Many of my friends take their born days as the opportunity to stop the entire world and celebrate themselves with large parties, weekend-long festivities or engaging in some sort of pampering, self-indulgence.

*Hums Lyfe Jennings’ “Must Be Nice'”*

I have never been one of those folks who went all out for and/or felt particularly special on my birthday. July 22 was more often than not a pretty cool day during my childhood; while I am from very modest household, I was usually gifted with something I really wanted, some sort of special meal and maybe even a cake. In college, we drank on my birthday; to be fair, in college, we drank on days ending in ‘y’. This is around the time homies started doing big b-day celebrations, but I never saw fit to make myself the center of attention in that sort of way.

Birthdays didn’t really get bad for me until I graduated and moved to New York. Yes, my life here has been very fun, full with friends new and old. But that one day of the year that was supposed to make me feel special, accomplished and grateful has become a reminder of goals unfulfilled, increased proximity to a looming milestone birthday (thirty is young, yes, but it for damn sure ain’t “the new 20”) and an overall sense of failure. Shouldn’t I own a house or an advanced degree or a perfect credit score or at least a cat that doesn’t hate my guts by now? How am I going to raise my Huxtable kids if I’m still earning what I would imagine what Claire spent on groceries for her brood? And will I be able to produce little Miles and Malcolm before my parents are too old to get their (seperated) Anna and Russell on?

*clutches brown paper bag and hyperventilates*

When I was sixteen, I often referred to myself as “almost 18”; at 19, I was chomping at the bit to turn two years older and use my real ID when I went out. Now, I’m gonna just keep saying I’m 24, as I have been in the however many years it’s been since I turned 24. Its a good age! Old enough to be respectably mature, yet young enough to be defined more so by potential than what one has already achieved. WIN-WIN. The age I’m turning today? Combined with my socio-economic and career situation? LOSE-LOSE.

Surely someone who is a bit ahead of me in years is laughing at me and thinking “foolish little girl”, but I can’t help but to feel like I’m losing a race and turning a year older just makes that distance between myself and the finish line (whatever that may be). I’m alive, I have groceries and I’m relatively healthy. But I’m still giving a big old ‘bah humbug’ today.

Am I alone on this Clutchettes?

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  • JustSaying…

    Here is the problem with most of you (I suspect): You have stuck yourselves to a race of men (black men) that add nothing to your lives and aren’t marriage material. When you have someone in your life to face the storms with you simple things like getting older don’t phase you. Why? Because you’re not going it alone.

    • If you are going to be a troll, you have to do a better job at trolling on topic. Ma’am (or sir, because today’s comment officially put you in the ‘I think this may be a White dude in disguise category’)- this piece was about feeling anxious about getting older and not having accomplished certain things yet or feeling on track to do so soon. Everything I said regarding marriage and starting a family was directly related to class attainment, as I don’t plan to have kids until I am firmly sitting at comfy middle class status. I’m in a serious relationship with a Black man who I will likely marry. Reading through the comments, you are the only one harping on having a man. This is your schtick. “What’s today’s topic and how can I tie it to dating men of other races?” I don’t know if it’s for attention or just general nuttiness. You don’t honestly want to see Black women happier, do you? And if you think the only route to that is by dating non-Black men, your delusions deserve a post all their own.

      Congrats, you managed to waste an entire three minutes of my time. *back to ignoring the trolls*

    • JustSaying…

      @Jamilah Lemieux

      Maybe you missed it, but some here SAID some of their anxiety about aging has to do with the fact that THEY ARE SINGLE (NOT MARRIED) yet. And you are out of your mind if don’t see that is tied to their condition with black men. So please go cry me a freaking river with your “You opinion doesn’t agree with mine so you must be white” rant.

      Black women want love and happiness like all other women. However, due to circumstances beyond their control it’s harder to obtain than other races of women. Moaning about it won’t change it.

      If don’t want people speaking their minds stop blogging chick. I’ll wait for that post and please come with something more than just your opinion because I’ll be waiting with solid statistical evidence.

  • binks

    You are preaching to the choir with this article, I agree. I SO didn’t imagine my life like this at 25 of still trying to get a foot hold in the door and to make it, I feel like such a slacker and combine with a birthday about to come up I feel even worst :( but at the same token I’ am thankful for birthdays because it is another year on earth and another year to turn things around…or trying

  • Saturn

    I turned 25 in May and I have been having the blues since then. A lot of stuff I thought I would have done I have yet to do and am far away from. I look at my friends and a lot of them have so much and have done so much and I feel like I have done so little. Reality is hard.

    • Courtney

      I know this article is old and I don’t even know if you’ve subscribed to comments, but I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I don’t cry on every birthday (I’ve spent SO MUCH of my life crying that a few years ago I finally decided that I wouldn’t do it anymore) but I turned 25 in January and I feel completely unaccomplished. Hospital stays related to my eating disorder and severe depression interrupted my schooling and so I’m still working on my bachelor’s. At our age, we know people with their master’s, just getting their first salaried “career jobs,” married and starting families… although in this economy, there’s not as much of that as there may have been in other times. I don’t know if you have depression but I know the main way I keep myself from crying and dwelling on “what ifs”, past mistakes, and comparing myself to others is to keep making progress on my path. I live in my own apartment, pay 99% of my expenses with a full time job (my parents still cover my cell phone bill and auto insurance) and am taking one class at a time (all I can manage with work) to get my engineering degree. Figure out what you want.. and then set yourself firmly down that path to accomplishing it. Don’t look back at all the other paths you could have taken. That’s what helps me. Hope it helps you.

  • First off Happy Belated Birthday. No matter how you choose to celebrate today is important because you are important :)

    Now I’m a couple years your jr but I feel the same way. By now I was suppose to be in ny on my Carrie bradshaw/kimora lee simmons doin BIG THINGS! but you know what I’m where God has me to be. Today is about learning how to be okay in THIS place not yearning for somewhere else. It’s like a video game if ain’t got all your coins why take mariod won to king kupa’s evil @ss lair to get mollywopped? lol I love your work and the publication ( is it appropriate to call and online mag a publication?) you work for. Find solace that you are impacting others though it might not be in the way you want. and Cliff will come and remember he ‘s a doctor, the money will work out. ; )

  • Tiffso

    This was me for my birthday that was a few weeks ago…My social life and health are great but my work/career life is craptastic. I have to remind my self to stay positive but it can be hard at times when you see your peers doing well or coming out of their slight struggles at a quicker pase and your still in the same position but giving your all plus some.