Birthday Anxiety & A Birthday Break

 

There is such a thing as birthday anxiety. It is not something I suffer from. Uhm..about 363 days every year I suffer from birthday anticipation. There’s one day also of birthday aftermath. 

Nevertheless, there are those who don’t want to draw attention to their birthday, fail to mention the date, shy away from big plans, and are overwhelmed by the thought of everyone spoiling them.

One 24-year-old British lifestyle blogger recently posted on her own birthday in solidarity with those who meet the day with dread or sadness. The influencer, who gained fame for YouTube beauty tutorials, tied her birthday with feelings of loneliness and expectation, as well as pressure, guilt and disappointment.

Her post inspired others to share their own stresses around birthdays and prompted an article on the issue from Xpose with psychologists chiming in with observations along familiar lines:

“Birthdays are landmark events,” one counsellor said. “They act as triggers… where people are forced to evaluate themselves and what they’ve achieved.”

“A surprisingly large percentage of my clients come into therapy before a ‘zero’ birthday,” agreed another therapist. “Usually on their 30th or 40th, or even 50th or 60th, as its those birthdays [when they’re on] the threshold of another new decade, that bring up existential anxiety about their past life and what their future may hold for them.”

We’ve discussed this before. Also, there are people who share their birthdays with anniversaries of loss. So, of course, there’s such a thing as birthday anxiety. I only hope this blog isn’t making people feel worse — although I doubt the birthday worriers are the ones following my blog.

Speaking of following this blog…

And anxiety, for that matter….

I’ve decided to take a hiatus from weekly publishing. I love writing this blog. It entertains me, and I hope it does you too. However, it has also become one more pressing item on my “to do” list. And, as I’m doing this for fun, I have decided to take a break from this obligation for a little while. At least until I can come back to it with a level of excitement like I had when I first started writing.

Thanks for your support in the meantime. I’ve appreciated your eyes on my words!

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Image source

Birthday Expenses and 50 Presents Each!

 

This week I went to two different birthday events. First was a surprise party for a 40-year-old. My husband, at the adult party, shared a vent with the milestone birthday man about December birthdays and how they only get “half” the presents/attention. 

The next night we went to a gathering at a pizza place on a kids’ night for a 10-year-old who “didn’t want a party.” I wondered if his parents would be able to remind him later on (say, when’s he 40 and complaining about getting shafted) that he was the one to say “no” to an official party!

Not that his parents were complaining, I’m sure. Especially at this time of year, it was probably a treat to save some money. Research from Barclays in the U.K. recently found that “the average parent will spend nearly £5,000 on celebrating birthdays during the ages of four and 11. Typically, adults spend £433.39 on birthday parties and another £164.65 on presidents.” (Yeah, I had to direct quote that because I love the typo in presents. I would have thought presidents would cost more!).

The top five party expenses were:

  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Party bags
  • Activities 
  • Cake.

You’d think some money could be saved hosting the party at home. That may be true, but this was the survey’s “most stressful venue for a birthday party.”

But some parents also buy as many as 50 presents per birthday, the study revealed. 

Barclay’s, being a financial institution, took the opportunity in reporting on the study to remind people, “the money you spend on presents and parties adds up and ultimately can end up having quite an impact on the savings you might have otherwise put aside for your child’s future.” Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays, said: “The sooner you start saving, the better your financial trajectory will be.”

Starting at Year One

A Pop Sugar columnist would likely argue to start saving that money at year one. After all, her article is entitled, “Why You Honestly Shouldn’t Even Bother Throwing a Big First Birthday Party.”

She described the relaxed approach to her second child’s first birthday party: “It was a no-muss, no-fuss kind of party, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” But this was a far cry from the stress of the first child’s first birthday party with “an intricate fondant-covered cake, blanketing the house in expensive decorations, and spending most of the party bouncing around the house making sure everyone had everything they needed.”

Looking back, recognizing that neither child will remember the event, she suggests “throw the rules out the window and do your kid’s birthday the way YOU want to.”

That likely means 50 presents and hundreds of dollars for some and low-pomp but lots of family fun for others. 

