Today is my birthday. I tell you that because I want birthday wishes in the comments. Okay, I’m half kidding here, but have you ever thought about how much our birthdays have improved since the advent of Facebook? Just think of how many more birthday wishes you get these days! I, personally, love the hell out of it. There’s nothing like hearing a good old Happy Birthday from that smelly girl who sat behind me in 8th grade science class (who I haven’t spoken with since). The one who had the worst case of nasal drip, year-round, and was always sniffing, but never blew her damn nose. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. It was very distracting during standardized tests, is all I’m saying. But you know what it tells me when that girl wishes me a happy birthday on Facebook? My birthday matters.
I think birthdays are a big deal. I always have. It’s the one day of the year that it’s all about you. As a self-proclaimed attention whore, I can tell you that having everything be all about you is good fun. On your birthday, you are entitled to the following things:
- Eat cake and not worry about the calories.
- Be picky in your cake choices, i.e., I don’t just want a cake, but I want an ice cream cake. With yellow cake, cookies & cream ice cream and white frosting. Oh, and I want to eat cake on my birthday AND at my official celebration. Remember, the calories don’t matter.
- Blow out a candle or multiple candles. It doesn’t matter how many there are, as long as you get the opportunity to make a wish.
- Have tons of people call, text, e-mail, carrier pigeon or Facebook you to wish you a good day. Some will even say it in person. Those people are a rare and special breed.
- Be a brat, if you want. However, be warned that this becomes far less cute the older you get.
- Throw yourself a party.
- Ask your friend to throw you a party.
- Ask your friend to throw you a surprise party (a little trickier, but doable if you ask early enough out in order to give yourself time to forget you asked and be surprised).
- Take the day off work.
- Sleep in. And by sleep in, of course I mean have sex. If you are in a relationship in which you are having sex (umm, a married relationship, since my mom is reading. We’ll just pretend she didn’t read AND comment on Sex After the Ex a while back), you are entitled to sex on your birthday – but only if you want it.
- Not take the trash out or do the dishes. I’m sorry, but it’s a damn travesty if you have to take the trash out or do the dishes on your birthday.
- Turn your birthday into a birthweek. This one is a little tougher to pull off, and you are really only entitled to do this every couple of years. Generally, you just have to be happy with your birthday. But on the years that your birthday falls on an inconvenient day, like mine this year (Wednesday), you are entitled to extend the celebration. So, I’m going out for dinner tonight, and also throwing myself a party on Saturday. Basically, celebrating my birthday twice. Not bad, eh?
- Buy yourself a present. This could be an awesome new pair of boots or a Caramello bar from 7-11. You must recognize and appreciate your own birth by giving yourself a thoughtful (not necessarily expensive) gift.
- Take advantage of any and all birthday freebies in the month of your birthday and not look cheap. A free serving of Cold Stone ice cream in the month of January? Sounds good. Local Mexican restaurant singing me ¡Feliz cumpleaños! with a free chocolate taco? I don’t mind if I do.
- Enjoy your birthday doing what you want, where you want, with who you want. Want to stay home and watch reality TV? Go for it. Want a night out on the town with the girls? Get out the tiara. It’s your birthday, celebrate it as you please.
This birthday feels different to me. Usually, I’ve marked my passing of age with parties and dinners, but no real contemplation. It seems the changes I’ve faced in the past year make me contemplate everything so much more. I’m 26 years old today, and this is the first year that I can see the age on my face. I can see wrinkles start to form. I can feel my body change in ever-so-minor ways: the way my bones crack sometimes when I move suddenly, the way my skin gets dryer in the winter than ever before, the way that foods I used to eat with reckless abandon now leave me reaching for Pepto-Bismol and Tums (and if I don’t have any on hand, I often forgo eating the food in the first place, which is just downright sad). I’m not, by any means, claiming to be old, but I feel age now where I didn’t really feel it before.
This birthday also feels so different because it’s the first – another in the long line of firsts – the first birthday after the breakup with ex fiancée. I haven’t spent a birthday without him since I was 18. Part of me wonders if he’ll call, text, anything – but then I doubt it, considering we didn’t speak on New Years and I (drunkenly) initiated our texting on Christmas. What feels good about this “first since the breakup” is that I’m running out of firsts. Soon, it will be April, and I will have gone a full year without him. I will have survived – even thrived – a full year without him. That’s pretty exciting.
This birthday is scary too, because I’m not sure where I’m going. Last time this year, I was in full on wedding planning mode. Around this time, I had just picked out my wedding dress on one of the most fun days of my entire life. I can hardly remember what I did for my actual birthday, because I was so excited about the wedding. Instead of a pending wedding, this year feels marked by my rekindled love for writing, this blog and building friendships, old and new. But, the uncertainty of the future is somewhat daunting. I always felt like I was ahead of the game for my age – I was getting married and having children soon. I felt so damned young. By the age of 26, I’d hoped I’d be pregnant. Now I don’t know how far away that is for me, and although my clock’s ticking isn’t keeping me up at night quite yet, it’s still there … tick, tick, tick. Last year you were getting married and living happily ever after. Now you live in a one-bedroom apartment, with no serious relationship and are contemplating getting a fish, a dog, a hamster, friggin’ anything since you killed your breakup gardenia plant. Tick. Tick. Tick.
So, here’s what I’m doing for my birthday. I have taken the day off of work. I have to take my car to the shop, as I have a tire that keeps going flat and I’m tired of looking ridiculous pumping it with an air compressor in the parking lot. I am going to go shopping and buy myself a birthday gift. I am going out for dinner, with none other than Chef. I have some updates for you guys since last time that I haven’t gotten around to writing – because frankly, I haven’t been able to define what’s going on. Chef and I have been spending some time together, with no labels attached. We see each other less frequently than before, which has given me lots of time by myself the past month or so. I’m not sure where it’s going, hell, I’m not sure even what it is (or how healthy it is). But it’s making me happy. And it’s my birthday, so I get whatever I want, right?
Saturday, I’m throwing myself a party. Going to be in Richmond? Let me know, and you’re invited. At said party will be a yummy birthday cake, purchased with part of my wedding cake deposit (remember voting on it?). It’s a Malibu cake, which is yellow cake, apricot filling and buttercream frosting with a drizzle of Malibu coconut rum on top. I’m getting fondant, because I like the way it looks with a luster finish, and purple swiss dots. Okay, for those of you who have never picked out a wedding cake or watched Ace of Cakes, I’m sure all of that was Greek to you. Just know that it’s going to be yummy and beautiful. I’ll take a picture to share with you all.
What do you think – are birthdays a big deal? What makes a good birthday for you?