Sunday, October 19, 2008

Birthday's - Part 1

We either love them or we hate them, but we all have them.

Most people tend to keep their B-days low key with a small get-together of friends or family. A few gifts and a cake for dessert. Others take it a little more seriously. I know of one person whose whole family gets into the act for every B-day. They have what they call the birthday octave - 8 days of get-togethers. That way the person can have special gatherings with all the important people in their lives over a few days.

I recently saw a segment on TV about a woman who spent $12,000.00 on her daughters FIRST birthday! She invited all the relatives, neighbours and friends. There were clowns, face painting, petting zoo, fire trucks and one of those blown up bouncy things that kids love to play in. The kid is only one and won't remember a thing about it but they took lots of pictures and everybody else had fun!

Well for that much money I should hope they had fun! That is more money than I get in a whole year!! The question is, how are they possibly going to top themselves and is the kid going to expect such extravagances every year? Talk about unrealistic expectation!

The young look forward to B-days, not just for the presents, but also for the new freedoms and experiences that each year brings. 13 is a biggie as it is the beginning of the teens and being a young adult. 16 usually brings the freedom to get a drivers licence. At 18 you get the right to vote. Depending on where you live you get the legal right to drink somewhere between 18 and 21. After that the big ones are 25, 30, 40 etc.

For many people 39 is a biggie - as it the end of the thirties and the beginning of what many consider to be middle age. Some quit counting after 39 and instead say their age is "39 and holding", "Plenty-nine" or the anniversary of their 39th Birthday!

Fifty can be terrifying - after all that means you've been kicking around for half a century. 100 years ago that was considered to be quite old and nearing the end of life. Today some people live to be over a hundred!

I've never really understood the fascination with celebrating birthdays - especially the people that think that because they love B-days everyone else does too. Then they get really offended when you don't share their enthusiasm. People really need to listen to other people and even ask how they feel about those kind of occasions and how the person really wants to recognize the day - if they want to at all.

This is how I see it; If you knew someone was Jewish or Muslim and therefore did not celebrate Christmas, would you deliberately send a Christmas card or call to wish them a "Merry Christmas"? No, because that would be inappropriate and imposing your values/beliefs on them. Well the same applies to B-days. If the person chooses to keep it low key or ignore it - then respect that choice. Not everyone wants a party - especially a surprise one.

Same goes for cards. Not everyone likes sappy/sentimental cards. If you aren't sure try and find something very simple. If the person has a sense of humour find a funny card. Personally I can find something appropriate for almost anyone within the "Hallmark Shoebox Collection". If you still feel like being sentimental - then do us all a favour and write it from the heart - don't hide behind someone else's sentiments.

For the record, I've never been a big fan of birthdays - well at least of my birthdays! I'll gladly help my friends and family celebrate their special day, I'm just not crazy about mine. It's not that I haven't tried to celebrate it - I have - but they all pretty much turn out to be days I'd rather forget. I generally have pretty decent luck - except for the anniversary of the day I was born!

Earlier this year a number of friends on the Y&R Wiki were sharing birth dates. They weren't too happy that I wouldn't share mine, but when I explained my B-day luck they pretty much backed off - although they did say that this would be different. Maybe it would, but I've been hurt too many times to even think about going there.

You think I'm joking about bad luck on my B-day? I'll share some of those "fun" birthday memories tomorrow....


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