Thursday, August 21, 2008

The birthday anticipation and butterflies

Someone recently asked me if I'm looking forward to my birthday...and I hesitated in answering.

When I was a kid, I thought my birthday was better than Christmas morning. Presents, friends, cake, lots and lots of singing, and all the attention on me. The only downside was that an end-of-summer birthday meant back-to-school time.

Then during the "dark period" of my adolescence, which extended into my early 20s, birthdays were pretty much a curse because of a few emotional and family issues. I didn't get a sweet 16 party or the surprise party I've always wanted so I never looked forward to my birthday.

Awhile ago, the RedEye summed up the birthday anticipation best: you dread the two weeks before it, then your actual birthday arrives and immediately after you realize that it wasn't such a big deal.

This is 100 percent true. 

When you're past the big milestone birthdays (16, 18, 21 and 25) there isn't a lot to look forward to, outside of the big 3-0, so celebrating it takes additional effort.

The hardest birthday for me was #25 because I was recently laid off from a job, still living at home after college and I celebrated my birthday with a half-assed dinner with my parents. I almost went home and took a bottle of pills because I didn't think I could get any lower. But then six months later I applied for an internship in Chicago and my life changed :)

I try not to dread my birthday anymore for two reasons: 1) it'll happen no matter what and 2) I still find myself getting excited about it, even if another candle is added to the cake.

On my birthday, I do whatever I want and make no apologies. I treat myself like a queen and surround myself with people I care about (who are free to get together). I try not to look at aging anymore as a curse - like I used to - but focus more on what I have to be positive about: a good job, good health and good friends and family. In the end, that's enough to be happy about, even if celebrating it gives me one more candle on the cake. 

32 comments:

Mandy said...

Happy Birthday!!! I hope you have a wonderful day! And I am a firm believer in ALWAYS doing what you want and making no apologies, ALWAYS treating yourself like a queen, and ALWAYS surrounding yourself with awesome people! Hope this year is one of the best yet.

Rachel said...

Damn right on spoiling yourself. Go out there, get drunk and f*ck around. Only YOU can make your birthday fun (a hard lesson I had to learn).

Enjoy yourself!!!!

Vanessa said...

You have the right attitude for your birthday and Happy Birthday to you (whenever it is). It's your special day, celebrate exactly how you want.

thegoodnamesaretaken said...

Birthdays are sort of odd in that there's a lot of build up beforehand but in reality, it's just one day and then it's over.

Enjoy being queen for the day! :)

Alexa said...

giiiiiiiiirrrrrl you rock your birthday! and if you are lucky, maybe someone will spank you.

Blaez said...

I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

I had a curse of a 25th myself. Me and the ExHusband just recently split up and I was living with my dad again and his wife. I had a bottle of pills in hand a week before, but a different reason. I can tell you it was my father and my sisters that kept me from killing myself and I couldn't be happier now.

Last year my birthday turned out pretty well altho i had to give my "sister" money for my cake and acted like it was all surprise when she took credit for everything i did... and this year, well needless to say I thought I had more friends up here than I did.

I got 2 more to 30. And I'm hitting "mid-life" with a bang no matter what... I'm thinking strip clubs and pink hummer limos.

Elisabeth said...

I hope you have a great birthday!

Maxie said...

Birthdays can be so much pressure sometimes. my 21st was horrible so this year I just tried to chill out and it went a lot better.

hope you have an awesome one this year!!!

vaneandplane said...

Wait until your 79 pushing 80, looking back and Remembering when you were almost thirty and just a sprout. When you reach my age you look at everyday that you wake up as a Birthday
Good luck and Happy Bday
Tomorrow is here soon!

Cheryl said...

Red Eye summed it up well. So did you, even better really. Amen to all that and Friday night...let's party!

Wickedly Scarlett said...

That's a great attitude to have. I know in the past few years, birthdays have gotten a lot less exciting for me, but I haven't yet reached the point of flat out dreading them. I hope you have a great day with lots of great food, great drinks, and great people--and of course, don't forget to make that birthday wish! You're never too old for a birthday wish.

widget said...

Hi there - been reading for a while and decided I HAD to comment.....

