Birthdays, am I right? We’re weird. Humans are so narcissistic, we feel that we need to find as many reasons as we can to celebrate ourselves that we actually use the excuse “this is the day I was born” as an excuse to party. It’s fine, though. We just like to have a good time. Your birthdays growing up and in college are all special for one reason or another, but once you hit your twenties, you’ll notice each birthday celebration you have will tend to take on a certain “type.”
The Accidental Shitshow
For those of us whose biggest talent the last several years has been the ability to throw back the hooch, it’s always surprising when a blackout night sneaks up on you. But really, that’s how they happen most of the time these days. We’ve become so accustomed to drinking and how our bodies react to alcohol that we’re pretty good at knowing our limits and adjusting accordingly. But it seems as if at least one birthday party will come out of nowhere and bite you in the boozy ass. Some parties are designed to be drunkfests, and you usually achieve that goal, but I’ve found that my most obliterated birthday nights have been when a couple of people come over to have a couple of drinks, ending with a group of you running down the street, naked, screaming the lyrics to “Uptown Girl,” and having hour-long arguments with your neighbor’s lawn ornaments.
The Excuse To Do Something You’ve Been Wanting To Do
When you’re busy and not wealthy, it can sometimes be hard to convince your friends–and oftentimes yourself–to do something that’s time and money consuming, so a birthday can afford an opportunity to do something you don’t usually do. For example, I’m writing this column as I’m nursing a wicked hangover from renting out a softball field, making a jug of college recipe grain alcohol punch, and trying to relive my competitive college slowpitch days. Normally my friends and I probably wouldn’t be able to wrangle together enough people all on one weekend to play a softball game for no reason, but when it’s someone’s birthday, you have the benefit of a “reason.”
The Lonely Party
Whether it’s by design or by accident, you’ll usually have one birthday in your twenties that you’ll spend alone. Maybe you’re traveling for work and you spend your birthday alone, killing a bottle of Cutty Sark in a Holiday Inn. Maybe you didn’t put enough effort into reminding people of the party and no one shows up, which is the saddest version. Or maybe you’re me on my last birthday and you got so shitfaced the night before that you end up staying home while everyone else goes to the bar that you had rented out for your festivities. Yes, that’s correct, I reserved the upstairs area of a bar, invited all of my friends, and then proceeded to say, “You know what? You guys go ahead without me.” On MY birthday. I don’t know whether that makes me a sad human, a shitty friend, or some awful combination of both.
The “Oh Shit, I’m Old” Realization
Sometimes getting together with people you’ve known for a long time and sharing stories takes a turn for the epiphanetic (they’re my words, I’ll make them up if I want). You’re standing around, telling everyone about the time that Watkins got hopped up on pharmaceutical-grade ostrich tranquilizers and slept with a woman he thought was Condoleezza Rice, and then you realize, HOLY SHIT that story happened seven years ago. Then everyone spends the rest of the night wondering where the time has gone, and how you’re all basically too old to ever do anything of note ever again.
The Basically No Birthday
Once you hit your late twenties, birthdays start to lose their importance. Sure, there are still plenty of people who insist on making a huge spectacle of their “special day.” We call those people assholes. Sure, it’s nice every other year or so to do something fun and out of the ordinary, but often what you really want to do is NOT make a big deal out of it. Getting older just isn’t as sexy as it used to be. There are no milestones left. Once you hit 25 and are able to rent a car, the only things that are really left are age minimums for holding public offices and retirement. That’s not exactly the most glamorous thing in the world. So, instead of getting everyone together and painting the town red, you get fewer people together and paint it more of a light beige. It’s pretty much the same as your average bar night, except you don’t have to pay for your own drinks and there’s a decent chance your buddy will be able to convince that drunk chick in the corner to go home with you because you deserve to get laid on your birthday. And you know what? That’s not too bad..