I’m giving up the conviction that birthdays don’t matter. Sure, they are a time of reflection, of looking back. But to any person other than the one looking back, “looking back” doesn’t mean anything. Other people already see you according to your last encounter with them, whereas you always live in the moment. Therefore, looking back is normal to others–but can be stirring to you. For others, the past is more inextricably tied to the present than it is in the point of view of the object of observance. When I look back on a birthday, especially if I’m in places where I’ve spent previous years, I feel so much weight. The weight isn’t a burden, but it just exists. There’s so much life, so much love, so much happiness; I feel like I’ve lived 100 years (I’ve lived 16). Experience is beautiful. I apologize for the cliche, but it’s an ineffable experience.