Happy Birthday


Every year, when the many greetings and Facebook posts and What’s Apps and phone calls come in, I feel the pressure to be happy on my birthday. It’s an odd thing to say and admit out loud because why would you feel pressured into being happy? As an only child, single female, Virgo, introverted extrovert with depressive tendencies, birthdays (and holidays) are rough times. It’s usually spent alone, because asking for company seems like too much work, also like something one shouldn’t have to ask for (I know this is a problem…I’m working on it). It’s also spent inside the brain of an over-thinker and overachiever, which isn’t always a very happy place, especially on days like a birthday when you haven’t reached any* of the goals your younger self set out. (*Read some.) The multitude of greetings also somehow exaggerates the loneliness of the situation. All these well wishes and kind words, with zero company. I read all of these messages, alone, usually on my couch, sad AF. And don’t get me wrong, the heartfelt greetings do make me smile and make me feel loved but the pressure to respond to each one, and be happy and feel some sort of special way on this special day usually overpowers the little joy each message brings. (This is why I never respond or respond a day to a week later. Sorry!)

Introducing planning. This is why I plan big festivities and invite people to them. I got tired of not enjoying my birthday and now, I use the day as an excuse to be a Leo, if for a brief moment. (For my non-astrology aware readers, this means I get to be attention seeking for a day. It’s all about me.) In 2017, for my golden birthday, I rented a yacht and had a Great Gatsby themed party. Last year, I went to Afropunk with friends. I plan so I can try to control the feelings and ensure I actually do have a happy birthday. But here’s a secret, I hate planning. My brain is wired to plan, I know this and accept this. I plan for clients, I plan for my business, I think of every detail for everything every, single, day. And it is truly exhausting to do. I would love for my birthday to be a day off from planning. Do you see my problem? My solution to having a happy birthday involves my doing something that does not make me happy. In an ideal world, I would have this truly amazing best friend or significant other who understands all of this, understands the mystery that is me and plans the day for me, filling it with special small things that matter and just on that one day, I don’t have to think about everything. Just for one day. But ideal isn’t reality and so this year I’ve planned another big party, but I’ve handed off the actual execution so I don’t have to do anything. I’m learning that wishing for the ideal but doing nothing in the meantime is stupid, and asking for what you want (as painful as it may be) really is that simple and will get you what you want, or as close to it as possible.

My party falls after my birthday so I still run the risk of being sad and alone on the actual day, but I think writing out loud may help dispel some of the blues (and maybe help someone else out there know they are not alone).

I’m curious, how do you celebrate your birthday?

Photo by Mehrshad Rajabi on Unsplash

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