Growing up, every year my birthday was a big deal. We planned the party for months. I looked forward to it all year. It was the one day of the year I felt important and felt like I mattered.
My Mom always wanted a birthday party when she was a kid and never had one – I think because of the era and they had 3 kids and parties aren’t cheap…
Anyhow, my Mom always made a HUGE deal out of my birthday when I was growing up and my birthday is still the single most important day of the year to me.
Once my Mom moved to another state (when I was in my 20s), the parties pretty much stopped. After The Girl came along, I couldn’t afford to really do anything special and it wasn’t as much of a priority. I made a big deal out of HER birthday, but never mine.
And then, the year I was 35, I decided I really wanted to have a birthday party – we invited about 20 people, bought a ton of food, people said they were coming, we cleaned up and decorated the apartment. There were supposed to be 15 or so people coming.
Night of the party…. not one person showed up – NOT. ONE.
And you would THINK I would have gotten the hint to just stop celebrating – But. No.
I still somehow expect that my birthday will be something magical. And next year is a “round number” birthday (and one that is supposed to be a pretty big deal) and, due to stories that aren’t mine to tell, I don’t know if my Mom will even still be around for my birthday next year. There are things going on this year that just make celebration impractical. So, I’ve decided to just stop celebrating my birthday at all. I even went into Facebook and hid my birthdate and know that no one will remember without the reminder (which is fine, because I rely on FB reminders for that stuff way more than I should) so, if I am fortunate, the day will pass with nary a mention.
Of course…I’ve always used my birthday as my official start to the new year, so I think I’ll move that, as well. Maybe Pi Day (March 14th) because that’ll be easy to remember.
I would be a liar if I said that this decision was anything but emotionally devastating for me. But, for many years now I’ve had people tell me that celebrating your birthday past age 16 is childish and stupid. And, maybe they’re right and it’s just taken me this long to grow up and realize I need to let it go.
Yes, perhaps this is another lesson in Letting Go..