Thoughts on Turning 28 and on Birthdays in General

My 28th birthday is coming up in less than 2 months, and since I like to make a mountain out of a mole hill (fun fact: I thought it was MOWE hill for the longest time, which makes NO sense – then again, I always thought it was a weird expression) it is only natural that this event is accompanied by some kind of sentimental ramblings. I apologize in advance!

Lately, I´ve been having an urge to go “back to my roots”, e.g. the area in which I spent the first 8 and three quarters (not so uncomplicated) years of my life aka my first and oldest world. It’s almost like a strong pull, or a feeling that I’m longing for a sense of peace that cannot be found anywhere but there. So I sometimes go back and smell the air and look at all the doorbells I’ve rung and reminisce about a time where cold cuts and warm liver paste on my mother’s freshly baked bread was my favorite dinner.

Nearly 20 years ago, on my 8th birthday, I got a bright orange Adidas jacket with a white zipper and matching pants. In the mid-1990s, Adidas was all the rage in my neck of the woods, and it didn’t matter the color; even a shit-brown Adidas jacket was better than no Adidas jacket. That year, my birthday fell on the school’s picture day. I wore my orange Adidas track suit to school, and my mother had put my hair in a simple braid. Cute hairdo IRL – unfortunate on picture day, when your worst nightmare was to look like you had short hair. My trauma was not realized until a month later when we received the photos in the mail.

God, I was so dramatic.

Danish poetess Tove Ditlevsen wrote a poem that resonated with me when I first heard it several years ago. It’s long and profound and plays the most beautiful melody on my heart´s strings. Here’s an excerpt that has been clumsily translated by yours truly:

“I’m your childhood street
I’m the root of your being
I’m the beating rhythm
in everything you’re longing towards
I’m your mother´s grey hands
and your father´s worried mind
I’m the light and foggy web of your earliest dreams”

Surely turning 28 is not so different from turning 27 or 29 for that matter, although the latter might feel a little more monumental as it is the last year of your 20s. Or maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all. Maybe too much weight is put on something that is essentially socially constructed, like, “in your 20s, you are supposed to do x and y” – as opposed to your 30s or 40s or 50s which I guess are full of different promises, like “your x’s are the new y’s” and “women find themselves in their x’s” (don’t even get me started on that one!)

Sometimes I lay awake and think about how quickly the years pass by, and I begin to panic because I JUST had a crisis over turning sixteen – or at least that’s how it feels. Yes, I had a crisis when I turned sixteen. And when I turned 10. I remember my 5th birthday clear as day because I broke my leg when I was out looking for my present – a brand new bicycle. I’ve had birthdays where I felt like there was nothing to celebrate, and I’ve had birthdays where my entire body was bubbling with excitement and I wanted to scream it from the roof tops.

This year I will spend my birthday working on an exam paper that will be handed to me on my birthday and had to be handed in the next day. At first I was like, OUT OF ALL THE DAYS, but now I’m okay with it because it’s just a day and it’s more about that feeling you have inside on the day, where it’s like you and the universe share this secret that hey, this day is somehow a little special, and so are you! This is true not just on your birthday, but on all 365 days of the year.

Let that be the moral of this story, and let’s all celebrate our uniqueness on this planet with a cup of tea and a cat snuggle.