Birthday. How does one celebrate a birthday? It’s supposed to be a special day that comes once a year where you feel like everyone loves you and wants to be with you on your special day, I thought. But today was my birthday, and I didn’t feel that at all.
My stepmother’s parents came to visit for the remainder of the holiday season and basically took over my home. They are very elderly people so naturally they would feel more comfortable in a bed, so my room was taken. Then of course my stepmother’s sisters wanted to come, so I was out of the downstairs bed and air mattress. Where does this leave me you ask? On the really big comfy chair that’s not a bed. Now don’t get me wrong, I did not mind giving up my bed or other sleeping options because I wanted them to be comfortable. BUT the next morning, also my birthday, the entire house decides to wake up and scream “Good Morning” to each other like it’s the very first word they’ve learned. And along with the screams comes stomping up the steps because naturally we all forget how to walk in the morning. But nobody seemed to care about the fact I was still lying in the living room in a giant chair, still sleeping.
They continued to shout to one another about philosophy, politics and food; so I took a pillow and covered my head. Two hours later I awoke and no one acknowledged my existence. I thought everyone would be excited again to scream “good morning!” So I sat in my chair of a bed and waited for my father to say anything remotely close to my day of birth and I got nothing. Ten minutes later I got the response I was looking and hoping for, but then it was followed with “What are your plans?” and “you don’t really want us around do you?” I never forced anyone to be around me, but I felt the pressure from my parents to not invite them so they didn’t have to be bothered.
Of course I didn’t want to think this, but it disturbed me the way my stepmother urged me by asking, “You don’t want to be around old people?” I felt like I was being pushed away by my family on what is supposed to be a very happy day. So I said, “You guys can go if you want to, but it is dinner with a few of my friends and you all are welcome to come.” So a sigh of relief came over my guests because they really didn’t want to go, which is fine. But it did hurt my feelings just a little.
So I checked out my Facebook page to see thousands of messages from friends wishing me a happy birthday, but what happened to actually calling people and saying Happy Birthday? Are we that impersonal now because of the internet and things like Facebook that we don’t say things anymore, but we type them! Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all of those who sent wishes my way that day, but I just felt like a second thought all day, from not getting phone calls from my best friends, to my dad basically not caring about it being my birthday. So I had to get out of the house. One bff lives in Richmond, so we hung out all day. We went shopping, talked about our semester and then went to dinner. It turned into a very good day.
But why was I so negative at the beginning of the day? I don’t think I am that self-centered where I need a parade where the entire world attends to celebrate my day of birth, but it would be pretty awesome. I took some time once I got home to really reflect as to why I was feeling this way.
I decided that just because I feel like others don’t care about me, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about myself. My birthday is just as important as any other day and I should celebrate it how I want to, whether I have ten thousand people or ten people. It’s a day for me to remember when I came into this world. I probably share December 28 with multiple people around the world and it is just another day, but as I get older, it doesn’t mean I become less important. The older I get, the more I value myself as an important being in this world.
So the next time you have a birthday, try not to worry who you have to invite or how old you’re getting or where you should throw this awesome party. Think about how you have grown in the past year, think about all the accomplishments you’ve made, the goals you are going to make. Don’t let the negative energy of this world consume you like it did me. But like me, be able to notice, respond and redirect that energy in a way that is both positive for you and your wellbeing.