If you read stuff on the Internet you may have seen Katie Heaney’s piece for The Cut “Your Birthday is One Day,” asking for adults to not make such a big deal out of their birthdays.
This is my rebuttal.
I’d like everyone to know this is the friendliest of rebuttals. I am not trying to start a birthday war, I just want to say something for the other side. For the world to hear. Many from my side went NUTS in the Instagram comments so I feel no need to get too serious. They’ve defended our birthday honor boldly and angrily already, so I’ll keep it casual.
Birthdays ARE a big deal. “Your birthday is one day” is NOT something I want to hear.
Our days of birth are fun and fantastical and they should be treated with respect, even reverence.
It is currently my own personal birthday week and month so I feel in the perfect position to defend the “BIRTHDAYS ARE VERY IMPORTANT” perspective until someone punches me in the face.
To those that oppose making a big deal about birthdays I ask you this – what brings you joy? What fosters an environment of fun for you? It may not be your birthday but it’s probably SOMETHING. And about this “something” you may say “THIS IS ALL I HAVE. IT MAKES ME HAPPY. LET ME HAVE IT.” And that’s how I feel about birthdays.
THEY ARE ALL I HAVE. THEY MAKE ME HAPPY. LET ME HAVE IT.
I want to throw myself a party and I want to choose the decorations and I want sweet treats of my choosing made and presented to me. I will also provide sweet treats. I would like thoughtful presents, but they’re not necessary if you can just take the time to draw me a card if you’re artistic or even fold a piece of paper in half and write me a nice message you thought about for a moment. I would like to eat some kind of special meal but it doesn’t even have to be THAT SPECIAL or expensive but just like a meal that’s like “this is a birthday meal!” I want companies to send me emails with special discount codes so I can go shopping and I want Sephora to give me a birthday gift. And all of these things usually happen. And they happen over the span of a week. THEY NEED A FULL WEEK TO HAPPEN BECAUSE EVERYONE IS BUSY.
A birthday celebration does not need to be a big expensive elaborate deal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an adult and having a party at a bar for your birthday and literally the only thing that makes it a “party” is that you got confetti and party hats from 99 Cent Dream and you and your friends are simply drinking while standing in the same geographic location.
It is not that serious or demanding to ask friends/family/co-workers to have birthday drinks with you in the week around your birthday. Especially in NYC and the surrounding lands where everyone is usually drinking EVERY SINGLE DAY anyway so why not PRETEND YOU HAVE A GOOD REASON. Show up, check in, high 5, take a pic, leave. Congrats, you’ve celebrated your friend during their “birthday week” and you weren’t feeding into some kind of completely delusional diva behavior.
We NEED reasons to celebrate! Life is hard! Life is short but life is long if you’re lucky and why should you not celebrate a longer life every chance you get as much as you can?!
Part of the argument is that those that make a big deal out of birthdays are setting themselves up for disappointment. I will submit that I HAVE been disappointed when my hopes and expectations for birthdays are not met by those around me. The siren song of hope and expectation surrounding an event will push you closer and closer to the rocks until hopes and expectations are NOT met and you come crashing down and your ship splinters apart. I call this “falling off the other side” and will explore the full scientific theory I’ve developed separately some day. But getting pumped about birthdays is a fertile breeding ground for falling off the other side I WILL ADMIT.
In the past few years I had a disappointing birthday incident during which I was so upset that I had to go to Target to feel better because it was the only thing I could think of that would help me and then I was sobbing in Target and had to walk around for at least 30mins for the naturally occurring environmental Target endorphins to take effect. I didn’t even buy anything except rocky road Haagen Daz which I then went home and ate the whole thing of in addition to 4 slices of pepperoni pizza.
But I guess even within this disappointment, was celebration. I have a big problem with emotional binge eating but I was like it’s my birthday so I’m just going to give in and approach it like it’s not a problem. And that felt celebratory. I guess. Until my stomach really hurt.
To make it worse the day that was selected as the “day of celebration” during the birthday week (not my actual birthday but the party day) was going great until it was ruined by ridiculous unnecessary nonsense. That’s all I’ll say about that but just know that it was ridiculous and unnecessary.
And it ruined my birthday.
And birthdays are very important to me.
But I continued to celebrate and be happy and eat cookies and try to have fun because this time comes once a year and it celebrates me and also life overall and I think that is a beautiful thing that must be honored. It is your personal benchmark and individual perspective on the passage of time. And it is highly valuable. And if you want others to give you a little bit of recognition for that I don’t think that is a problem.
And I will gladly return the recognition! I also take the birthdays of others very, very seriously. I’ve met people once or barely know people and I will remember their birthday and I will text them. I texted the first guy I went on a date with freshman year at Rutgers every year on his birthday until like 3 years ago (August 24, Virgo).
As far as my actual close friends I love to attend any and all of their celebrations and I will clear my schedule to celebrate them. I still feel bad about a friend’s birthday dinner I missed in September because I had a “work event.” Work event sounds so dumb so that’s why it’s in quotes. But that’s what it was. Maybe I’ll feel bad until next September.
I was really disappointed that time I had the bad birthday though. Maybe I still am. And I guess that’s my fault for hoping too high, but I accept responsibility and I’m still going to be a birthday adult and have a full and robust birthday week until the end of time.
Are you a birthday adult? Do you love birthdays? Do you hate birthdays? Do you hate me for loving birthdays? Just wondering.