Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just another day

Today is my birthday. This comment is usually followed by some revelation of how old you feel, or how being age so and so feels so unreal, or what significance this new milestone of years has, etc, etc. But despite the usual onslaught of  cheerful celebratory remarks and well wishes, the annual expectation and anticipation of a singularly special day in all the 365 days, to me, it’s just another day. And like the majority of January-borns, we expect a rather dismal turnout of weather on our “special day.” I feel like my whole room’s being banged and rapped on by that creepy nighttime wind that whistles through the cracks in your windows and gives you that horror/mystery story feeling of “On a dark and stormy night…”

I remember last year’s birthday, getting my feet wet as I tried to handle a staticky and wet cluster of balloons through tight doorways and swinging doors that slammed you in the face if the person in front didn‘t hold them, possibly spending my time in the library because I had some test at the end of the day, trudging through puddles while trying to keep my cumbersome sets of books and things together, and discoloring my best friend’s large picture collage/birthday card with raindrops that left blotches on the photos of the us.

Now that I’ve just read over what I’ve written, it’s occurred to me that this post sounds depressingly depressing for a birthday post.

But it’s not even that it’s depressing--it’s just a far fall from the usual happy expectations of a birthday. There’s that annual disappointment of the parental units forgetting (birthdays really aren’t a big deal in our family. Really.). They’ll usually figure it out a bit after they see my birthday cards and ask me what I got them for, or my balloons, or something. And then there’s the look you get from people when it’s your birthday and you haven’t got anything to show for it-- “Oh, it’s your birthday? Where are your presents?” Like a gross pitiful consoling smile, them saying Oh it’s okay, it’s really not a big deal, when they’re just glad it’s not them. I can’t stand pity.

And there’s the issue of having a birthday party (To have, or not to have? That is the question. Har har har.). There’s the expectation of a great fiesta, and you’re worried everyone won’t get along, or that people won’t have fun, or there’ll be awkward moments of nothing to do, and then there’s the after party clean up. And the issue of if everyone can make it or not, and the trouble of planning it out, and what food will be suitable, and what games would be best, and what in the world should we rent for a movie? I only wish I had the self assurance to just do it without worrying about how everything’s going to turn out in the end. Who cares?

I think my problems with birthday are really all just rooted in expectations. Society’s expectations, and yes that does sound like a cliché English essay topic. But it’s that expectation from everyone that you’re supposed to have a great birthday, and the ensuing pity that comes when you’re not.

Honestly, it’s just another day.

You know what? I take that back. My friends gave me a great day today.

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