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Opinion

Birthdays remind us to appreciate the meaningful moments in life

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March 7, 2017

My birthday was this past weekend, and I must admit that I feel a little strange; it seems like I blinked my eyes and suddenly I’m 22 years old. It feels like just yesterday I turned 21, and the week before that I had turned 18.

I can’t count how many times throughout my life I’ve heard the saying “time flies” or some other variation of that. I can see the truth in that. I know I’m only 22, but it seems like just yesterday my sister and I were building houses for our Barbies with all the VHS tapes we could find throughout our house.

In addition to the fact that time whizzes by us all, I’ve learned something else in my life that is holding more and more truth the older I get: I’ve learned that the small things in life can mean a lot more than the big.

My birthday weekend really solidified that for me.

I already knew that my boyfriend, Kyle, was going to treat me to a hotel room at one of our favorite spots. We discussed that I would leave my house in St. Paul around 3:30 and he would leave his base in Hayward, Wisconsin, around that time, too. I was under the impression that I knew all the details.

I was about 20 minutes away, according to my GPS, when he called me to tell me the room number. I don’t know if it was my high level of excitement, but that last 20 minutes of the drive felt more like five hours.

When I pulled up to the hotel, I parked my car and giddily walked in. The excitement that I felt was strictly influenced by the fact that I was excited to just see him. He had been away at drill for most of the weekend. Due to our conflicting schedules, him being in the military and working a full time job and me working long hours and going to school, we don’t get to spend that much time together.

Before I knew it, the elevator doors were opening and the red second floor symbol was illuminated at the top. I stepped off and made the long trek down the hallway, all the way to the end. He had propped the door open, so all I had to do was push it open. My heart immediately soared.

He was standing before me in a gigantic room, wearing his ACU uniform and the biggest smile ever. He told me that neither one of us had ever stayed in a suite before, so he wanted me to stay in one for my birthday.

Our night consisted of a lot of laughs, Kevin Hart’s “Laugh at My Pain” on Netflix and pizza. It was nothing crazy. There were no fireworks or large groups of people; it was just the two of us. Out of the 22 birthdays I’ve had, this one definitely takes the cake…or the pizza.

I think it’s really easy to feel obligated to have the “go big or go home” mentality when it comes to celebrations or events in general. As I previously mentioned, I’ve learned and am continuing to learn that it’s not about the amount of people that you have around; it’s about who you have around. It’s not about extravagant experiences; it’s about making memories. It’s not all about the big moments in life; it’s also about the small ones, too.