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A Very Merry Unbirthday to Us!

I’ve been neglecting this blog far FAR too much. I can’t guarantee that the trend will improve very soon, but I thought I’d write a bit about something that’s been on my mind for a while now.


First… a little bit of background. Storytime!

I’m an odd duck when it comes to Birthdays. I celebrated my own birthday from the ages of 1-5, assisted by my mother. My step-father helped, I suppose, from the ages of 3-5, but since he was as likely to stomp his foot through my birthday presents in fits of pique as not, I don’t count his assistance for much. After the birthday where I turned 5, I had a private conversation with my mother where I informed her that I really hoped she wouldn’t mind, but I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday anymore (or anyone else’s). My mother, champion ever of upholding my right to decide what direction my own life would take, listened to my reasons and agreed to back me. My stepfather wasn’t too happy, but the females were aligned. He could not win. End story!

The pertinent point, in case you missed it, is: I haven’t celebrated any birthday since I was 5 years old. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. No birthday presents. No singing happy birthday. No birthday cards. No birthday parties for me. I did sometimes relent and attend someone else’s birthday celebration, so long as they weren’t going to be offended when I arrived with no gift and remained mute through the birthday song.

The reasons I had for deciding not to celebrate any birthdays though, have become void. They were various, and I won’t go into them here, as this is no way intended to be a debate on that decision I made at the tender age of 5. Still, those reasons no longer apply. I’ve been contemplating for a couple of years now that perhaps I ought to lift that restriction. One of my goals, after all, has been to be a bit more social and less isolated. Not hiding my birth date and allowing other people to participate in a birthday celebration (and being open to participating in theirs) seems like a good idea. After a lifetime of not celebrating any birthdays though, I find myself at a loss.

How do you celebrate a birthday and include others in that?

One of my best friends and I had a conversation that went something like this,

Me: “I think I might relent on celebrating my birthday this year.”

My friend: “Yay! What do you want to do?”

Me: “Um… I don’t know?”

My friend, prompting: “Where do you want to go, or what do you want to do to celebrate it? Do you want to go out somewhere?”

Me, with a blank look: “I have no idea. I’m not used to asking people for anything at all. What am I supposed to do?”

Me again, beginning to feel slightly panicked: “Also, if other people are going to be allowed to celebrate my birthday, then I’ll have to celebrate theirs too. I’ll have to make a calendar to remind me and start trying to figure out how to figure out gifts to buy for other people… I’ve never done that… ” *panicked look at my friend* “I don’t know how to do this!” @____@;;;;

I’m sure at least some of you are either laughing at me by now or possibly shaking your head at how this could seem so hard. You’ve been celebrating birthdays all your life. It’s just something that you do. Everyone does it, right? How could someone NOT KNOW HOW?!

But I don’t. You also can’t tell me that it’s just like a holiday celebration but more personal, because that isn’t something I have any experience in either. My last celebrated holiday was Christmas at the age of 7. Then I abandoned them, too. I know enough to know that celebrations as an adult aren’t the same as celebrations as a child, and after that, I am clueless.

The more I contemplate it, the more I am tempted to abandon the idea simply because I don’t know what to do. There are a million questions that spring to my mind when I think about it, and I’m pretty sure I’m not even asking the right questions.

Of course, my¬†dilemma¬†revolves around how to let other people be a part of it. Or is that the wrong idea to begin with? On my own I think I’d opt to stick with Unbirthdays instead. 364 Unbirthdays in a year vs. 1 Birthday! I’m tempted to opt for persisting in my old and well-worn habits. Either way, I’ve only got one more month to dither this year. I’ve about four more weeks to find questions and answers both, or abandon the notion for another year.

Any ideas?

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Jason Ebner | July 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Birthday celebrations can be a selfish indulgence that you invite others to enjoy. What you want to do is your decision, so it should be an easy choice. Does it matter if we like it too? Well that really does not matter since friends will appear to enjoy and celebrate your choice on your day.

    Caution, there is always a fear that people may not come. Do not let this worry you. Do as you wish, friends will follow.

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