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!

birthdays

Image source

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.

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…

giphy.gif

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

 

At the Starting Line for My Birthday

 

birthday run

Image: foter.com

On the heels of my most recent birthday, I should share a change of heart. I have written in the past about people having gym birthday parties and about a man with a killer Crossfit workout he does on his birthday each year. Both of these I marveled at from a safe distance, confident I would not be hitting the gym on my big day….

Well, times have changed. This year I celebrated my birthday by getting out of bed to go for a run. A 5K race to be exact. The race, fortunately, started at 1130 a.m., so I didn’t have to give up sleeping in. Still, me being at the starting line of a race on my birthday represents a major shift in perspective.

Why? I wanted to do something to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle. I hope to incorporate that into my birthday routine from now on.

Birthday Sweets and Sweat

Sure, I started out the birthday weekend with a crepe from my favorite spot in Charlotte. And a bakery brownie my husband brought home. Plus a few ciders at my favorite Friday night music bingo event. But, in the midst of the sleeping in, sitting on my sofa reading, and a fine Italian dinner, I wanted to work in something that set me up positively for a fresh new year.

birthday run

As I age, and the people around me age, I am starting to actually understand the birthday as a day to make fresh promises to myself to do better and be more. If I want to keep on having birthdays, ones that I can enjoy on my terms, I need to do what I can now to stay in shape and be healthy.

The good news? Not only did I finish the race, but I actually achieved a personal best of 29:21. And, I’m not going to lie, having completed the race to start the day did help me justify the afternoon birthday cupcake in addition to the dinner chocolate mousse. If I’m only going to live once, I want to do it with fleet feet and a continued ability to enjoy sweets — even sometimes without moderation!

 

There’s a Wrong Way to Cut a Circular Cake?

I love cake, especially birthday cake. Really, I’m typically so focused on what kind of frosting was used (“please not fondant, please not fondant”) and what the inside is (“yeah chocolate!”) that cutting it correctly is the least of my concerns.

Yet I did recently come across an article suggesting I’ve been cutting circular cakes wrong all this time! Who knew?

Of course, it’s a mathematician who has chimed in with the best way to divide (or would it be bisect? That geometry term is springing up in my mind for some reason) a circular cake.

Going with small triangles is not the best plan, according to a YouTube video “The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake – Numberphile.” Drawing on a science magazine article from 1906, mathematician Alex Bellos suggests instead we should be cutting slabs directly down the middle to help preserve the cake longer.

So, you would start in the very middle of the cake and cut all the way through it from one edge to the other. Then you would do this again parallel to your first cut. Now, you have a slab from which to serve people.

You can then push the remaining sides of the cake back together with the exposed edges facing inwards for prolonged freshness.

There is even a suggestion of wrapping a rubber band around the cake. I don’t have the mental elasticity to see how this would work. Wouldn’t an elastic just cut into the cake itself? At least it would an iced cake rather than one enveloped in the aforementioned fondant (ugh).

The next time you cut into the cake you would repeat the two parallel slices across the cake’s center, then bring the now smaller cake back together again.

No matter the shape of the cake you’re sharing with humans, I’m guessing you will have an easier time of it than these pandas. Their birthday cakes are made of bamboo! Although, of course, they get to use their paws.

birthday cake

First Birthday as A Duchess

I enjoy keeping up with the British royals. Then, having watched Suits, seeing Meghan Markle join the fold was an added bonus!

