Since today is my birthday, no happy birthdays needed, I figure as with all other holidays or holiday type celebrations, I’d question why we do it. Before all that, why am I kinda hating on birthdays?
The sentiment of holidays don’t bother me exactly, it’s the generic, robotic, auto obligatory, and consumeristic parts of it that does. For example, you might not care it’s my birthday, but you somehow might have felt the desire to spew “happy birthday” compulsively and/or experienced some guilt for not wanting to say it. Is that just me? Another example: you don’t like Thanksgiving but your family and friends do. They don’t want to respect your lack of desire to participate, but you’re expected to show up for the majority and dish out thanks over your helping of turkey.
I’d like to (somewhat humorously) coin holiday/celebration shaming. It’s seen as negative if you don’t want to participate (or make a post about it), but I find it generally appears negative because not only do you have to explain yourself, you must also defend your minority position. In a world of so much being labeled problematic, it’s good to remember you can both address something you don’t like and it not be a negative thing.
The other part I don’t fancy about celebrations is the consumerism. A lot of people go broke trying to get everyone a Christmas present. Why are we more okay with people falling into hardship to keep up pretenses than talking about hardship? I always prefer to give gifts when I see something the person might like in the moment rather than wait for the designated present giving day. In the next moment we then hate on corporations and consumerism whilst fueling it every holiday.
Happy Born Day
My favorite birthday was being surprised at work. Yes, despite my opinion, I’ve enjoyed a few of these. I had just started working there and knew no one, so it felt really good to be remembered with decorations and cake. I was about 24 or something and they had a tradition where you list 24 (or whatever age you are) things about yourself you like/love. I got stomped around 10 and I’ll never forget how sad that was, but it made me rethink birthdays. I started to see it as a day to reflect and to make sure I could list x-amount of things I loved about myself. It became less about being acknowledged by others and more about seeing myself.
I don’t usually tell people happy birthday, except sometimes kids because guilt. (Now that I have a child, it’s gonna be… interesting.) These days I just tell people “I’m glad you were born”. I want to add a reason why from now on because that feels more authentic for me.
And Now, Birthdays, a History
The origin of birthdays is not an obvious one. According to a HuffPost, when pharaohs were crowned around 3000 BCE, they were considered re-“birth” as gods on their coronation date. In tribute to Artemis, the Greeks offered her moon shaped cakes adorned with candles to signify her illuminating beauty. The Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the ordinary men (not women who were then acknowledged by the 12th century) along with a special cake. Christians thought birthday celebrations were pagan initially but we all know about Christmas. In Germany, they invented modern day cakes and candles and initially it was just about honoring a child’s first birthday. Then the industrial revolution made it easier to get cake ingredients and bakers baked their hearts out. Finally in 1924, a song was remixed into the well known birthday song. That’s why we do what we do y’all!
30 Things I Love About Me
I’m not going to have you read through 30 things about me, haha. I will share a few things from my list I’m proud of:
- Maintaining my blog
- Experiencing pregnancy, birth, and being a mom
- Developing myself spiritually
- Being more authentic
- Being a good partner
And yes, I’m 30! I’ve been looking forward to being thirty for years and I’m not sure why except maybe I feel my 30s will be my prime years. If you do feel genuinely compelled to say “happy birthday”, I’m not against it. I appreciate the time it takes to slide into my DMs regardless. I’m glad you were born, too!