There’s no reason to celebrate your birthday after your 21st, they say. Once you’ve reached the legal drinking age in America, the milestone of surviving another year without Darwin Awarding yourself out of existence becomes meaningless. In fact, birthdays are something to be dreaded and downplayed as much as possible. After all, who wants to acknowledge the fact that they’re another year older and further removed from their youth? That doesn’t sound like something worth celebrating.
But for me, I love my birthday. It is, without question, my favorite day of the year. More than Christmas, baseball opening day, or any other holiday, I look forward to my date of birth more than any other day on the calendar. And no matter how old I live to be, I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the internal excitement I have my birthday.
For one day a year, I feel truly invincible. Not unlike a child on Christmas morning, I wake up early in restless anticipation for the day ahead. All the stress, anxieties, and other burdens I feel on a daily basis are lifted off my mind allow me to operate for one day in a state of nearly total bliss. You know that episode of Scrubs where everyone asks Dr. Kelso to sign off on equipment purchases the day after his anniversary because its the one day a year he’s in such a good mood that he’ll sign off on anything? I’m like a real life version of that on my birthday. Not the authorizing of expensive equipment purchases part, but I can certainly relate to having an elevated mood on one day of the year compared to the rest.
I owe those good feelings almost entirely to the positive memories I associate with the day. When I was a kid, my parents did everything they could to ensure that I had a happy birthday, something I appreciate even more now in hindsight. To this day they still do that by treating me to dinner and gifting me clothes that I am badly in need of. I got to have birthday parties with my friends at cool places like Haunted Trails in Joliet where we could play arcade games and gorge on all the shitty pizza and pop that we wanted. In college and beyond, those parties have evolved into full-blown ragers where my goon squad friends and I drink inappropriate quantities of alcohol, which has also produced some great memories (Or lack thereof).
And secretly, part of me enjoys the attention that comes with someone wishing me a happy birthday. I try to operate on a low-key basis in my day-to-day life, but for one day this friendly little gesture is one of those things that lifts up my already elevated mood.
I completely understand why a lot of people are less than enthused about drawing attention to their birthday as they get older. I also understand why everyone hates people who are “Birthzillas” that demand to have every little thing go their way for their birthday celebration and use it as an excuse to act even more obnoxious in public than usual (And I hope I don’t come across as that in this article because I am absolutely not).
For me though, my birthday is a day of genuine good feeling and being surrounded by, or at the very least hearing from, my friends and family. I don’t go out of my way to ask for any of this– the dinner from my parents, the birthday wishes, the parties my friends throw as an excuse for all of us to get belligerently drunk– I am blessed and fortunate enough that they do all this of their own volition. And the feeling I get from it is a sensation of happiness and joy I wish would never fade away. Nothing and no one can stop Father Time from aging us, so why not enjoy it along the way?
If you’re supposed to grow out of all that, then I missed the memo. What’s my age again anyway? Fuck it, who cares. Let’s rage..
Image via NBC / YouTube