Actually, no it’s not. But I wanted to write about birthdays and anniversaries.
I will speak of ‘birthdays’ in the adult stage only. Not the child age range. I don’t have enough time to get into why birthday parties are so out of control, and are contributing to breaking the budget of parents and the parents assumed pressures to outdo the last party your child was at. Then we have Cupcake competitive moms, that usually end up in cupcake wars. It’s just all too much for me to include in this write.
Back to blog … A birthday actually translates back to a birth date.
Lets talk about expectations.
So, lets just say, its my birthday. It’s not, but for arguments sake, let’s just say it is. It is the day I was born. Me, not you. Me. Why on earth have I ever made it or implied it is ever another person(s) responsibility to celebrate and/or remember the day I was born? Think about it? It’s a day I was born. Me. Umpteen years ago. Why do I need cards/gifts and others to try to make me feel special for being born? Maybe on our birth dates we should thank our mothers for the birthing of ones self? Maybe my mom deserves a medal for tolerating a few moods she may of encountered while I was a teen…Oh wait a minute. She already has a day, Mothers Day. Maybe they have Mother’s Day all wrong. Maybe, just maybe if we have 3 children, we should have 3 days of Mother’s Day, on the children’s birth dates. Maybe these moms with multiple children have been ripped off .. Ha! Ok back on track.
So if we’re honest with ourselves let’s now ask .. When it is your birth date, do you have, on some level, any expectation for me (and usually plenty of others) to remember your day? Or course you do!! It’s been engrained into us, from the day we are born. Literally. Much like Valentines, Christmas, Anniversaries and the list will get bigger and bigger if we allow it. At this rate pretty soon every day will be full of sparklers, balloons and over achievers. It really is such an odd concept when I really look at it. Hey you, new friend, now you must remember the day I was born, 45 years before ever knowing me. Perhaps even a bit narcissistic too if I do say so myself.
There is an unspoken assumption (feels like more of a demand actually) that it is my responsibility to remember all the birthdays of anyone and everyone who is apparently of some importance to me. Do it without fail, don’t be late, and make it pretty awesome. Sometimes it can be as simple as Happy Birthday, other times it takes preparation a few weeks before the day, to get the perfect gift, the funniest card, mail it or arrange a time to meet up and have a coffee which you of course pay for, meet for dinner, whatever it is that makes the person feel special on their birth date.
Now with all the grouchiness out of the way, let’s acknowledge we all want to feel special and valued by our loved ones. I can’t see too much wrong with that, if we keep it in moderation. We feel fuzzy when people remember our birthdays, it immediately translates into I must be important in your life, I mattered today because out of everything you needed to do today I still cut through the clouds and you acknowledged my birth date. Ya it feels pretty good to know we matter and to have others think of us. The issue for me is how we go about getting it. There is to too much pressure behind remembering birth dates and making something out of them. Too much pressure behind the perfect gift and the acknowledgement and doing just the right amount of special’ness. What, when and why did it ever start that we need a birth date recognition from others? When my friend and I were chatting about it, she said she bets it all started with a birthday for a certain religious figure. Well, that’s easy for me to deal with haha!
I also totally get some people are natural event planners, love the preparation and the execution of an event gone amazing. This is totally acceptable of course, for them the willing parties, but it isnt for everyone. It definitely isn’t for me, this I can assure you 100%
Often, and I’m very guilty of this, we don’t tell the people in our lives how important they are to us regularly and that we value them and when applicable, how much we love them. Certain days of the year, Birth dates, Valentine’s, Christmas, I guess we are suppose to go over the top and SHOW our love with gifts and special treatment in some form. I can sort of see how this all begun and the expectations keep on growing like a big hairy wart on the end of my chin and it just seems way over the top now. It’s so inflated its absolutely worthless.
It’s really hard for me to remember birth dates. I mean a real honest effort has to come into play and I usually still fail. I don’t even know why. I’ll text my sister, what day is Dad’s again, or when is moms? Some are easy for me to remember, like my kids and my own. Haha!! As I type this my sister out west texts and says I can’t believe ‘first born’, my niece, is 16 today. Say what?? I totally forgot!! I always try to be awesome auntie Sandy but failure is destined to be mine when it comes to b-dates. I put the dates in my electronic calendar On my iPhone, but I just dismiss and carry on when it dings at me, but I’m just not overly dependent on it so it’s not my life line to existing. I write it on my calendar hanging up in my office, but I don’t really read it unless I’m looking for something specific at that moment, like geeze Einstein is being weird AGAIN, is it a full moon? That’s what a calendar is for you know, the moon cycles.
