My Reflections on a Milestone Birthday


Milestone birthdays start at the beginning of a person’s life with the first birthday. Continuing on, significance is given to certain ages, such as 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, and so on. Turning a specific number shows that you have reached another step in your life’s journey and are celebrating a big birthday year. Usually these years are commemorated with celebrations and unique presents. They also come with special meanings.

  • The first birthday signifies the future and what’s to come for the young toddler.
  • The 16th birthday marks the beginning of the end of being a teenager and entering into the adult world. As an older teenager, getting a driver’s license means more freedom and independence. For girls, the year is a celebration of becoming a woman.
  • The 18th birthday and 21st birthday symbolizes a person’s official entry into adulthood with new rights and responsibilities. At these ages, people are now able to vote, officially own property, and at 21 years old, drink.
  • By the time your 30th birthday comes along, you have said goodbye to your 20s and are starting to settle into a daily pattern. You may be thinking of settling down and becoming more focused on your life goals.
  • The 40th birthday is a time to embrace everything in your life and the experiences and loved ones that have made you who you are. While some see this as the introduction to middle age, it is important to note that 40 is actually a new chapter in your story. There are still many years to try something new and create exciting experiences.

Other milestone birthdays have similar implications. While these meanings are universal and generally accepted by society, these types of years have individual significance for people. Mostly, people view the younger years, such as 1, 16, 18, and 21 with excitement. As for the more progressive years, such as 30, 40, and 50, these ages may not be looked upon with as much excitement. People sometimes consider turning these milestone years as getting older and taking time to reflect on how their life has progressed. However, the more mature years are just as important to celebrate as the earlier ones. They can be new beginnings.

I say all of this about milestone birthdays, because I turn 30 this year. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. I’m excited due to the fact that it is another year of opportunities and love, but also bittersweet, because I am getting older. There have been times I have fallen into thinking of not celebrating the day and just letting it pass by. Society has placed certain expectations on ages and created a checkbox of what you should have done before you reach a specific year. For example, you should be married by this time, have kids by this year, and have accomplished this much by this age. You start to compare yourself to your friends and loved ones. Sometimes feelings of self-doubt and pressure to catch up to what they have sink in. But then, through reading articles and finding information about these milestone birthdays, I realized something.

Age can be considered only a number. Your checkboxes, or society’s checkboxes, will be marked off when the time is right for you. And those checkboxes are personalized and will not be the same for each person. You may have done things that your friends haven’t done by this point and it is important to be content with that. This societal pressure is made up of sometimes unrealistic expectations. A person’s perception of certain ages shouldn’t be different from other years, such as 23, 37, etc. Life events and moments come in their own time and you shouldn’t just be waiting around for them to happen. Go out and enjoy the moments that are happening in your life now. One quote I found from an article on the Today Show website said “Age is more than a number. It’s more about how you feel…it’s not about the number you’ve reached or how many boxes you’ve checked for that age bracket, it’s about living your life and how that life makes you feel. Not everyone is on the same path; life would be boring if that were the case”.

I still have several months before this milestone birthday occurs, but as it approaches, I feel more comfortable and content. When asking fellow writers about their feelings about reaching milestone birthdays, Forsyth Woman associate editor Keela Johnson stated “I wish I could remember milestone birthdays. I mostly felt blessed to have another year of blessings.” Case in point – milestone birthdays are just birthdays and no matter your age, all birthdays are important. You made another trip around the sun and that is an accomplishment in itself. Enjoy the ride and celebrate the day. I know I plan on doing so.



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