Adulting is hard in general, but what happens when being a grown-up takes away from the things we used to really enjoy? Birthdays used to be a big thing for me but now I’m throwing away expectations about my birthday. 

Remember, back when we were all younger, how excited we got for our birthday? From deciding on a party location, to the big moment when we blew out our candles, our excitement continued to grow. We wondered who would be coming to our party, what presents we were going to receive, and what our birthday wish would be. It was all so simple and filled with wonder. 

As we grew up our birthdays shifted, but still held the same excitement and wonder. Somewhere along the way these feelings turned into expectations. “Now that you are ___  years old you should start thinking about ___.” “You are ___ now so why haven’t you done ___.” I’m sure you have heard many variations of those statements, especially if you are in your late 20s like me.

I’m turning 27 this year and these expectations about my birthday have gotten to me more than I’d like to admit. There seems to be so many deadlines and timelines of what life is supposed to look like as a woman in her twenties. The catch is you have to determine if these are your timelines, or timelines you got from society. What gets confusing is when the two blend together. 

For example, society tells us that ideally women in their mid-to-late twenties should have started their family, a career they enjoy, or both. While you know this isn’t mandatory, you see your friends at that point in their lives, so of course you want to experience that as well. 

The past few birthdays I have had, I have been more focused on looking back on everything I haven’t done, instead of looking forward to the year ahead and all its possibilities. I have been dreading turning 27. There is so I want to do before I turn 30. I had a realization the other day that changed my perspective. I STILL CAN DO ALL THE THINGS!! Whether I’m 27 or 31, my age shouldn’t be a barrier for me to give up on the milestones I want to reach in my life. Which is why I am throwing away expectations about my birthday.

This goes for you too. No matter your age, there is still time. Don’t think that just because you haven’t met the one yet, or gotten a promotion yet, or any other milestone you were hoping for; that you need to give up. It’s time to throw away those expectations. Here are the two major ways I will be doing this. Will you be joining me?

I’m Throwing Away Expectations About My Birthday—And Concentrating On These Two Things Instead

1. Focus on the experiences you’ll make in  this next year

 Like I said before, our focus has been on what we haven’t accomplished up until the present day. It’s time to think differently. This year, instead of looking back, we are going to look forward. Think of a few experiences you want to have this year? The keyword being experience. You can think of it like a bucket list if that helps.      

 I know the big milestones, like career and marriage, are hard to completely abandon from your mind. Here is how to make those milestones into fun experiences. They may not give you the results you want right then, but they will get you closer. Examples could be to try speed dating or attending a job fair. What else can you think of?

2. Remember that you can be happy for others, while also being happy for yourself

When it comes down to it, the root of our dissatisfaction with getting older lies in comparison. When you are scrolling through your social media feed seeing all the engagements, new house announcements, and new career excitement, it’s hard not to compare yourself to everyone else. Believe me I’ve been there. 

Instead of getting caught up in the comparison trap, let’s decide that we are going to look inward to find something about ourselves that we can celebrate. It’s important to realize that, even though our lives are different, we can celebrate the milestones our friends have experienced, while also finding something about ourselves to celebrate. That is a big step to not viewing your upcoming birthday with dread and pressure. Need ideas and tips on how to limit your comparing, read this article next.

There is my roadmap for throwing away expectations about my birthday and I urge you to try it too. Imagine if we all did this! If we all decided to not pay attention to the different milestones society sets for us how much better would the world be? How much more celebrating would we do on our birthdays? We could actually relax and enjoy our day!

I don’t know when you are reading this, but I hope when your next birthday comes you’ll remember these tips. If you put any of these into practice let me know in the comments section.