Is it me or is this how it is for most people; When you forget a birthday, you hang yourself in the hall of shame. Naked; To ensure more shame. You’re embarrassed and hoping someone else failed miserably right along side of you, so you don’t have a bullseye only on your back. Maybe we feel a bit guilty because we ASSUME our birth date wish/card/gift would of made the difference in their validation for the coming year. You apologize profusely with a hung head, while the birth date friend/family is saying ‘oh it’s ok, don’t worry about it’ but typically thinking the complete opposite. We’ve all done it, thought how could they forgot my birth date after everything I’ve done for them… BLAH rant blah and don’t even say you haven’t, not even once. I have and will totally own that BS. So egocentric to think of everything everyone has going on in their own lives, that they must act and acknowledge my birth date within a 24 hour period for me to not be ‘offended’. Oh please!!! I’d like to kick my own ass for that mentality.
In general I have the perception men, to one another at least, men are typically lighter on the birth date issue but women usually are hell bent on their validation for being born. Year, after year. After year.
I don’t really do anything special for my birthday or have expectations any longer. For the last few years I’ve really let it be what it really is, another day. I don’t mention my birthday on social media (mostly because I’m not on most social medias). Nor do I ever want to be counting my Happy Birthdays on social media, all while checking to see who is missing from my expectation list. I don’t wait for friends to make plans for me and check my mailbox daily for the incoming cards and/or gifts. However, I might take a few hours and do something I normally don’t find the time to do, but its my birth date so I’ll gift myself. What a wonderful concept; Gifting ones self for their own birth date. Sometimes I’ve bought myself something for my birth date or made that Devils chocolate cake I love so much and eat too much of, because it’s MY birth date and I can do that for me.
Here’s how I see it, one adult to another; If you want a gift, get off your ass and go get it. Get the exact colour, shade and size you want, but we shouldn’t ever put that expectation of perfection on the ones you love to get it just right. If you want that celebration, plan it, organize it and execute it like the queen you want to be that night. You make the dinner reservations and call/text your friends, ‘no gifts just laughs’, and who shows up shows up. It’s our right to celebrate our birth date, but it’s not our right to impose any expectations on others.
It’s not to say I will never acknowledge a birthday again, no not at all. I just have to remove the expectation I have from myself and the expectations that already exists. I don’t want to contribute to negativity and would like to ultimately bring acknowledging the people whom I care a great deal about to a different level. If I remember your birthday just know I can’t guarantee a second. If I forget or I’m late, don’t think less of me and I won’t think less of you.
Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s my need and attempt for a simpler life, all while removing stressors as they arise. Maybe I’m just done with all the materialistic contributors in my relationships. I know in recent years I’ve been looking for a compromise, a softer approach and even an out to this way of existing in friendships and with family.
In case my message has been clear as mud over the years, here it is in written form. I’m releasing anyone and everyone of any expectation to remember, acknowledge, or assume any pressure to issue a token of any kind in relation to my birth date or any other implied expectations around my birth date. With that said, obviously I’m also releasing myself from any obligation for others birth dates. I would much rather send a random thinking about you text, call, card or small gift, meet up for coffee just because or grab some wings and hang out. Randomly. It just feels better. If I’m out doing errands and something has inspired me to think of you I’ll pick it up and do my best to get it to you at some point (unless it’s chocolate, then just forget it even existed) but I don’t want to feel pressured to buy something and often anything just to say here’s a gift. Random thinking about you words, cards, tokens far exceed any gift I could ever get when it is expected, in my opinion.
Today, I got a card in the mail from my sister, her kind words brought tears to my eyes. That card will mean a lot to me, forever. It wasn’t mandated, it wasn’t necessary or expected. It was pure kindness and I know she was thinking of me, just because, when she got it. That’s the absolute best!!
Anniversaries. This I can sum up quick. It’s yours, take a hike with your expectations of what you think I should acknowledge. I can’t even tell you when Einstein and I first dated, officially became a couple…it’s just all so, meh whatever, to me. I used to feel so much pressure, (likely my own doing but I don’t recall where it came from to be honest), to acknowledge and gift my parents for THEIR wedding anniversary… Omg! I seriously can’t take that on and I don’t want too. ITS ALL YOURS!! See?! That WAS quick.
As per my calendar, Happy Waxing Crescent Moon Phase (22%)