I have a 'new' solution to my birthday that I discovered this year. It has been a while in development. I, like you, started with the fortnight thing but now I have BIRTHDAY MONTH.

June is my birthday. All month. Each week I celebrate. It's winter here at that time so you have to get out and warm up.......

Actually I am still celebrating as people say "I have your birthday present" - now it's August!

Get out and enjoy...........

wontletlifedefineme said...

Surrounding yourself with people you care about and have fun is always a good idea. One of my best friends and I share a birthday, and we always celebrate them together as well, so our friends don't have to choose between parties. And because we can share the responsibilities of baking cakes and shopping and decorating (oh, and cleaning up afterwards), it's a lot less stress as well.

Happy birthday!

Jenn said...

Woo hoo! Birthdays! I'm excited for you! I think you have the right attitude though. Do whatever the eff you want and be happy :) Super f-word yeah!

Rosemarie said...

Age is just a number! I don't care if I'm turning 26, 30, 40, 50... Live it up... celebrate your life! Celebrate the family that you have, your great friends, your boyfriend/husband... just celebrate YOU!

Dan Mega said...

My birthdays are shruggish to me now. Now that I passed 25 and my insurance went down, I have no other ages to look forward to.

Happy Birthday!

laurwilk said...

Yay! Birthdays are so fun, especially if you MAKE them fun! And if you get wasted and do silly things.

Isn't is strange when you forget how old you are when someone asks? I don't know if you do this, but when I was 12, I damn well knew I was 12. Now I'm like, "um...am I 22? No, wait...23? I guess, yeah, 23!" So strange!

Enjoy it!

Kyla Bea said...

Happy birthday! Here's to treating yourself extremely well = )

Ashley D said...

Even though you're not too excited about it, I hope you have a great birthday!

Miss Grace said...

I hope your birthday's awesome. I'm taking a vacation day for my birthday and still sending my son to daycare. I can't imagine anything better than a day home alone.

Dabby said...

AH!! My 25th birthday is in a couple of weeks and I'm freaking out (a little). Happy birthday to you :)

Kayleigh said...

Keep on kicking ass, Jess. Happy Birthday!!!

LJ said...

Wow I hope you have a Awesome birthday! Yes once you get older, the best way to celebrate your birthday is to totally spoil yourself, go out for a massage/spa day, buy a new outfit, or just call in sick to work and go lay in the park under a tree and eat a cupcake!

Lauren said...

Hey, Happy Birthday!! You have a good outlook on it now. There is no stopping your birthday, it comes whether you ask it to or not. It's an unwelcomed guest, but sometimes it brings you surprises. I'm glad this one will be better for you. Treat yourself to something wonderful!

And if it makes you feel any better, last year I called my mom on my birthday to remind her to wish me a happy birthday. It was AWESOME.

Katelin said...

that is definitely the best way to look at your birthday. i hope you have a most fabulous of fabulous birthdays this year :)

megkathleen said...

Happy birthday! Just remember that birthdays are all about YOU! That's what makes them so great - you get to do whatever you want and nobody can say boo about it.

Stephanie said...

Happy Birthday!

chickbug said...

i love birthdays! hope you have a great one!

happy happy birthday!

thatShortChick said...

Happy (pre) Birthday!!

I consider my birthday to be somewhat of a "curse" too. I'm always excited for the anticipation but on the actual day, it's all gloomy. My "friends" actually ruined my last birthday so I'm not really looking forward to any celebrations.

But I definetly try to make the most of it but spoiling myself as well. Though, my parents do a good job at that too.

The Modern Gal said...

I've never gotten a surprise party and I'm kind of bitter about it.

But I think the post 21-year-old birthdays should be all about doing whatever you want. So do it! Happy birthday!

kay* said...

happy b-day! my birthday is this week too - and as such i've taken the entire week of to unwind and treat myself like a queen! i have NEVER worked on my birthday :o) i kind of treat it like a new year - make goals, reflect on what i accomplished, my girlfriend in the US always calls me and we answer the same questions about how we feel i year went - i always look forward to the call- i'm actually enjoying getting older...again - happy bday virgo! we ROCK :o)

L Sass said...

Hope you had a great birthday! You're right, the bday anticipation isn't always worth it... but we could all use an excuse to be a bit selfish for 24 hours.