Not So Sweet Sixteen: Celebrating A Birthday On The Day The World Ends

Sophie de Bruijn, Web Features Editor

As I write this, there are 24 days, 15 hours, 59 minutes, and 42 seconds until the end of the world.

There are also 24 days, 15 hours, 59 minutes, and 42 seconds until one of the most anticipated days of my life: my sixteenth birthday.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been awaiting the day that was supposed to consist of obnoxious helium balloons, my favorite coconut cupcakes, and a shiny new learner’s permit.

But if the Mayans were right in predicting the end of the world when they ended their stone-etched calendar on December 21, 2012, it will be a day filled with catastrophic floods, massive earthquakes, and, if nothing else, a worldwide feeling of anticipation.

Believe it or not, even before John Cusack warned us of our impending doom in his movie “2012,” my birth date has always been highly criticized.

Since elementary school, whenever someone learned that I was born on the 21st, they would immediately respond with, “Wow! It must suck getting a lot of combined birthday and Christmas presents!” since the occasions are separated by a mere 4 days.

While I could never prevent cheap friends from succumbing to this suckiness, I did throw a lot of tantrums at home to ensure my parents would never do so. The hot pink Barbie Jeep car I got on my fifth birthday was the best gift I could imagine, until I learned it was going to double as a Christmas present.

On top of being cheated out of countless gifts I probably would have returned anyway, I also celebrate my birthday on the shortest and the darkest day of the year. You know how around mid-October the sun starts to set earlier in the evening and you feel like time is running out and precious hours of your life are going to waste? Well, come my birthday, the sun will set sooner than the rest of the year, at approximately 4:32 p.m.

That leaves me with only 9 hours and 15 minutes to enjoy the day I’ve been fantasizing about since I first heard Hilary Duff sing the theme song to “My Super Sweet 16,” on MTV.

Granted, I wasn’t about to risk having a huge blowout party like the ones featured on the reality show. Sweet Sixteens are damaging enough on the average Friday night. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if 150 teenagers thought it was their last night on earth? Then if the world didn’t end, I’d have to deal with the cleanup. Not going to happen.

Having so late a birthday also means I’ll be one of the last people in my grade eligible to get a learner’s permit. To make matters worse, I live in the middle of nowhere, so my licensed friends aren’t exactly eager to pick me up all the time.

But despite all this, and the freezing weather, I have always loved my birthday.

I love how on my birthday everyone is always filled to the brim with holiday spirit and decked out in cheesy sweaters. I love how there are freshly baked cookies decorated as Christmas trees set next to my cake, and I love how all the lights shining across town sparkle like my own extravagant candles. Even if the Mayans did have it in for me, maybe as the earth explodes, it’ll be like my own personal fireworks show.

Getting over a week of vacation to celebrate curled up next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa isn’t so bad, either.

And maybe having my birthday on Doomsday means I’m one of the chosen ones who will survive whatever catastrophes hit. I guess everyone will just have to wait (like I will at the DMV) to see.