Finally, while we’re talking about birthday expenses, I’ll also share this article from Bustle on how millennial women deal with splitting the bill at birthday dinners. The more you know, right?

Sharing A Birthday With Your Spouse

share birthday

Image source: Globe and Mail

 

Here is something that would be a recipe for divorce at my house — sharing my birthday. I know I’m a little (OK, a lot) birthday crazed. But I can’t be the only person who would NOT want to share her birthday with her significant other. Ugh! Worse would be having to share with your child…then, you’d have to be the grown up about it and all that kind of stuff.

Canadian John Beattie recently provided a personal essay to The Globe and Mail with the title “What it’s like to share everything – even your birthday – with your wife.” Of course, this first person account read like a horror story to me.

Beattie and his wife Zuraidah on July 30th each year compare themselves to a Hollywood power couple that share the same birthday too. They “wake up asking each other ‘what would Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones do?’” Since Christo and Jean Claude, the artists that wrap buildings and parks also share a birthday, I’m not sure why they don’t ask about them (although perhaps the answer there is too obvious — wrap something).

Statistics for Sharing

Beattie guesses there are other couples that are not so famous that are also “birthday sharers” but comments there is no special word to describe this occurrence. Yet, he writes, “there really should be. There are at least seven billion people on Earth. If everyone’s birthdays are spread out evenly that would mean each of us shares a birthday with more than 19-million people. That merits a word.”

It would have to a romantic one, apparently, since “just about everyone who knows [Beattie and his wife] as a couple thinks it’s really romantic.”

But as you can already guess, I do not agree. There is no romance in having to spoil my significant other on the day I want to be spoiled. Even my husband, who already has had to endure a December 30th birthday all of his life, would probably stick with his winter doldrums bday over having to share the birthday spotlight with yours truly.

Nevertheless, at least those who share a birthday don’t have to worry about forgetting their spouse’s birthdays. Yes, apparently it’s an issue. One third of those in an evite poll of 2,000 had done so. Men were twice as likely to space, and 9/10 of them were in serious relationships when they did so. Unsurprisingly, 12% of their relationships hit the skids because of the birthday gaffe.

Party like it’s your birthday

“We gonna party like it’s your birthday.” — 50 Cent, ‘In Da Club’

Yeah, you know you know that song. In fact the song was a quick international hit when it was released in 1993. A Source columnist even suggested the song challenged Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” as “the birthday song” of the Black community.”

The song, with “Dr. Dre and his beastly beat making over calmly accurate handclaps and driving synths,” saw 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, making way more than his moniker in profits off of the celebratory song’s success.

The central hook, “Go shorty, it’s your birthday/ We gonna party like it’s your birthday…” doesn’t even require it to be a birthday for fun to be had. After all, regardless, “we gonna party LIKE it’s your birthday.”

So, its a hit on your big day and whatever other day you want to rock the house.

It’s the Simple Things

The Source writer in the article, “How 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ influenced birthday themes all over the world,” further noted the song glorifies life. Noting, “This is only logical, with the rapper’s prior near death experience due to nine bullets including one to the face.”

Yet it may be the song’s simplicity that truly drove it to becoming a top birthday song. “Simplicity is a big key to hit music,” said 50 via People. “Don’t overthink things, just organically see what you feel when the production comes in. Like, ‘Go shorty, it’s your birthday.’ It’s not rocket science. It’s a simple statement.”

The song’s simple statement earned it a spot atop the Billboard Hot 100 and several other charts, including internationally in countries like Greece, Switzerland, and Austria.

Today, whether you’re in the Black community or not, if you’re a certain age, there’s a very good chance “In da Club” is on your birthday playlist.

Help With Your Birthday Message

Want to stand out from the others saying “Happy Birthday” or, if really creative, “Hope you have a Happy Birthday” on someone’s social media? You could add a birthday bitmoji! I personally prefer the unicorn one:

birthday greetings

If you don’t have that app, the Internet has your back. You can easily grab a birthday gif or meme from google. This is a fun one…

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Then there’s the need to draw attention to ourselves on our birthdays. But what is the perfect thing to say when posting our selfies? 

