Today I tipped over from my early 30s to the later side. If there’s any “over the hill,” this has to be it. Or maybe I’ll change my mind when I hit the big four oh. But when people ask me how I’m celebrating or what gifts I got, I inwardly find myself saying,”What gifts?! Do you know how old I am??” Call me jaded or ungrateful, but birthdays just don’t hold that kind of magic any more.
Birthday when you’re a kid
I don’t remember much of my preteen years but if the kids are anything to go by, kiddie birthdays are an enormous deal. There’s weeks, if not months, of excitement to the point of jitteriness preceding the actual day, days of dreaming and re-dreaming about the presents you’d like to receive, elaborate discussions about the shape of your cake. Birthdays are special, magical. Fawning parents, a whole DAY of immunity from practically any misbehavior, the intoxicating power of being the kid that every other kid wants to be — honestly, not many days even come close to a birthday. The day after is especially hard because you can’t believe how fast yesterday passed, and the next year seems impossibly far away.
Birthday as a teen
You were SO past kiddishly tooting your own birthday horn, but as a teen you’d been dropping birthday hints all through conversations for the past month. Now the day was here! Your friends would treat you extra special, probably offer to pay for your milkshake in the canteen and, with any luck, someone would gift you a Mills & Boon novel. You’d act like your birthday wasn’t such a big deal, but oh, what happiness! The guy you secretly loved would have no choice but to give you a hug too, just like every other friend in the group, a moment you will relive again and again for the rest of your life! And then there’s the dance party you’d be hosting on your terrace, with your pals, withOUT the parents, to break out your new stereo system that every one will envy.
Birthday in the 20s
Partay time! Work celebration with anonymously received flowers, then rush to romantic dinner for two. After, meet friends for a drink, then clubbing (probably on the weekend, but I don’t remember clearly). Jewellery for gifts. Or maybe a dress. Sad to have an exciting day over; anticipation for the next year.
Birthday now (or post-kids, or in the 30s)
Chance to have a long, uninterrupted bath. Score.
Quiet, non-hyper day with minimum chores. Partial score.
Card: One, handmade, with She-Hulk cover illustration and scribbles that translate loosely to Happy Birthday. Second, handmade, with a demand for cash as return gift (without any original gift). Score?
Dinner out: Not happening (picky eaters, school night, etc.). No score.
Still a few years to go for the next decade, but human folly endures. Happy Birthday to me. 🙂