So, now I’m 31. Yesterday was my birthday.
I didn’t make a big deal of it because, frankly, it isn’t a big deal. I also wanted to see how many of my friends remembered.
Everyone I count as a ‘close friend’ forgot or ignored. Close family remembered. Even a couple of acquaintances remembered. Friends of my sister remembered. It’s the close friends forgetting that I’m bummed about, of course. I don’t even know why it gnaws at me…it’s just a effing birthday, right?
The problem is that when you’re a kid (most people anyway, you weirdos who didn’t celebrate birthdays need not apply) everyone makes a big deal of your “special day”. You get used to people treating you special on your birthday. As you get older, you hit certain milestones that get celebrated wildly — 18 and 21, for example tend to be great birthdays. 25 was even a good one. You might even get a good party out of some friends for a non-significant year.
I have an extra twist to my birthday: my sister was born on my 3rd birthday. That’s right, it’s ‘her birthday too.’ When we were kids, this was a nightmare for my parents. Imagine trying to hold birthday parties and try to make it special for each one. I sympathize with parents who have twins and have to deal with this issue. It was also sometimes torture for us. I can’t tell you how many times we were cheated with a gift that was to *both* of us. What about my goddamn special day?? And she was thinking the same thing…
Now we’re older and we handle the whole birthday thing much better. In fact, we embrace it. We buy ourselves cake, take a trip, whatever. It was really nice for a group of her friends who have adopted me too to share OUR birthday with us. Still, I was sad that MY friends were MIA.
I always feel bad mentioning it’s my birthday too, like I’m soliciting for birthday wishes. The person you’ve told feels obligated to say ‘happy birthday’ and you feel crappy that you had to tell someone. Except when free food is involved. But then, I don’t want a crowd of wait staff singing to me in another language while a large sombrero is placed on my head. Not my idea of fun, really.
So, don’t feel obligated to wish me happy birthday. I’m only mentioning it because yesterday is on my mind and I needed to spew about it so I can get on with my day.
Today is someone else’s birthday, somewhere. If you know anyone who has a birthday, even if you haven’t talked to them in years, wish them happy birthday. They’ll be glad you did and you’ll feel better too.
You don’t know if anyone else has taken the time to do it. And you could make that day special for them again.
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This post was written by Shawna on August 25, 2005