With the onset of December, cold begins to set in and the occasional snow flurries will fall down to the slowly freezing earth. In addition to the bitter cold, December also brings the annoying question of ‘What do you want to do for your birthday?’ I was
blessed cursed with a December birthday.
To be clear, I am not going to write a post complaining about December birthdays, as my peers who also have this trait are apt to do. Rather, the bone I have with my birthday is the simple fact that I do not enjoy celebrating birthdays. Yes, I am one of the strange creatures who does not enjoy the celebratory events of their birthday. Society is not sure what to do with us and most simply stare in disgust and disbelief that a creature like this could still exist.
The strangeness of this anti-birthday position startles most when they learn that I do not enjoy a birthday. Most find out that I am not a fan when A) I refuse to share the date of my birthday or B) when I immediately shut down any proposition to celebrate. The reactions are countless; most notably a grimace of horror coming across someone’s face and then a quick flash of a smile to cover up the grimace followed by a “Are you sure?” I simply laugh internally at this reaction and respond with a smile and a “Yes, I am sure I do not want to [share my birthdate with you] [engage in a birthday celebration]”
So why the hate? Why take the vastly unpopular position of being anti-birthday? Why not just fall in-line like the rest of society and allow birthday celebrations to commence?
What’s the point? That is how I respond to all of the questions I just typed above. What’s the point of a birthday?
Growing up, my parents did an excellent job of making sure my December birthday was not lost in the shuffle of the holiday season. I remember having friends over in elementary school, going to a hotel one time so we could swim, laser tag, and go karts. As I got older (and the realization that birthday’s were not my thing) the celebration of my birth was switched to dinner with the family. So when did the hate start?
It must have been sometime in high school, because my friends threw me a surprise 18th birthday to which I was not happy. But still the question is ‘why?’
The hate for birthdays stems from the fact that I loath being the center of attention; or really being anywhere near where attention could fall on me. Recently, I received an award for an article that I wrote for the association I am a member of. The award was presented at the closing banquet of the annual conference. I had to walk through the crowded banquet room to take the plaque and shake hands with the editor of the magazine. I was honored and humbled to be recognized for the article, but was embarrassed to have to be recognized in front of the entire conference.
I do not enjoy being the center of attention. Having eyes and thoughts focused on me, even for a few minutes, gives me the heebie-jeebies! For me, birthdays makes me the center of attention for an entire 24-hour period, which is not only unnecessary but also incredibly stress inducing.
Additionally, celebrating a birthday is asinine. I did not accomplish anything to be born. I did not beat the odds and make it to the next age (of course, when I enter my 80s then, maybe, a celebration could occur). I simply existed. Birthdays are an exercise in self-congratulation and I do not want to be part of it!
Yes, I acknowledge that this position of birthday hate is unorthodox at best (and social suicide at worst). Yes, this birthday hate business makes for a miserable December. And, yes, birthday hate causes much stress for me. But, I stand firm in my distaste for the general idea of celebrating my birthday and hope my friends and family can at least humor me by not celebrating my birthday. For that would be the greatest gift of all!