For those who don't anything about my history, I was born into a violent, chaotic, even criminal family... then foster care as an infant, toddler, emergency placements and so on, plus a father who didn't want any of us (Seven of nine were his 'for sure') and a mother conflicted, not maternal, just doing what her mother (Appalachian roots) did, having babies because that's what women did, part of their identity as female, part of a clannish way of life, and in part because birth control wasn't available or was too shameful to use.Kind of a dumb question but, how do you feel about your birthday? I've heard some comedians joke that you shouldn't have a birthday party passed the age of 8. But in my mind, it's important to embrace your inner child (don't have to have a huge party to do this, of course).
I was talking with my INTP friend about this recently and she said that she never really cared for the whole concept of a birthday. The fact that she would be celebrated on a day where she didn't do anything seemed odd. So growing up, she would give gifts to her mom on her birthday instead. And I said, "So your mom got to have two birthdays? That sounds fair " And she added that it was more like she got to have three birthdays because Mother's Day is a thing lol. And we both laughed.
I went on to tell her that I think your birthday is just a way to recognize that your existence matters (because it does) and there's nothing wrong with that. It's no different than any other holiday in that way. We are recognizing something. She thanked me for my point of view and said she liked it. For me, I do prefer to spend my birthday with people I'm intimate with. Small, intimate gatherings are the best. It's an excuse to celebrate and have fun. I always jokingly say that I like to milk it for all it's worth No shame Of course I'll do the same for others on their birthdays too I really want everyone to have a good time.
How about you? Do you like to do anything special on that day or is it just another day? For some, it can be depressing if they don't feel like they have anyone who truly cares about them in their life. How has your view of your birthday changed from when you were a kid to now, as an adult?
So with that Intro, when I was a kid I hoped for a happy birthday but don't recall any. When I was 12, my mother bought me a jewelry box--not the one I wanted but still a gift, then talked me out of it because she liked it a lot.
My birthday also falls in the coldest stretch of winter, after so much cold, so it was--and now that I'm back in Ohio--still is gloomy too.
After I had so many miserable birthdays including getting the flu, a cold, injured (just some kind of bad luck run--if I believed in luck), culminating with my anticipation that turning 50 would be great, and instead I pulled rib muscles from coughing hard (bacterial infection), got put on Prednisone, had an almost deadly reaction to it, kicked off a horrid auto-immune disease response... I gave up on birthdays in a good sense:
Like other holidays, I filed it away, and focused instead on celebrating small things like the first robin I see in spring, finding a pair of thick sweats at Goodwill in great shape for my husband, showing and sharing daily good times, and to the extent possible watching that one day turn... and noting either, "Hey, this year I didn't have an accident, injury, other mishap," or "Just a head cold, not too bad for a birthday."
No point in thinking, "Well, if I had a bigger family than just my husband and me it would be better or great," because that's not my situation.
I really don't mind any more. And I really do show my husband as he shows me care and signs of appreciation regularly, so it's OK. Just took getting used to.
It helped, too, that when I was 9 I had two friends, one (Grace Wong) was Cantonese-Chinese who didn't know how old she was, which at the time seemed mighty odd, but as I learned about other people's cultural differences, I was able to fit bid deal American holidays into a different, broader but also deeper framework where for some a birthday is meaningful and for others it doesn't cause even a blip on their own or their parents' radar.
I did note, without emotion, that today my ex-husband--the one my biological mother arranged my marriage to; the sociopath; the one who 'may' have murdered a middle-aged man and his son... turned 60 today:
If he's still alive. And I noted that my son doesn't know his father's birthday, and wouldn't care if he did.
So much in life is more important, positive. I'm grateful for those experiences, no matter how seemingly small.
And I feel good for the people who have loving families and good birthdays, enjoy celebrating them in an atmosphere of conviviality.