I really dislike birthdays. I have for a long time.
I hated my birthday because it was always a stupid time of year for a party. It was cold and snowy growing up and way-too-close-to-Christmas. I rarely had much of a party. My friends with summer birthdays had every kid from school over, and we’d go swimming and have a BBQ on the porch. For my birthday, a couple of girls would come and we’d watch movies inside because it was usually blizzarding outside.
In college, my birthday was the week before finals week–which for a music major at my college, that meant it was finals week, because our finals week always came early to allow for juries during real finals week.
It irritated me when people would ask me what I was doing for my birthday. As if it were a special day.
It irritated me that I cared enough about my birthday that I was sad when I wouldn’t get a card, or no one would remember.
I hate that Facebook is all about saying “happy birthday” to someone. On principle, I will rarely say “happy birthday” in any form to anyone on Facebook any more. I have to actually care to do it. Or have something to say. I hate even more that Facebook texts me every day to tell me whose birthday it is today. And it’s a feature I can’t shut off without shutting off all texting functions from Facebook.
People take birthdays for granted. They were born, and therefore they are entitled to stuff. They are entitled to being first in line, first to eat cake, the centre of attention. Just because they were born.
Since November, birthdays have seemed like a personal slight to me. You celebrate birthdays as a way of saying, “Congratulations! You survived the day you were born and have survived to see it come once again! You are better than everyone who didn’t survive that day, and who hasn’t survived to see it come again!”
I sound like a jerk and a real party pooper. I get it. Sometimes I feel like both. But birthdays have usually been sad times for me (either disappointing, or downright bad times of my life), so I am always half-hearted about others’ celebrations.
I do, however, love giving gifts, which is the one thing that doesn’t line up with my resentment over birthdays. Birthdays give me an excuse to give someone something I’ve found or made just for them. I still hate them though, and they still make me sad.
I’m going over to my parents’ today to celebrate my mother’s birthday. I’m glad she was born so that I’m here, but it still makes me sad that my son won’t get a birthday celebration ever. That his birthday was also the only day he spent with us outside of my womb.