I dislike birthdays. Every year, as the next one approaches, I don’t feel the excitement and happiness that most people do. And no, it’s not because I’m getting another year older and another step closer to 30.
I don’t like birthdays because of the expectations that they carry. The gifts, the celebrations, the attention. I have no interest in any of it. To me it’s just another day. Try as I may, to not get caught up in the hallmark hoax of it all, there is still a part of me that wouldn’t mind being spoilt, receiving heartfelt birthday messages and getting treated extra special for just one day. But with all expectations comes disappointment.
You see, there always seems to be at least one person who forgets my birthday. No, not one of the Facebook friends who are simply following the lead of monotonous ‘happy birthday’ messages written on my wall. I mean, one of my close friends. I appreciate all the birthday love I receive, but some certainly hold a lot more weight than others so when it’s someone I consider a close friend who forgets, that shit stings!
Then there are the presents. The gifts that I don’t really need or want. I am more a ‘moments over things’ person. Quality time over gifts any day. Of course, flowers never go astray (insert cheeky wink face here) but a beautifully written card or a genuine and loving message is the greatest gift I could receive.
I don’t really remember a time when I was ever specially fond of birthdays. Except for maybe when I was a kid and I was able to choose what Mum cooked for my family birthday dinner, which always involved a Vienna ice-cream cake for dessert (what ever happened to those delicious creations?) I was always shy growing up and hated being centre of attention. So birthday parties, even as a child, made me feel awkward. And nothing’s changed. I don’t like attention focused on me, so maybe that’s why I don’t like birthdays.
I’d rather the day go by relatively unnoticed. I’d rather not be fussed over. There are far too many expectations surrounding birthdays and in the past they have never been fulfilled. I have always been left feeling sad and empty to a certain extent. My idea of the perfect birthday is one in which I share quality time with the people I love. No extravagant celebrations, parties and certainly no drinking. Don’t get me presents. I don’t need gifts. None of that is necessary. What makes me happiest is to spend time with people who genuinely care for me and make me feel special, regardless of what date it is on the calender.
Birthdays only started to take a positive turn when I turned 25. Knowing how much I dislike birthdays and how depressed I felt on May 14th the year before, my work colleague (and also close friend) made a special effort to change my whole perspective on birthdays. Another close friend took me out for a special dinner so that I wouldn’t have to go home to a empty house feeling lonely, like I had experienced the year before. And this year, I finally found the perfect solution to make birthdays more of a positive affair. How?
Step 1. Boycott your birthday by going on an overseas holiday.
Step 2. Go with the person that makes you the happiest in the world.
Step 3 (optional but highly suggested). Turn your phone on airplane mode for the most part of the day and avoid all temptations to connect to wifi. Live in the moment and forget about social media.
It’s a foolproof plan and one I intend to adhere to every year from now on. For the past three years, I have danced around the idea of boycotting the cold Perth weather and my birthday with a trip to hot, sunny Bali. This year I finally made it happen. Well, my boyfriend, Mark did. With flights to Bali and 10 days in chilled out, Canguu booked, he did good. We successfully escaped the cold Perth weather (which only makes me more depressed at this time of year) and managed to avoid all the birthday awkwardness that I hate.
Honestly, I’ve never had a more amazing birthday! For once , I enjoyed the day. I mean, how could I not be happy when I got to spend the day in one of my most favourite places in the world with my most favouriteist person? We relaxed, swam, had massages, ate delicious food from my favourite Canggu cafes and watched the sunset. Perfection! But mostly I loved it because it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It just felt like another day. Another day in paradise. Another day spent with the man I love. Nothing fancy. No expectations. Just quality time with someone special who makes me feel loved and appreciated every day. Not just on my birthday.
And the best bit. We still have 4 more days here! I’m doing this every year!
Happy 26th birthday to me!
Love Elo xx