By Yako and Krystal

October 15, 2014, 9:55 am

 

My birthday is coming up! A slight panic takes control of me. The question is not, “What should I do this year?” but “Should I do something this year?

I always say that I don’t like to celebrate my birthday and I don’t really care that much. But if no one congratulates me on the day off this momentous affair, I feel a bit sad. What is that all about?

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I used to celebrate my birthday in the past, when I was a student living in Groningen, The Netherlands. Inviting all my friends to my home, a small room in the attic of a house I shared with other students. Some 40 – 50 people came out, creating the equivalent of an NYFD fire violation, leaving me with 2 days worth of cleanup.

But that was in the past. Nowadays, I do not plan for my birthday and I end up with the birthday blues. So how to explain this contradiction? I have a couple of explanations and do not really know which one applies — perhaps all do. I think they are are all related anyways.

I am afraid that no-one will show up. This is an easy one. Everyone that organizes something has this fear. Is this fear realistic? It does happen that people organize stuff and no-one shows up, right? But should that be the reason not to do something. I don’t think so.

I don’t have enough friends to throw a party. It’s true, I do not have a whole lot of people in New York, that I would call close friends. This is also because I never invested real time in making friends. I always thought I would be here temporarily, so why bother. But I’m here for almost 10 years now, so time to dedicate some serious time to friends. Also, you don’t need 40 – 50 people to throw a party. Just a couple of friends will do, unless you plan to throw a ticker parade.

I am not interesting or important enough. Hmmm, this is a tough one. I sometimes have that feeling, that it’s not really understood what I have to share or that it is not interesting or relevant. This is probably all in my head, but I’m not sure. It’s kind of a dilemma, because if in fact I am not interesting enough, no one would really care to let me know. So I will never find out. I should not fret too much about it.

I am simply too lazy to organize something. Definitely some truth in this. I feel, that in my work, I am already far too busy to organize things, so in my free time I want to stay away from that. I just take the events of the day as they come or follow the lead of others that do come up with fun things to do. On the the hand, this might also be a facade and what really keeps me lazy is the fear of failing to organize a successful event.

I don’t like to be the center of attention. I am kind of a quiet person and do not always have much to say, especially in groups. I am not one of those people that just entertains a whole bunch of people at once by telling a great and funny story. I’m better one-on-one. But I also know that I need to appreciate myself and accepting acknowledgement by others is part of that. Perhaps it is not so bad to be the center of attention for once.

I don’t care after all. Perhaps I do not care about celebrating the birthday itself per se, but is it more a moment in the year of reflection and realizing where you stand in life. If on that day you are by yourself, it easily becomes a pity party (for evidence see previous explanations).

And that’s perhaps what’s really going on. Birthdays, or better put, the absence of celebrating birthdays, have the risk of being the culmination of everything that you are unhappy about in life. You realize on your name day, the shortcomings that are in the way of reaching your full potential. If I only was a bit more of this or if only I did a bit more of that, I would be awesome and successful.

How to solve this? Just celebrate your birthday! You are already everything you want to be and that is reason enough for celebrating your life.

You deserve to be the center of attention for at least one day in the year. Let everyone cater to your needs, get showered in presents, demand attention, because you deserve it!

Yako


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About The Author

Yako: Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

Yako: Born on a farm in The Netherlands, Europe, I was always on quest for adventure. As a small boy, I was already interested in learning about other cultures and pretended I was fluent in American (I later learned that Americans speak English). At the age of 23, I traveled to South Africa where I lived for seven months to finalize my thesis for my master's in Business Administration. After that, I worked for eight years for a bank in Amsterdam, but I became restless and decided to quit my job and make the big leap across the ocean to New York. Studying arts and culture management at Pratt Institute helped me eradicate some of the prejudices I had of Americans. I never thought I would stay this long. But now eight years later, I'm still here. I live in Central Brooklyn and work for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation with great satisfaction. So far, my life feels as if I’m on one big adventure. | Krystal: As a native of Michigan, I moved to New York with a limited perspective of the depth and importance of social differences. Having a passion for creativity, I accepted the various ideas behind expression and equality that poured out from this beautiful, diverse place called Brooklyn. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 2006 with a degree in Communications Design and barely surviving the effects of forced independence, I started an open relationship with the nonprofit world and began to willingly become my own person. Since then, I have been employed and freelance as a graphic designer, with tons of exposure to the things that fascinated me as a child. Living in two culturally different environments has granted me a faceted understanding of social norms and injustices that I feel compelled to speak on. Though visual art and design have been my concentrations since grade school, writing and sharing thoughts socially has been my core calling. In keeping my promise to my parents, I have finally decided to write for social impact. Standing up for my truth while seeking and discovering the truths of others is the way in which I've chosen to take that on. So far, I've discovered that the most direct route to societal improvements begins with the coupling of self-awareness and humility.

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