like just a regular day. Then, at a certain point, we start dreading them because we’re afraid of getting older. Or more specifically, we’re afraid of what getting older means.
From your first birthday, which is more about your parents than yourself, to your 13th birthday, when you’re enthralled in the awkwardness of adolescence, birthdays are seen as the completion of life’s milestones. When you turn 16 it means you can drive. At 18, you’re finally an “adult” (maybe legally, but we all know how childish we still are).
Then there’s the ever-popular 21st birthday, which comes with a sense of underlying pressure to be the best of all birthdays, even though it isn’t always. Mine completely sucked, but that’s okay.
There’s two reasons I believe birthdays should be celebrated. First, it’s the day the Lord designated for you. Sure, sometimes you have to share it with other people. There’s only so many days in the year. But God, or science or the universe, or whatever you believe in, decided that day was the day you would take your first breath. That reason alone makes it a worthwhile day.
Second, think of how important your birthday must be to the people that love you the most. Think of the pain your mother had to go through on that day. Think of the joy it brought her. If anything, your birthday is more about her than anyone else. The birthdays of the people I love mean more to me than my own.
During these difficult times, birthdays should mean more. Sure, we can’t go out to celebrate them. We can’t throw parties in person. But we can still send “Happy Birthday” texts. We can still blow out our candles and make a wish. We can still show people we love them and appreciate their presence in our lives.
I just turned 22, and if I’m being honest, it wasn’t anything special. If anything, it was a little bit lonely. But I still chose to think about it as an important day because it means I got another year to make a difference in the world, even if it was a small one.