Every year-around mid of February, weeks after all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and new year festivities have gone, I begin having birthday anxiety that lasts over the next several months through May. It's a silly pathology triggered by childhood memories. When in high school, It seemed that all the other parents made arrangements to showcase a sweet sixteen party. These were extravaganzas to showcase beloved spoiled daughters a full day to star in a dedicated spotlight of preemptive adulthood. Not I. The pressure of not having a coming out party haunted me thereafter.
It was my twenty-second birthday, and a year had gone by that I realized I missed out on another special celebration to mark reaching the legal age of twenty-one. Anxiety began again. My fear was that this was the beginning trend of horrors in not ever having a grand celebration. The anxiety went away for seven years and returned when I turned twenty-nine and since repeats every ten years.
What's so 'happy' about birthdays anyway? It is simply a redundant statement thrown onto a card with multiple colors of ink, thousands' stamped and pressed after killing a tree and all this to say, 'Happy Birthday?' Not all birthdays are so happy; there are those you remember and some you want to forget. Age 3 and 93, the celebration is not for you but for the adults needing an excuse to party. Everything in between is a roller coaster of highs and lows.
The term is a trillion-dollar business, and that has certainly made someone happy or just filthy rich. But why can't the adjective be something else other than 'happy' like merry or joyful; fluffy or funky; gay, artsy or fartsy? Why does 'happy' have to describe a birthday when a happiness is subjective, or is it? I’m surprised Kris Jenner or Kim has not attempted to copyright the phrase. Some people just have to have everything!
Another year of fantasizing about the big celebration and still no surprise party for me, not even a mini celebration. And as I do every year, I will be content with a few, cheap and free acknowledges through social media and the ones that come in an envelope on the remnants of multi-colored dead trees, and I can count on one hand. At least, someone bothered to buy a stamp. Now that I am done with toiling and ranting over what makes birthdays so happy I cannot complain with yet another year, and that is reason enough to be happy. Besides, I'm not trying to draw attention to growing older. By the way, to those who sent me a happy birthday greeting - thank you very much. Anyway, Happy Birthday to me.