My birthday week has begun. I don’t dare tell anyone how much I enjoy this time. You are supposed to be quiet about your birthday, discreet. No one is supposed to know. If it’s your birthday, keep it under your hat. If you find out it’s someone else’s birthday, they often will get all embarassed, like you just found their underwear in the hallway. “Oh, I don’t pay any attention to that,” they say. “It’s just another day. Promise not to tell anyone.”
I am not sure whether this isn’t just one more nail in the coffin of age discrimination, which is a silent killer of respect for anyone over 50 years old in this country. I suppose this grown-up attitude about the day you were born is part of maturing. The feeling of being special because you arrived X number of years ago on such and such a day goes out with the tooth fairy. The information about your birthday goes underground with all the other dirty little secrets you are not supposed to talk about.
I go along with this on the outside, and may refer to “sometime in June” as the month of my birth. I also demure with a quick smile and a shake of the head when asked which day. I don’t want to look childish to the world outside my inner circle of family and friends. But inside, behind my serene gaze, I am stringing the lights and breaking out my inner party hats, because baby, I love my birthday!
My birthday is MY DAY. I get only one a year, and look forward to it with gusto. It has nothing to do with presents, though none are turned down. It has everything to do with guilt-free self indulgence.
First, whenever possible, I give myself the gift of time; the whole day if I can swing it. I putter around the garden, write in my notebook, read, dine on Haagen Dasz mocha chip ice cream, go for a long walk in the woods, take a nap, happily receive telephone calls from loved ones, and generally roll around in an internal riot of sparkling specialness. It’s MY DAY, the anniversary of my entry into this world, never to happen again (that I know of). What’s to be ignored about that?
If today is YOUR DAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Go out and celebrate you!