I’ll start off by saying my birthday dread has absolutely nothing do with aging. I’ll be 38. The rare time(s) someone does ask my age I usually roll my eyes upwards while I think of my age and I’m sure they probably think I’m making it up but the truth is I really don’t think about the number. I never understood why women had to be ashamed of their age and the universal rule of “Never ask a woman their age.” Maybe it’s because of the phrase “You/I look good for your/my age.” Another post for another time.
My dread is about the recognition. In my early 20’s I was all about the birthday experience. One day wasn’t enough, I wanted a week. If I played it right, ahem, bothered friends enough, I could make it last almost a month. I loved the attention. My friend and I still joke about my somewhat bratty ways and usually reference one of the spoiled kids from “My Super Sweet 16” who said “No gift, no party.”
I wasn’t that bad (I don’t think…losing memory with the old age); but, I still lived for my birthday. When you get in a relationship you have certain expectations about how you want special occasions, i.e., birthdays to play out.
I don’t want to get too deep into how I started to resent my birthday (well, my life in general). If you know part of my story, you have an inkling. But if not, I’ll give you the quick version: being with the wrong person who makes you feel bad about every damn thing, will make you not want to celebrate anything.
After a few years, I didn’t want to acknowledge the day. Most of the time I would take the day off, ask my mom to watch my sons, and I would head back to bed for a Twilight Movie Marathon. Once Edward, Bella, and Reneesme were living their happy lives, I knew the day was almost over; another birthday now.
Post-divorce, I still struggle with the day. I’m working on embracing it. More importantly, accepting well wishes from friends and family with good intentions.