• Lauren Burke

Stress about Birthdays

Does anyone else have massive anxiety about their birthday?

A birthday is supposed to be a happy thing, a celebration of life and friends and family... But every year, my blood pressure goes up and my migraine get worse with the stress that comes with this particular celebration.

My birthday is part of the family opening of the holiday season. My grandma Deedee's birthday is October 8, then mine is the 13th, then after our birthdays begins the holidays. Thanksgiving first, with my brother's birthday on Nov 24, then Christmas. Some of my stress could be related to the coming holiday season, the stress of a new year. But I think largely, for me, the stress is that my birthday is the start of a new year.

I'll be 25. A quarter of a century old. Ten years ago, I probably thought I would be married and have a career by now, or at least would be mostly done with vet or med school. I had big, yet nonspecific, dreams as a kid. I wanted to do something big, make a difference, but I never knew how. I actually just ran across a paper I wrote my sophomore year of high school, almost ten years ago, where I wrote that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Sadly I didn't save it to my computer, so it's lost on my external hard drive somewhere, but I related to it so hard. Like, DUDE, I've felt this lost for A DECADE. Who am I?? What am I doing here?? What purpose do I have on this planet??

I guess I feel this way every year, because most of my writing is done around my birthday. Starting as a freshman in high school I would write regularly, but mostly only around October. Writing has always been a good way for me to get my anxieties out.

But my birthday stresses me out. Everyone wants to see you, celebrate you, spend time with you. But what about the rest of the year?? Does no one want to see me then?? What does everyone want to spend tomorrow with me? Frankly I'm so depressed at this point, I kind of just want to stay in bed with my dog. Ricki is the best cuddler around.

But instead, I will go shopping with my mom in the morning, have lunch with my parents, chill in the afternoon (probably work on one of the website redesigns I'm freelancing to keep myself afloat between full time jobs), have dinner with my parents and grandparents, and then go out with my friends. Hopefully this migraine I've had for over a week stays at the nice low-level pain it's been for the last 24 hours, and doesn't get worse. Isn't stress great?

Here is a photo of Ricki from her birthday last year. Thank goodness for dogs!

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