Happy 28th Birthday! Although it is a greeting, I couldn’t be happy. I turned 28. I grew a year older. I still had a lot to accomplish. I had no friends around to celebrate my 28th birthday with me. I was depressed. But was I depressed because of being alone on the one day in the entire year when you are supposed to feel special or was I actually scared of life passing by?

I’m not a kid anymore, and yet I anxiously waited for my birthday. I even counted days like a little child excited for all the presents he will get on that special day. I mentally made a list of people whom I considered to be the ones whose wishes will brighten up the day. I guess I wanted to feel more special than the others on my birthday.

But then, none of my friends showed up. Various reasons were thrown around for their absence. Most of them genuine and believable. Yet it hurt. Feeling lonely on your birthday does hurt, no matter how old you are.

I kept contemplating the reason why I was alone on my special day. Where had I gone wrong? Where had my friends gone wrong? Didn’t they care about me? Was I not that special to them as I think I am?

I stayed sad for a long time that day. I had my parents who were excited about me being around with them for a change. They cooked my favourite food to make me happy. They let me know that I wasn’t alone.

When the day was about to end and I had finished two TV shows by binge watching, I wasn’t feeling lonely anymore. I was happy with my own company. I enjoyed spending the day all by myself. I understood that my friends hadn’t forgotten me, but they were actually caught up with their responsibilities, familial and otherwise.

I realized we had grown up. We had more pressing matters than celebrate birthdays together. What mattered was they still took out time to wish me, some way or the other. They cared enough to remember a random date when countless things keep running in our minds which demand urgent attention. They promised to make it up for their absence by being there in the days to come. And I know for sure they will.

Turning 28 and being alone wasn’t bad anymore. I grew a year wiser. I spent another year being with the people who loved me. I dedicated the most special day to myself. I took a step further into maturity and adulthood. I learned to be thankful. I learned to appreciate what I had. I grew up a little more!