Ok friends, real talk today. Yesterday was my birthday. I’m not quite officially old yet in my own books (though I think my brother marked that as 30 back when he was still a teenager and I was turning 25), but I’m getting to the point where birthdays are different creatures entirely.
When you’re a kid, a birthday must be a big deal. There have to be presents to open, and a fuss to be made. It is your day, and chances are that everything done that day is to your liking and benefit. Unless you have a summer birthday and you’re on a family vacation or at camp, in which case – suck it up weirdo, you knew what you were getting into! But it still remains – when you’re a kid there is excitement and expectation built up around your birthday.
As you get to be a young adult, birthdays become an excuse to party. I ran across a photo from a joint birthday party that I held with two friends (Hi friend E! Happy birthday!) 10 years ago, and I remember what a production that evening was. And it was moderately raucous. We had a very large group of people, lots of alcohol, tons of food, and it went late into the night. People crashed on couches, and the next morning a large group of us went to a local diner in a very hungover state. When you’re young (but still grown-up) and it’s your birthday, you party hard and make it count.
But at some point in the recent years, I feel like I’ve turned a corner. Birthdays no longer need to be a production. In fact, it’s sometimes better when they’re not. And since I’ve got a birthday which usually falls in the middle of a crazy heat wave, it’s usually better to keep the adventures more contained. In fact – the last few years we have mostly stayed in, and that has made me very happy indeed.
Let’s take yesterday for example. We slept in. It was great. I got up, made muffins (recipe coming soon!), and then preheated the oven so that the Boy and E could bake me a cake. Muffins finished and cooled, I supervised cake making (Note: it is important to stop people from putting olive oil in your cake. Unless it’s specifically an olive oil cake, it will not taste good), and then we chilled out. For like, 4 hours. I took a shower. I read a book I had long let languish on my nightstand. We started watching the most recent season of the Americans. The Boy and I jointly purchased my birthday gift (so I had input), and I got a card, and when the girls re-joined us later in the afternoon, we headed out for dinner (yay Thai food!). We came home, I was sung to, there was cake, the girls went to bed, and then we had Game of Thrones.
Now, theoretically, this could have been any random Sunday, but because it was the relaxing, low-key birthday that I wanted, it was special. It didn’t hurt that it thunder-stormed intermittently, so we weren’t interested in going out and doing a whole lot. It was a relaxing day, and I’m so thankful for it, and for all the people who wished me well over the course of the day.
And I suppose that’s the thing about getting older – your wants and needs change. Things that were important and peaks in your year as a much younger person become more ordinary occurrences, with less pomp and circumstance. But as adults, we learn to love a regular, uneventful day. Or maybe that’s just me.
What do you think? Has the way you celebrate birthdays changed as you’ve gotten older? Do you still like to make a big fuss, or to have that fuss made over you? What would your ideal birthday look like? And does it involve cake – what kind???