Happy Birthday to Me.
Dernière mise à jour : 22 avr.
Let’s talk about getting older.
It was my birthday last week and I spent most of the day all on my lonesome (cue the tiny violin), but don’t feel too bad for me!
In truth, I’ve never been big into my birthday. I abhorrently detest being the centre of attention; the opening note of ‘Happy Birthday’ is enough for me to burst into tears and pray for the ground to open and swallow me whole. Luckily, I have not had to endure this morose melody for many years.
I actually haven’t had a birthday party since university, where a friend thought it would be a great idea to throw me a surprise party…spoiler: it was not a great idea. After opening the door to the collective ‘SURPRISE’ I quickly turned on my heel, left the building and refused to return until my friend promised me there would be no singing of the aforementioned song, no cake and certainly no party games. Everyone was to pretend it wasn’t even my birthday – banners taken down, presents hidden, but the balloons were allowed to stay because, let's face it, balloons are fun. Everyone learnt a valuable lesson that night: Anna doesn’t do birthdays.
So, even though I don’t want the birthday party and the grand palaver that comes with birthdays, is it normal to feel guilty for not celebrating your birthday? For not acknowledging the anniversary of your ‘entering the world.’ Perhaps I should have popped open the champagne and danced around singing to ‘Happy Birthday’ by Stevie Wonder (the most elite birthday song to ever exist). Instead of having an all-night party, I made a pot of tea, ate copious amounts of chocolate, and watched Kung Foo Panda 3, before falling asleep at around 10pm. Wild birthday, right?
I don’t like my birthday, I don’t want a birthday party, so why did I go to sleep feeling guilty?
It is a similar style of guilt that some people may feel if they have no plans for New Year’s Eve, or even like the guilt a person may feel on a Sunday evening when they reflect back on their weekend and realise that the most ‘productive’ thing they did was de-scale the kettle. You feel as if you have nothing to show for the event, no fun stories to share with your colleagues at the water cooler (do people actually do this anyway?).
Then I realised something: the guilt I feel for not honouring my birthday in some elaborate way is because I am worried about what other people will think. I am worried that people might find it sad that I was alone on my birthday, or they’ll think I have no friends because I didn’t have a party. The conclusion I came to? Don’t care about what people think. If you are only doing things to appease other people, then you are not living your truth. Do what genuinely makes you happy and never do things you don’t want just to influence the opinions of others. This was a very freeing realisation to come to.
Also, your birthday is exactly that: yours. You can choose to throw the most elaborate party, invite your friends, family, pre-school teachers, be carried around on a throne wearing a crown and be fed birthday cake until you burst. Or, you can watch your favourite comfort movie, read a book and go to bed at a reasonable hour if that is genuinely what you enjoy doing. Just do what makes you happy.
I do, however, think that there is one thing everyone should do on their birthday: blow out a candle and make a wish. Birthday wishes are powerful and you can not waste this opportunity. So whether you are at a huge party and blowing out candles whilst everyone sings Happy Birthday to you (gag), or you are home alone and you have put a candle on a mini cupcake, make your wish and feel grateful that you have survived another year on this planet. Getting older is a privilege and you celebrate that privilege however you wish.