Blank Birthday


Yea, it came again, as it often does...a little too soon, a little too quickly. Yes, my birthday..and I think, well, we all know I have issues anyway.

I think part of it stems from when I was young. My parents didn't have a whole lot of money. Birthdays were always a disappointment, unfortunately.    I got used to the bad gifts, or hand me downs that were re-gifted to be my birthday present. Now, I understand that my parents were doing what they could, but back then, growing up, I thought my parents were just cheap.

Now, I've come to almost dread my birthday. Not only does getting older not sit well with me, but, the whole "happy" part really gets to me. I tell my family absolutely "no gifts". Part of that is because I have everything I could ever want, and getting one more shirt, tie, or sweater is just not what I want. I tell my kids, just spend time with me, give me a hug and a happy birthday, and that's the best gift I could ask for.

Then comes the whole day: the morning smiles from my wife, the calls of excitement from friends and family. "How's it feel to be older?" "It sucks" I respond.  Damn right it does.

The night before my birthday, my wife made a dinner for family that happened to be visiting that weekend. Although it wasn't intentionally planned as a celebration, I asked that my wife not make a big deal about my birthday anyway, which squashed the singing of happy birthday when the candle-less cake came out.  My Mom asked me the next morning why I was so upset.

"It's just that I can't stand the Howdy-Doody happiness that's inevitable for my birthday. I don't need anything, I don't want anything.  The family being here was fine, but it shouldn't have to be and didn't have to be about me. I don't need the whole everything today is about celebrating your birthday things that happen: "here's  your good morning special breakfast on your birthday" and "let me open that door for you on your birthday" happiness and can I get a fork? "of course you can it's your birthday" inane stupidity.

I know a birthday is supposed to be a monumental occasion - one to be celebrated.  I just don't know how to get the happy back in it.

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