I’m at an age where this is fairly unremarkable – I’m too old to be excited by it, and not old enough to be grateful for lunging over another lap marker. But even at this stage of my life, I’m still learning new lessons about birthdays from those close to me.
It turns out that it’s not really MY decision to celebrate another year – and however much I try to play it down, my nearest and dearest refuse to be denied the chance to raise a glass and write a card – and some of my most treasured birthday gifts have arrived while I’ve been trying to slip out unnoticed to work.
‘What are you doing for your birthday?’ now translates to ‘What are WE doing for your birthday?’ – and there’s no room for any lack of enthusiasm. Birthdays WILL be special, you WILL be recognised by those around you, and you WILL spend the day basking in the warm glow of appreciation. When you come from the ‘Oh please don’t make a fuss’ school, this level of attention can all be a bit, er, intimidating.
Like lots of behaviours, it’s catching though. You start to reciprocate with other people’s birthdays – planning little surprises and thoughtful gifts for the people who matter to you. And before you know it, every month there’s a celebration to look forward to – or most importantly, to share. And it’s not about big-ticket expensive gifts – it’s the fact that the giver knows you like Maltesers, or remembered that you wished you had a book of poetry. It’s the fact that they remembered you at all.
I feel luckier and more privileged than I’ve ever felt, knowing that there’s a handful of people who care – even when I’ve pretended not to. So the lesson is, celebrate everything you can – with anyone you can – because one day it will be too late!
Paul Carter– D.O.B. unspecified.
What's your favourite thing about birthdays? Do you celebrate? Or prefer to be celebrate in silence? Let us know!