I have a birthday coming up next month. I’m going to be 33 on 03/30! Only with America’s date format does that work, where I have the threes next to each other for the date, so I have to make the most of that day.
Three years ago, I was preparing to turn 30 on the 30th. Mom wanted me to do the “29 and holding” thing, where I start lying about my age. But come on! I couldn’t just let it go that my age was going to be the day of my birth.
Unfortunately, that was the year that Mom passed away, with exactly four weeks before I turned 30. It sucked. I mean, that was a major birthday for me, and she was my mother and pretty much my best friend in the world.
I’ve had a lot of awesome birthdays, and all of them up to that point involved her in some way. She had me excused from classes for my seventeenth birthday, and we went to see the movie Someone Like You which starred Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman. There were birthdays when I wasn’t in school anyway, and we would usually do lunch together and possibly see a movie or something. When I was younger, she would try to get some of my friends from school together for a kids’ party, but planning such a party rarely went as expected as most people never seemed to show up. But when I got older, it mattered less to me if I had a party at all, because I just wanted to enjoy the day.
So for my 30th birthday, I spent the better part of the day wearing my dress from my Senior Ball from high school, and I declared myself a birthday princess. I actually went to the store to pick up a few things while wearing the dress.
For the 31st birthday, I dragged my then-boyfriend into New York City and I visited a few stores in Times Square, then went to FAO Schwarz before they permanently closed, and we ended the trip after going to Benihana for dinner.
I almost forgot what I did for my 32nd birthday. My then-boyfriend/fiancé, now ex, and his family took me to Medieval Times. That was fun for me at the time, and I think I would go again if it means forgetting that birthday and remembering only who I go with the next time.
For that one day out of 365, I always want to do something a little differently. It’s the one day of the year when I definitely want attention. If I go out to eat, I don’t mind if the waitstaff sings to me. I like when my Facebook friends leave me birthday greetings. I don’t need gifts, I just want to have a fun time.
So it bothers me when I see people who treat their birthday as “just another day.” No, no it’s not. Your birthday is your day to celebrate, and you should. Ask people to hang out with you for drinks or karaoke. Tell people you want a party, and either a friend will organize it or you can just invite people to your place for whatever kind of get-together is your thing. If you don’t want to be around people, then just take yourself out to see a movie. Draw a hot bath for yourself, light some candles and maybe some incense, pour a glass of wine, play some music, and just relax.
“But this tragic thing happened near my birthday.” I lost my Mom within a month of my birthday, and that was the curse to end all curses (I’m not kidding, my birthday was also prone to malady). My Mom’s father passed away the day after my brother’s birthday. My Dad passed away shortly after my parents’ anniversary. I have a friend whose mom passed away near his birthday. The point is, you’re not alone. What matters is how you carry on. I firmly believe that my parents would want me to live a happy life and not to dwell on their passing. I miss them every day, but I have to take care of myself, which means facing each new day with my head held high. Something bad could happen again, something bad already did happen. What matters is at least attempting to have an awesome birthday, or trying to roll with the punches as they come along.
“I don’t want anyone to do anything for my birthday.” Is that really what’s going to make you happy, or are you trying to goad people into doing something for your birthday? Because again, all you have to do is say what you really want, and you might get it. And if there’s someone out there who doesn’t want you to surround yourself in a miasma of sadness, bitterness, despair, and other negative feelings, they might do the exact opposite of what you ask for. Hey, there’s people in this world who have low expectations, who try to ask for what they actually expect will happen, and then they say that they got exactly what they expected when everyone takes their words at face value. And then there’s me, someone who wants to have a good day and a fun time, and I have the best day ever if I spend the day working and then go out for karaoke immediately after (my 21st birthday). But I find it hard to believe that anyone wants to be ignored on their birthday. Maybe they just need to find the one person in this world whose shoulder they can cry on, or who they can at least open up to.
I don’t know, I just think that you’re doing things backwards if your life is fine but you treat your birthday as a day to be miserable. Life is usually what you make of it, and you should spend a day to honor yourself for not giving up for the entirety of another year. And if you need to remember you’re not alone in this world, that it’s not so bad and that you deserve happiness, I’m here for you. Seriously, click the Contact link on my page and write to me.
And have a happy birthday!