I wanted to get some thoughts down before I forget about them. I'm about to type a sentence that I have been avoiding, both in print and vocally, for several reasons. The main one is that no one really believes the reasons I have for not wanting to say it. I am constantly assaulted by people who feel they know me better than I know myself and think that I am in denial over this particular topic. Ready? Here it goes.
My birthday is on Saturday.
Why am I hesitant to use this phrase? Is it because my birthday is only on a Saturday once every five to six years? (I know that that sounds odd, mathematically, but it's true.) No.
Is it because I'm depressed about getting older? Perhaps, but I don't think any more than anyone else. Of course, my birthday reminds of all of the things that I haven't done since my last birthday, but this year, I have a ton of things that I DID do. Here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head, in chronological order.
- Graduated with a Master's
- Had a summer job that I loved
- Procured a teaching job with a salary that extends into the summer
- Had a beautiful baby girl, whom I adore with every ounce of my soul
- Bought my first house
So, what is the real reason? When I say, you won't believe me. You'll think "that can't be right! He must be depressed about getting older!" You'll probably want to call me or comment on here about how great it is to experience another year of life and how every year, the number of people who get to celebrate how old I am drops significantly as people die off. (How's that for a morbid thought?)
The real reason is this: I don't care about my birthday. I used to! When I was young, as every kid does, I would anxiously await the coming of the day, knowing that there would be presents and parties and I would get to be king for the day! I have many fond memories of most of my birthdays. The last one I can distinctly remember was my 17th, which wasn't great, but all the others were pretty good. (Although my 10th birthday was canceled due to my bad behavior at school and lying to my parents about this. The actually made me call all of my friends to tell them that there would be no party. I thought that was horrible at the time, but looking back on it, I think it was fair.)
I just don't care about my birthday. It's just another day to me. Because of these feelings, I'm now reluctant to even tell anyone that it is my birthday because, inevitably, I have to get into a discussion about why I don't care about my birthday. Everyone and their mother suddenly thinks that they are a psychologist and tries to analyze the reasons behind my indifference.
I like to think that if there were some traumatic event, that I would hate birthdays, or at least hate my own. That's simply not the case. I love birthdays! I love celebrating for other people and I love throwing parties for them. I love hosting parties too, but I like them to be for no reason other than to have a good time. I also plan to throw parties for Harper and encourage her to look forward to her birthday. I have no desire to spread my indifference to her, or to anyone else. I just don't want a birthday party thrown for me.
I don't like getting birthday gifts. I don't mind getting gifts, but only if I'm not the only one getting them. I like Christmas and Hannukah gifts. I like anniversary gifts. All of these occasions involve many people getting presents. (With anniversary gifts, I can pretend they are all for Sara.) I don't like receiving birthday gifts.
My mom and I have had several conversations about this. She states that gift giving isn't just about the person receiving the gift, but also about the one giving it; the enjoyment of giving something to someone else. I agree with her on this and I don't want to begrudge other people that feeling. I love giving gifts, so I know how great it feels when someone opens up a gifts that you picked out especially for them. Getting gifts makes me uncomfortable.
Perhaps sometime in the future, I will change my mind. Perhaps, one day, I will want to celebrate my birthday with a big raucous party with heavy amounts of drinking, debauchery and dancing around a fire, among the scattered corpses of half-opened presents. Perhaps, I will want to celebrate with a quiet dinner party at my house with my wife and our closest friends. For now, however, I want none of it. I want my birthday to pass by, unremarked. I welcome well wishes, but not much more.
I hate that I wrote this post. I understand the irony of spending several pages talking about something that I don't want to talk about. I did, however, feel it was important to get off of my chest. Many people have asked me why I don't care about my birthday and this is as close as I can get to explaining it. I'm not looking for analysis, pity or help deciphering. I just needed to say it, even it if it just goes into the great void of the interwebs, never to be read or acknowledged.
In any event, here's a picture of Strawberry Baby that I took this morning. Enjoy!
I don't know why my numbered list up there came out as froufy flowers, or whatever they are.
Also, I've heard that if you want more people to read your blog, you should keep the entries short and clever. Perhaps I will get lucky and the sheer length of this post will keep too many people from reading it.