I have a friend I've known for about 13 years, and up until today, I had no idea that she didn't enjoy her birthday.
I mean, I recall when she had her 40th she expressed her embarrassment that her Hubby had organised (on the sly) a celebration with friends for her. She is such an incredibly nice and generous person, I just assumed she felt she was putting people out or something by asking them to come! (And she's the kind of person who is always thoughtful of others, so that would be entirely plausible.)
But then today I called her at work for her birthday, and she wasn't there. I had a brief chat with a work colleague and I happened to mention that I was calling for her birthday. "It's her birthday?" the guy asked. He had no idea. And I wasn't surprised. My friend's not the kind of person who would walk around telling everybody, "Hey! It's my birthday! Look at me, look at me! Wish me happy birthday!" It's just not her style.
So when I spoke to her later today, I found out something I had never known about my friend. She doesn't like celebrating her birthday. At all. In fact, that's partly the reason she wasn't at work today. For her, the thought of sitting at work, and perhaps people finding out (yeah - good one JODIE!) is almost as cringe worthy as listening to someone scratching their nails on a blackboard. She told me how one time, someone sent her a huge bouquet of balloons, and she had to stop herself from popping them all right then and there.
I never knew this about my friend. She's given a few reasons for this, but without going in to detail, whilst they (the reasons) all makes sense to me - I understand completely (and my sister is the same - she has zero interest in making a big brouhaha over her birthday either) - I can't relate. At all.
I LOVE it when it's my birthday. I really, really do. I always feel special. To me, it's almost as if the world should stop for a second and acknowledge my special day. Which sounds egotistical, selfish and ridiculous all at the same time. But it's how I feel. I walk around all day feeling on cloud 9, and by that evening, I'm already starting to mourn the fact that I'll have to wait a whole year until it comes around again.
Last year, my dear friend, Jen threw a birthday lunch for me with some other mums from school. She may as well have given me the crown jewels; I was so excited. And thankful. I sat at the head of the table and relished in the fact that people were there to wish me well. And that Jen had gone to so much trouble to make a meal in my honour. I felt blessed.
I wonder if my Mum has anything to do with this? Growing up, she always made a huge deal over my birthday. Pressies, a lovely cake she expertly decorated herself, a party... the WHOLE bit. I wonder if that's why I love my birthday so much?
Admittedly, turning 40 this year is not as exciting for me as it was when I turned 3o, but I'm still looking forward to it. I want a party. I joked the other day with friends about getting Hubby to organise a big bash at The Ivy or something. But truthfully, I'm not interesting is anything too fancy schmancy. Nothing flash. Just a bunch of friends in my backyard, some good music, good champagne and maybe some 70s-themed party food (think: toothpicks with cubed cheese, pickled onions and gherkins); because I was born in the 70s, of course.
And, yes - it freaks me out a little that the next big birthday after my 40th will be my 50th (gag!), but really, what am I'm going to do about it? It's not like I can turn the clock back, and stop it. I'm not going to get any younger, not even if I DID choose to go under the knife or try out a bit of botox. I've always believed you may as well embrace your age. Because one day, as hard as it is to think about sometimes, you'll be 80 (God willing) and then you'll wish you were 40.
How about you? Do you worry about getting older? Do you like celebrating your birthday?
Until next time...