I’m a big birthday person, always have been. It runs in my family. I think some people must look at us and think we are a little crazy (which we are). Growing up my mother always put on fantastic parties for me and my brother. And on the morning of our birthdays, she would decorate the living room with posters and balloons and have lots of presents for us to open. Not in a spoilt way, but she would find any little thing that she could wrap up so we would get the excitement of unwrapping gifts.
She would make a big deal of our special day and celebrate it as much as she could. And even though we are no longer kids, she continues this tradition every year.
As soon as I got to the age where I could use a credit card, I did the same for her, other family members and friends. But I was saddened to sometimes see that this was not the norm and some families pass presents like it’s an obligatory act and give gifts that are “useful” instead of just a present to give. For some, it’s really not much different for any other day. I started to wonder if I was a birthday brat?
I think some people struggle to make a big deal out of their birthday. It’s as though celebrating brings too much attention and they feel awkward for doing so. But that’s a problem in our society in itself. We don’t want to appear egotistical, up ourselves or attention seeking. So, a big birthday celebration might signal to others just that. But we should be celebrating ourselves more and we shouldn’t be so scared of what others think.
This year I realised why I love birthdays, not just mine but those around me. I, like my mother, am a nurturer. We are givers and we spend so much of our time giving to those around us, often more than we should. So, when it comes to our birthdays, it’s one day that we are able to focus on ourselves and have others focus on us too. I am surrounded by nurturers, so I see their birthdays the same, a day to give back to them when they have given so much to me in return. And this is how birthdays should be.
When in your life do you take time to think of those around you? To think of a gift that might mean something to them? To pick up the phone and call them? To send them a message just to send some love? This is what I love about birthdays. People let you know they are thinking of you and even get together to share a drink. In a world where we are all so pushed and pulled, too busy to catch up and under so much pressure, it’s probably exactly what we need. It’s just a pity it’s only once a year.
This year on my birthday, I felt so loved. I was surrounded by amazing people, did something fabulous (I always use my birthday as an excuse to do something I’ve always wanted to do) and was reminded of the thoughtful people I have in my life.
This is why the over the top out there birthday needs to be a tradition we all take on board. It can be hard to realise you are now a year older, but it’s a time to appreciate what you have in your life and which people are there for you. And if celebrating mine and others birthdays means I’m a birthday brat for that, then a birthday brat I will always be.
It’s not just important to celebrate your birthday but be a birthday giver in return. When those notifications pop up on your FB screen, pick up the phone and call, send a text or maybe even consider doing something amazing for a special person that has given so much to you. It doesn’t take much to write a card, send flowers or do something for someone who has shown you care. If only in life we showed each other more love, consideration and thoughtfulness, maybe we wouldn’t be a society so stressed and in desperate need of a birthday more than once a year.
And, there are many people who I’m sure would love to still be on this earth living and celebrating with their loved ones not only their birthdays but each day. So why not cherish every moment, including the one where you were born.