As I got older, birthdays that were once full of hope and dreams turned into a day full of anxieties that only reminded me more and more of the uncertainties of life. The hope and dreams were still there. But there were also lingering feelings of disappointment whenever I realized that my childhood birthday dreams would continue to be just that. A dream. A past expectation stuck in my memory. A reminder of how I wish everything could have been.
So for the past week, I have been asking myself. Am I going to let this disappointment wash over me on every future birthday I’m going to have? Am I going to let my future birthdays be ruined because of the anxieties I have about my uncertain future?
Most of my life has always been me attempting to fulfill all the impossible expectations I had for myself. Expectations of getting straight A’s at school, winning every competition I have ever joined, or volunteering in an organization. A mix of luck, hard work, and privilege have allowed me to do all that.
But a series of unfortunate events that happened these past years taught me that I’m not always in control of my life. Somehow, I need to learn how to conquer my fear of the unknown. I need to shift my perspective and understand that my life is intertwined with the lives of my family, my friends, or even strangers I haven’t met yet. I need to accept that sometimes, my life is in the hand of fate and sheer luck alone.
The whole process of understanding and accepting would continue even 10 to 20 years from now. Because I’m guessing that adult life is even more unpredictable compared to the one I’m living right now. So perhaps, 20 or 30 year-old me is just as confused as I am now on what life is about to throw my way.
And that is okay.
After all, what is growing up if it isn’t about understanding that our lives are finite and we only have a short amount of time to enjoy it. What is growing up if it isn’t about making the best out of our limited time and opportunity. What is living if it isn’t about embracing and welcoming uncertainties, as there won’t be rainbows without rains.