My birthday was Tuesday. If you forgot, I'm still accepting prepaid Visas and maybe even Facebook posts if you follow Facebook's suggestion and get me a Target gift card - or does Facebook even do that anymore? Oh well. You can still do it; the suggestion is right here.
My birthday sparked several thoughts, including can I still claim to be in my early twenties at 24? Or is this my mid-twenties? Say it ain’t so!
Happy birthday. The whole phrase sets up this expectation that it's supposed to be an exceptional day. But really, what is so exceptional about your birthday? All your coworkers sing you a song, but you still have deadlines. You go out to dinner, and you expect a friend to cover your tab, so you don't want to be a gluttonous hog, so you stay within budget - and then they only cover your drink. Well, thank gosh you ordered cheap.* And you have to answer your grandmother's phone call and endure a half hour discussion on what it means to be young.
*This didn't happen to me this year. Shout-out to Sara and Christine!
"Are you doing anything special?"Everyone asks this. It's like everyone is expected to take off work and forget they have life responsibilities, because you've revolved around the sun one more time. (And you only have those responsibilities because you keep revolving around the sun; won't it stop?) Personally, I had a huge presentation due the day after my birthday, so I postponed celebrations. Everyone: "You poor thing; life is hard." Then why do we keep celebrating every year more we endure? I should have put a spin on my response: "Actually, I am doing something special; I'm buying myself lunch instead of packing it today."
The pressure to respond to the HBD's. This is the one day where people you haven't heard from in 365 days reach out again. Maybe I'm abnormal, but I feel a cloying need to answer each and every "Happy birthday!" with a "Thank you!" I suddenly can't open a Snapchat and distractedly tap through it; now I need to remember to respond.
This rule does not apply to Facebook. One year I tried writing "Thank you" on every person's individual wall: This was my phase where I thought it was selfish to comment on posts; you needed to reciprocate and post back. This year I haphazardly liked certain posts, commented on others, and ignored the rest. But thanks, friends, for taking the time to write fifteen characters in a textbox and tap "Enter."
At the same time, I'm sentimental. Okay, I'm not as Scrooge-y as the above makes me sound. It genuinely warms the icicles of my soul that 132 people took the eight seconds to either write on my Facebook wall, compose a text laden with emojis, or send a selfie with some caption in regards to the auspicious nature of the day. Bonus points if you did all three! I suddenly recall all the friends I've collected through life, and it's (almost) more vitalizing than that free Starbucks drink.
On the topic of Facebook posts: I am reminded how many people are illiterate. 1.) Why does everyone capitalize "Birthday" when writing “Happy birthday”? It's actually more effort for you to hold down/tap the "Shift" button. And for those who take the time to personalize the message, i.e. "Happy birthday, Cazey!," why do 9 out of 10 of you forget that comma? "Happy birthday Cazey"??? No.
I would forfeit my birthday for a decade if we could learn proper comma usage.
Remorse that I didn't wish you a happy birthday. Cheryl, thank you so much for the HBD. I remember our gossip sessions senior year of high school. Why haven't we stayed in touch? Shoot, I'm a bad friend. I forgot about you until now; I definitely didn't wish you a happy birthday. Altruism must still exist.
Why are you wishing me a happy birthday? My internship sent out a company-wide email wishing me a happy birthday. Moya replied all to send me the exact same message from her own email account. Problem: I don't know who Moya is. We have never spoken nor do I know what she looks like.
Me: "Thank you so much!" *Frank Underwood side-eye*
This applies also to the kids on Facebook who you don't even know who they are and/or their profile picture includes their raised middle finger and their most frequent status is an update on their parole and heroin rehabilitation. Please don't post on my wall.
Why didn't you say happy birthday? Three years ago, my crush texted me on my birthday. We weren't at all on texting terms at this point, and so basically my day was f*cking made. I remember I was on cloud 9 from that 11:09 AM text to 11:59 PM. (I'm cringing now because I think I even invited her right away to my birthday dinner. Shocker: She didn't come.) I would be lying, however, if there aren't certain people who I hope will acknowledge my day of birth if only to affirm something. Then again, I purposefully didn't send them a happy birthday on their birthday to prove there was nothing. Hmmmmm.
Why do I have a zit? Back to point one, this is supposed to a happy day. I should not have Vesuvius erupting on my forehead nor should I have a scab in my nose. Obviously, it can't be my birthday if I'm not in peak physical condition. I need to look hot for all the non-existent birthday photos happening at my non-existent party because of that existent project due tomorrow morning.
On my 21st birthday this culminated in me having cockatoo hair in every photo taken. Why did no one tell me?! “I thought you styled it that way,” says my no-longer friend.
How do I thank my friends without selling out to being basic? “Thank you so much for all the birthday posts, texts, Snaps, calls, Skypes, FaceTimes, owls, etc.! I have the best friends in the world! [Current age - 1] was great; I can’t wait to see what [current age] has in store! [Optional: insert emojis.]” Every millennial, copy and paste this for the day after your birthday.
What I wish people would write: "Thank you for fulfilling the social obligation to greet me on my birthday in celebration of something I had no say in when my parents came together so many years ago. Let's catch up again in twelve months."
What I write: This blog post.