I did a poll on Instagram the other day. "Which birthdays are better - birthdays as a kid or birthdays as an adult?" I asked.
The results came back: Kid, 66%; Adult, 34%.
I honestly wasn't sure where the chips would fall when I asked that question. I am a huge fan of celebrating people's birthdays - they come once a year and it's the only time when you aren't selfish if you take some attention for yourself. It was Jacob's birthday this past weekend and I tried my best to make it special by planning him a small surprise get-together during the week and then a couple's retreat for the weekend with a bunch of our friends. He had done the same for me when it was my birthday - he organized all of our friends to surprise me with a chocolate cake, and then bought me a few amazing gifts.
But why do a majority of people think that birthdays are better as kids?
For one, people hate getting older. As a child, turning 10 is a huge milestone that you can't wait to hit - you're finally in double digits! But hitting 30, for example, is less exciting. You start to feel the anxiety that comes with aging, and you start to feel years slipping away.
I try not to feel that way. I think that getting older is a blessing and that we have the opportunity to live long lives, especially with the medical innovations we've been lucky enough to see in our lifetimes. But it is definitely easy to slip into that negative mindset.
Nostalgia is another reason. Looking back on our childhood memories, we picture them with rosy tones and huge smiles. I know that if I go unchecked, I will remember each and every one of my birthdays as a kid as if it was perfection. With one jog of my memory, though, I'll remember the time that I hid in the kitchen because I thought everyone was having a great time despite my being there. Or another time when I got my hopes too high and ended up crying at the end of my party. Of course, nostalgia is a lovely feeling because it's your brain forcing you to be positive. But with it comes the danger of "the grass is greener" and "wasn't it better when."
But I think the biggest thing is the sense of wonder that we have as children. Even if you don't remember it yourself, if you look at any child around you and the way they view the world, you can see the magic in their eyes. A birthday present isn't just something you've been looking at and planning to buy. It's something totally different, new, and amazing. A birthday cake isn't just something you'll take a small slice of because you're counting calories. It's the sweetest, most delicious treat you've ever eaten.
Everything is wonderful as a child. And when I say wonderful, I mean full of wonder.
So what's the takeaway?
As adults, it's easy to be cynical. We've been kicked by the world a few times, and the pain of what's around us is serious stuff. It's not something to take lightly. But we do have the immense choice before us as adults to embrace wonder, rather than take everything for granted. We've been given an amazing opportunity as humans to live on this earth and experience the majesty of creation. Looking at the world with the eyes of a child means remembering that there is still magic in everything around us, and we are lucky enough to live and experience it.
So make a pact with me this year: try to have a birthday filled with wonder. And tell me then: which birthdays are better?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!