Seventeen magazine weighed in recently with a list of “35 Birthday Instagram Captions Perfect To Celebrate Your Big Day.” Some of my faves from the list included:

  • “Surround yourself with people who are more excited for your birthday than you are.”
  • “It’s not the years that count, it’s the memories you make over these years.”
  • “Hold on to your inner child as you grow older.”
  • “Live your life and forget your age.”
  • “This is my year of dreams coming true.”
  • “Birthdays are good for me. The more I have, the longer I live.”
  • “Of course, I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this age before!”

To me, some of Seventeen’s suggestions work better as a social media post you’d share with someone celebrating their birthday:

  • “It’s your birthday you don’t have to do nothin’.” – Destiny’s Child, ‘Birthday’
  • “Birthdays are nature’s way of telling you to eat more cake.” — Jo Brand
  • “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” Walt Disney
  • “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”Dr. Seuss

Still need some ideas? Try some birthday jokes. The ones I found on this site are pretty awful, but they sent me to this video with some funny ones:

birthday greetings

 

Birthdays Can’t Be A Problem!

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Growing up I remember enjoying logic puzzles. The kind where you would draw a grid of all of the people and one other attribute about them to, by process of elimination, determine the solution to the posed problem. Somehow, I am no longer any good at these puzzles. Or, they have become much more complicated (or maybe I don’t remember cheating?).

Recently though I came across a Birthday Problem in the Guardian:

“Ariel, Balthazar and Chastity are great mates, genius logicians and they always tell the truth. Neither Ariel nor Balthazar know the day or the month of Chastity’s birthday, so she decides to tell them in the following way:

First, she says out loud, so both Ariel and Balthazar can hear her: “The day (of the month) of my birthday is at most the number of the month of my birthday.”

Then she whispers the day to Ariel and the month to Balthazar

Ariel says “Balthazar cannot know Chastity’s birthday.”

Balthazar thinks a bit, then says: “Ariel also cannot know Chastity’s birthday.”

They carry on like this, each saying these exact same sentences in turn until Balthazar announces: “Both of us can now know what Chastity’s birthday is. Interestingly, that was the longest conversation like that we could have possibly had before both figuring it out.”

When is Chastity’s birthday?”

I read the first few lines and thought, “this one I can do.” She has to have been born by the 12th day of the December, right? Only that still leaves me with a whole lot of options and the remaining text of the clue did not help me at all!

How does their saying to one another that they “cannot know Chastity’s birthday” over and over again get us to the answer?! Argh. This is why my brother is the logician in the family (really, truly, he is) while I’m the one blogging about birthdays.

What about you? Did you figure it out? If not, the answer is provided here. Wish I could say it made me bang my head to my forehead and say “oh, of course! How could you miss that?!” But, no, I really must have been cheating to do well on these in the past.

This isn’t even the first birthday problem I’ve encountered. Seems wrong to me to make birthdays a skill-testing question.

 

Kids Share Birthday Love with Signing and Singing

My last blog gave two examples of birthday kindness from strangers to little boys. But this one is about kiddos returning the favor for an adult in their lives. And a teacher providing her students with a valuable lesson along the way.

A Tennessee kindergarten class learned how to sign Happy Birthday to surprise the hearing impaired school custodian with the birthday song.

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The custodian, identified by The Tennessean as James Anthony, immediately brought his hands to his head in disbelief, his mouth open in a stunned smile.

The cute video of the children singing and signing to a very shocked Mr. Anthony was posted on the school’s website.

Dozens commented on the video to wish a happy birthday to the custodian, who has served in the county for 20 years.

“Happiest of birthdays, Mr. James! You haven’t aged a bit,” wrote Elizabeth Fox. “What a blessing you have been to the students and staff of many Coffee County schools.”

“I am 34 years old and Mr James was my janitor at Hickerson as well!!!! GOD BLESS this wonderful man!!!!!!!!!!” Jordan Carter commented.

The teacher and students are pretty wonderful too for learning the signs to make this birthday message so special to him.