Meghan Markle Birthday

Meghan’s first birthday as Duchess of Sussex this August prompted a great deal of media coverage. Some snippets:

  • She turned 37 this year on Aug. 4.
  • She spent the day at a friend’s wedding, where she had what was billed as a “wardrobe malfunction.” Stepping out of the car and waving she exposed a bit of a lacy bra and was later seen mingling with her shirt dress buttoned up a bit tighter.
  • As a Royal she is not allowed to have a big party. Only the reigning monarch gets the full fanfare (as the Queen did earlier this year).
  • She may also have to return gifts. Official guidelines read: “Gifts offered by private individuals living in the UK not personally known to the Member of the Royal Family should be refused where there are concerns about the propriety or motives of the donor or the gift itself.”
  • Prince Charless, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne, and Lady Amelia Windsor are four other Royals who celebrate August birthdays.
  • None of these Royals would get the first bite of their birthday cake if the Queen was in attendance — she gets dibs!

Harry and Meghan had to return a total £7million worth of presents following their wedding.

Birthday Wishes

These prohibitions may be a bit more challenging for Meghan than your average 37-year-old. The American-born actress, raised by a single Mom, has said her mother told her to treat her birthday as if it were her “own personal New Year.”

Back when she was blogging, she wrote that birthdays are “your own chance to make resolutions just for yourself and what you prognosticate for the year ahead” and told readers she always wished for “more inspiration.”

Another article gave us a fuller quote from the now defunct blog site, noting that she wishes for: “More surprises, more adventure, more opportunities to grow, more days filled with giggles and cheeky jokes, more delicious meals, and more inspiration. Always more inspiration.”

I was particularly happy to see the longer list! Makes me feel a bit better about all the wants I have on my own birthdays! I will also, in October this year, add to my list, wishing that I could be as flexible as she proves to be in this photo!

 

Birthdays Don’t Always Go as Planned

As a big fan of birthdays I tend to focus on the positives. Yet, I am not the ostrich bearing her head in the sand. I recognize not everyone has the same enthusiasm for their birthday. Yet someone over at Insider decided to actively seek out bad birthday experiences. They gathered 19 “worst birthday horror stories” from Reddit. I thought I’d share some of these “disastrous events.”

There’s the person who spent $300 on an expensive dinner and had his/her girlfriend break up with him on the drive home.

birthday disaster

foter.com

Or another individual whose girlfriend forgot his/her 19th birthday and made him/her wait in line for hours at her college bookstore before delaying his/her return home to the traditional birthday pizza dinner with his own parents.

But they’re both trumped in my mind by the writer who’s boyfriend left him/her at the bar on her birthday — without telling him/her he was leaving!  

There are also tales of surprise parties ruined. But the winner in that category is the one who was worried his wife’s “keeping secrets” meant she was cheating. She was in fact planning a party with several close friends not seen in years, but…she was also having an affair.

Injuries and Worse on Birthdays

Another writer received a physical hit instead of an emotional one. “On my 10th birthday, my mom got a piñata. My best friend was trying to hit the piñata, and on his backswing, he clocked me right in the forehead.” While friends rushed to the candy from the piñata opened on the friend’s forward swing, the birthday celebrant fell to the ground bleeding with a “huge gash” on his/her head. Five stitches in the hospital were needed.

birthday piñata

Image source: Foter.com

Someone else recalled a brother slamming his/her face into the cake, missing the cake, and instead bashing the seven-year-old’s face into the table. “I started crying and got blood all over my cake,” this person wrote. Oh, and, “this happened again when I was 9.” That’s the kicker for me. Really? Again!

A 16-year-old with whooping cough needed to be quarantined. But the parents apparently still wanted to celebrate, so they put the ill teen in the basement and party upstairs. The writer said, “they put a piece at the top of the stairs for me.”

Another writer’s Dad ran over the cat in the family driveway, in full sight of the birthday goer and his/her friends having picked them up from a movie for the sleepover portion of the party. Two of the friends saw the “pancaked” body before the father was able to “hide the body.” Let’s just agree those are three words you don’t want associated with your birthday. 

I’ve written before about death on birthdays, and read about people getting shot at birthday parties, but even still, I can’t agree with the article’s suggestion that their stories “will make you not want to celebrate.” I doubt anything has the power to make me not want to make a big deal of my birthday, and those of the ones I love.