Well, it’s another year older for yours truly.
Common tropes upon the arrival of a birthday include despair and moderate delight at being able to imbibe freely. The arrival of a day of forced recollection yields ludicrous proclamations of change similar to those made at the beginning of the year. Indeed, the only real difference is that said declarations of, say, actually doing something with one’s life, are accompanied by cake and candles.
I’m not going to reflect (ruminate) on any of the above, though. Rather, I’d simply like to highlight the tremendous change in significance of my own birthday as I’ve grown (oh so much much) older.
When I was younger, my birthday was a much bigger thing, both physically and within my consciousness. I think I started planning for my next birthday the moment the last guest left whatever roller rink, living room or backyard we happened to be celebrating in.
My birthday was a spectacle of reward and entertainment which I starred in. I asked and I received….and I don’t think I’m any better for it.
We used to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller sitting on the carpet of my parents’ finished basement. I don’t remember if any of my party guests really enjoyed the film… and I don’t think I cared. I sat a foot away from the screen, mesmerized, for reasons I’m still yet to figure out.
Nowadays, I start to feel vaguely uncomfortable towards the beginning of April. This is usually followed by a mental panorama of things which have been accomplished throughout history by those younger than me playing alongside the bland silent newsreel footage of my own life and my meagre accomplishments. All this is underscored by the deep hope that nobody wastes money on gifts or has planned any type of celebration.
It’s not that I’m profoundly “Anti-Birthday,” or particularly self-loathing, it’s just that on the whole, when it comes to celebrating my birthday, I’d really rather not.