Couple of weeks before my 13th birthday I asked my mom if I can have three new outfits for my birthday. Both of us were surprised I asked. Me, because I never asked anything for birthdays. I didn’t have wrapped gifts waiting when I woke up on birthdays. My mom was surprised because I asked and that too not just one but three outfits. Few days later, she said it’s not possible and we can afford only one new dress. I sucked it up. My aunt who was visiting us said, “Well, when you get married, you can have your husband buy you as many dresses as you want”. I told her that day that I will never wait for someone to buy me anything and If I want something, I will work for it myself. I wasn’t arrogant about it when I said it. It felt very ‘matter of fact’ for me at that time. I am glad my parents didn’t just get me everything. It definitely gave me motivation and I got the taste of my first paycheck when I was 16, three thousand rupees (Less than $100). I worked as a news anchor for a local cable channel (I still can’t believe I did that. What was I thinking?). Surprisingly I didn’t go out and buy any new dress. That money was spent for my TOEFL exams and other things. But the whole ‘new dress on birthday’ just stayed with me. So for the last 12 years (After moving to US), I made it a point to buy a new outfit for my birthday.
Birthdays are always special to me. I know for some, it’s just another day but not for me. I am here, I am alive then I am celebrating that day. I love birthday parties, I love everyone making a big deal about it. This year was my big 30th and I was away from the family. I didn’t have the ‘hoopla’ I envisioned that I would do for my 30th. But I finally made my “three outfits” into reality. I got me a reservation at the spa for some pampering. I made reservations for dinner and I made sure I kept me happy that day. And I didn’t have to ask anyone for anything. I was able to do it myself.
Few days later it got me thinking though. Am I still 13? Does being a 30 year old mean I have to start saying “Oh it’s just another day. I am getting old”, even though I don’t mean it? Does it mean I will stop ‘celebrating’? Nope. No way, no how. I worked way too hard to be where I am and nothing will bring me down from feeling how I feel. Thirteen or Thirty, you still have to rely on you and only you for your happiness and no one can hand it to you. Would it be nice? Yes. Can it happen? Not always. That’s when you tell yourself, “Suck it up butter cup”. That’s when you decide which route you want to chose. The one where you are pissed off and sulking or the one where you are still pissed off, but are able to work on getting over the anger and finding ways to cool off. Both ways are difficult. Personally I have chosen both routes at certain points of my life. Part of growing old, you see yourself choosing the second route more often than the first :). That's the difference between 30 and 13 ;).
Here is a pic of the familia at the birthday dinner: