They Say It’s Your Birthday

Happy birthday to me.

That was a reeeeaaally hard thing to type. Not because anything is wrong with my fingers — although I did initially type “dingers” — the problem’s all in my brain.

Every year since I was a high school senior, I’ve always had this weird midlife crisis surrounding my birthday. Part of it is the angst over aging, but a lot of it is about feeling conflicted about celebrating myself. When I was growing up, my family was very, very, VERY low-key about birthdays. We’d have cake, which is the most important part of course, but it was never this big to-do.

When I turned 16, my undercooked teenage brain expected a ticker-tape parade and keys to a shiny Karmann Ghia (the COOLEST car in the Santa Rita High School parking lot). It was a big deal in my head, not so much IRL. Such a let down. And yet the next year, when my best friends overcompensated with a surprise gathering after school, it seemed like too much. I felt embarrassed and unworthy, which I fully acknowledge is weird. And yes, it does seem like there is no way to win with me.

I have friends who celebrate the entire week — the whole month even — and I’m working harder at embracing this healthier, albeit spendier, attitude. I mean, you only get so many trips around the sun. It seems only fitting to enjoy it.

I had this birthpiphany that maybe I’d feel better about all the hoo-hah if I combined it with something less guilt inducing. Like, I do something for myself, say get a massage, and then do something for someone else, like donate blood. Mix in a little community service between birthday treats. And you know what? I think that’s the trick to feeling OK about this aging thing.

So, in that same spirit, I’d like to do a lil’ something for you.

I’d like to share a cool trick a coworker taught me years ago to get the most bang for your birthday: When you sign up for discounts and email lists that ask for your birthday so you can get special deals, change it up! Make it different days and months so you can spread that love all year round instead of getting way too many discounts than you can handle on one single day in one month. You’re welcome. 🙂

1 thought on “They Say It’s Your Birthday

  1. Actually I have the same problem with my birthday. I’m not worthy. It got worse when my twin passed 42 years ago. The last time my birthday was publicly celebrated was at the Star when I turned 50. And as I approach my 70th later this year I still don’t feel comfortable. But I hope you can learn to embrace yours.

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