Why I'm Changing The Way I Think About Birthdays (Because Facebook Posts Aren't Enough)
This week, I turned 24. Yay me!
And after the stroke of 1:50 am on March 11th, I entered my mid-twenties. And as much as I (subtlety) freaked out when my roommate made me aware of that fact, I realized it really wasn’t a big deal. And unfortunately, that’s my fault.
For me, birthdays are always a bore. I get a bunch of Facebook messages, eat some cake, open a present or two, and go to sleep. For this year, I took off work, laid around, went to a Chinese buffet, watched the Magicians, and fell asleep. That’s it. And while I know that seems like a long list of activities, most of them are regular events in my life.
You see, for as long as I can remember, birthdays have been fairly bland. I stopped having parties after the age of five, and I don’t even remember them. After that, birthdays became days when I would bring cookie cake to class, so my classmates could celebrate. (Which is a major scam in retrospect!). After graduating from grade school, those birthday wishes went digital and evolved into a stream of Facebook posts.
But besides the well wishes, my birthdays never felt special. They always felt… stale.
I worry that all of this is just unnecessary complaining and a non-issue, and that’s partly true to be objectively honest. But, in a universe where, I believe, the only meaning in life is everyone’s personal pursuit of happiness, a yearly event that leaves me unsatisfied is not a good thing.
Shouldn’t birthdays be celebrations of self? Not just days where everyone sends obligatory reminders that you’ve gotten older, but days where we celebrate the birth and existence of the ones we love. A day to honor and cherish ourselves and the gift of being alive.
Our birthdays should be like a big, fat, gay wedding! There should be celebrations and laughter. Joy and song. And most importantly, love.
Life drones on so forcefully that we sometimes get swept up in its tide. We forget to stop and appreciate our very existence and the sparkle that’s in every one of us. On every birthday, we should shower ourselves with the love of the most perfect partner. A union for the ages.
Of course, if we all took the time to earnestly and passionately celebrate ourselves or the existences of each person on their birthday, every day would be a great big ol’ party. And while that sounds pretty great, that’s also pretty impractical. Because, again, life drones on. And sometimes, we have that dance recital, that big paper, that corporate meeting, or whatever else taking up our time. There's too much going on to stop and smell the self-love.
But it's important that we at least try. Try to celebrate ourselves with the deepest and truest of loves. If not every day, at least on our birthdays.
So this year, I decided three things.
- When I start having kids through fostering and/or adoption, I want to make sure that every birthday is a special day where I celebrate the existence and life of my children. I want them to understand that they are loved, and that their birthday is a special day.
- Next year, I will have a BIG ASS RUSSIAN DOLL-LIKE BIRTHDAY PARTY. I’m talking friends, strangers, alcohol, and more. People wasted here, dancing there, having sex in places that I don’t wanna know. I want to make up for 24 years’ worth of birthdays, and a big party sounds like a great way to start.
- Lastly, I will honor and love myself with celebrations of me every March 11th. It doesn’t have to be a big event like next years’, but I must always act with a joyful spirit. Because, I deserve to feel special on the day that I was born. And so does everyone else.