I am a perpetual sufferer of the ‘birthday blues’. In just under two weeks, I will be another year older. Every year, as September rolls on, I feel the same sadness consume me. Apparently birthday sadness is quite a common thing. I don’t call it depression (as others do) because I feel depression is a much more serious thing compared to just feeling a bit down because I’m turning a year older.

I haven’t quite pinpointed what it is about my birthday that makes me feel so down. But, it’s definitely a combination of things. I don’t like the attention that comes with birthdays – I’d rather be a bit of a wallflower. I also feel like I haven’t accomplished all the things I thought I would have accomplished by 29. Twenty-freaking-nine. Another possible culprit is the stress of thinking about organizing a party (aka, will anyone even show up?)

I’d really prefer it if the day could go by unnoticed, so life can just continue on as it always does. I originally started this post as a list of things to do before I’m 30. I didn’t have too many ideas, aside from the cliched hot air balloon rides and yoga classes. Until, it suddenly dawned on me in a rather depressing way that I have a year until I’m 30. A year. There isn’t enough time (or money) to travel the world, write a book or get a new degree. Now is that depressing or what? I knew that thanks to being a control freak, not being able to finish my list would mean I had failed even more.

So, instead of focusing on what I can’t do – or what I had wanted to achieve by now, I decided to look at what I have done in the hopes that it might cheer me up.

I learnt to play the piano.

I roadtripped around Europe with my family.

I’ve gone skiing in France and Switzerland.

I went scuba diving in Mauritius.

I lived abroad in London and Scotland for a year.

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I got an Honours degree in Nursing after a hard four years of struggle and difficulty.

birthday blues

I got a tattoo.

I followed my heart when I was unhappy.

I fell in love with a proper keeper.

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I delivered just over 270 babies.

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I taught myself how to cook.

I bought my first place with the boyfrang when I was 26, going on 27.

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I started a cat family, with my favourite cat breed in the world.

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I started running, and took to it so well to it that I also ran a half-marathon (or two).

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I bought a car (and am now considering buying my dream car).

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I got to be a bridesmaid for my bestie.

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I travelled to Thailand – I discovered Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, as well as the Golden Buddha, The Reclining Buddha, Wat Arun and tons more.

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I ate street food in Bangkok (and it was one of the best meals of my life).

I snorkelled in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.

I regularly appear on a TV show called Great Expectations which is all about pregnancy, babies and beyond.

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I was promoted to manager of the clinic I’ve been working at for almost two years now.

I have made some amazing friendships along the way, when I once thought I’d never have friends.

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It may not seem like a lot, but it’s great to get some perspective that I have actually accomplished some things, and my life hasn’t been a complete waste of time. Although I may not have a lot of time to literally tick things off a list – here’s what I hope I can do more of before I turn thirty:

Be more adventurous.

Learn to stress less, and not to ‘sweat the small things’.

Start those yoga classes.

Travel more – even if it’s within South Africa.

Devote every day to being fitter and healthier.

Find the best Dim Sum in Johannesburg (I’ve already started this project, at least).

Buy my dream car.

Take on more work, and be on TV more often, so that I can keep furthering my career (and also, get rich).

Do you guys have a list of things you want to achieve? Or do you live each day as it comes? Is there value in making a list of things with the risk of feeling disappointed if you don’t achieve everything you set out to do? Let me know if you have any recommendations on what I should strive for in the next year, or even how I can help ease my birthday blues.

P.S. I already feel better about things after compiling this list – consider doing it for yourself too!

Ask Andy

5 comments on “Birthday Blues and Why I’m Not Making a List”

  1. We put too much pressure on ourselves. I detest getting older for the some of the same reasons. Maybe your birthdays should be a celebration of life lived well rather than aging. I’ll defs be there and don’t worry – we still have time xx

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