First off, in our family, no one is big on celebrations. We don’t really celebrate anything that is traditionally being celebrated. With that being said, last week was my birthday, April 27th. And with the opening sentence, you should already know that I treated the day as “business as usual” day.
This year was a bit different. One, because I got cake from my boss, and a birthday greeting compilation from my girlfriend. We also watched The Avengers before calling it a day. I would not consider it celebrating, but it is already different (in the best way) than the usual birthdays I had.
I grew up not following traditions, like the aforementioned celebrations. We did not have the financial means before, so I got used to it. Last birthday “party” I had was when I was 5. Then life caught up.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit around the house during Christmas or New Year hoping to get something better, or feel sorry for myself. I just got used to it. I have always thought about the financial repercussion of celebrations. I don’t want to spend too much on one day, just to follow traditions. I celebrate in thoughts, but not in the usual way.
It is interesting to see the reactions of my co-workers when I told them that I don’t really celebrate my birthday. They actually gave me a cake. Funny thing is, I really did not know how to act when I got it. I was not surprised, as we already have the habit of buying cakes for our teammates on their birthday, that it becomes expected. So I said “Thanks!” and proceeded to put it back in the box.
They had to point out that it was for everyone to eat. Now I was not really sure of this, but I thought that since they gave it to me, then I have the liberty of taking it home. I have a twin brother, so I was thinking of sharing the cake with him. I did not notice the cake was already sliced equal to the number of teammates I have, including my boss.
I was really clueless, in every sense of the word.
One of them asked me if I did not really celebrate my birthday. Their reaction was a bit funny and a bit impish. I felt like it was a crime with the way they reacted.
I also hate the fact that most people would only remember you if it’s your birthday. They would ask for a “birthday treat”, or expect to be invited to a “party” even though the only existing communication we have is once a year, through text.
And don’t get me started with Facebook. I removed my birthdate from my profile because I would be bombarded with messages wishing me a happy birthday, from people that I barely know, or have just met a couple of times, both of which I just did not have the gall to decline their friend request. Plus, they would be expecting for me to give each of them a response.
It goes the same to people that I know for years. The only time they remember your birthday is when they see it on facebook. Try removing your birthdate from (all of) your profile and see who remembers: those are the only people who care enough to do so.
Many people also have the habit of judging what you have accomplished with your age, and normally this conversation would be initiated during a birthday party.. I should be proud of this, but I know that some people would resent that fact, so I keep mum about it too.
Let me give another reason, although I know I would get a lot of hate with this: I have grown accustomed to thinking that birthdays are just a way of telling you that you are one step closer to oblivion. With each candle burned, we may need to think; “Did I ever grow up?”, “Am I going to be a better person now that I am a year older?”. Birthdays just remind us of life’s requirement to grow, but it turns out to be the show-and-tell of how little we did.
I have to admit though, that when I was younger, I used to envy the kids who would throw parties in school or invite me and my brother to a restaurant/fastfood for their celebration. I have always wanted to have one too, until I grew up a few more birthdays later. I also started to find it weird to celebrate something that you have always tried to hide or lied about.
I do celebrate my mom and dad’s birthday though. It is one way of me thanking them of the fact that without them, my birthday, and ultimately me, would not exist.