Birthdays have always been a bit of a conundrum to me really. One huge aspect of me hates them. I dislike knowing there is a ‘surprise’ coming (does it count as a surprise if I know its happening yet do not know what it is?). I want to know what people have thought of when they think of me and therefore the presents in this aspect, its nice knowing that people know you and the thought that goes into it but the anticipation of presents is awfully frustrating. Opening them in front of people also isn’t very enjoyable. I hate having all the attention on me like that, plus I am not very good at masking my feelings so what if I genuinely don’t like the gift? I wouldn’t want the person to feel bad but I am afraid that my face and actions would give it away even if I tried my hardest not to. I utterly hate the attention from others that birthdays bring and yet am devastated if people do not wish me a happy birthday or acknowledge it. Yes this makes no sense. It gives me pleasure and joy and love knowing that people are thinking of me and care enough and shows how I am fitting into this world when people say happy birthday and care which is a huge achievement and sign of success to me, I am making friends. Yet the attention and the obligation on my birthday to be uber happy and want this is difficult. Things like facebook and messages help, people can show they care enough to wish me a happy birthday without the need for me to be in everyone’s physical presence. It tends to be why I take my birthday off work. Not because I don’t absolutely love the people I work with but this way I can spend it with people I am closest too and feel less obligated to pretend I enjoy the attention around.
There is a high expectation around birthdays to do something amazing, and who got you the most amazing present but honestly this isn’t me. I am happy to spend time with the people in my life, do something simple and spend the day basically doing the things I love such as watching the films I like or reading for a while, and as far as presents go I care about the thought that has gone into them. I like knowing what people think of when they think of me, what made them get a particular thing. I love buying presents and thinking of peoples interests, likes and sentimental things which they might find touching. Buying other people gifts and celebrating their birthdays is so much better than my own! Maybe this is why I prefer Christmas… because its more for everyone.
Birthdays aren’t exactly the happiest time for me in recent years either. Just before I turned 30 I took an overdose. I couldn’t handle everything any more and I have such high expectations and routine with how I wanted my life to be and I didn’t know how to adapt to that not happening. Now every year I am reminded of that. Yes I see each year as a step forward I have taken and it shows how far, and how quickly things can turn around and yet it also still reminds me of that time, every year older I am I still have to squash some of them thoughts and expectations for myself. Convince myself it is okay that and I have time for the things I am still working on even though I feel like time is ticking away. This will always be a challenge to me and something I reflect upon on my birthday, I don’t think that will ever change. It does get easier with the help of those closest to me and it doesn’t suck me in like before. I think its important to realise that although something we celebrate and should, birthdays for everyone are not always such a joyous affair. Sometimes it does hurt to get older for whatever reason, or to celebrate without someone you thought would be in your life forever. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean that every year is going to de as hard, but it doesn’t mean you can not take the time to reflect and feel this on the day too.
This year there have been other reasons why I have struggled a little too, which I have touched on within the comment above. Sometimes people who you thought would always celebrate with you don’t for whatever reason, for example this year has been the first year that all my sisters have been living away from me and I haven’t been able to see them. They called and sent me a card and this was absolutely amazing. Video calling them put a smile on my face and even just seeing them made such a difference but it is still difficult accepting the change and being okay with missing them like I am. It will always leave a little hole inside me but every time I see them, or talk to them its a little easier to manage.
There is one other person this relates too but I am not going to get into this too much as it is unfair on the other person but its been difficult not having them around. Yes, part of this is due to my love of routine and familiarity but its so much more than that and I wish I could make them understand that. I spent the whole of day hoping and wishing for a message, or them to come over. Even watching the film I wanted to see yesterday at the cinema reminded me of them and I had to fight back tears (btw Frozen two is very very good though!). I felt like the whole day was tainted with my inability to let go of this persons presence, so thank you to my partner who still worked his hardest to make it a day I could enjoy, and to my close friends for understanding.