Sometimes, I wish I were the type of woman who loudly and shamelessly announced to the world when it was her birthday. The type of woman who threw herself lavish birthday bashes that got bigger and better with each year. Sometimes, I wish I had the money and the gall to throw caution to the wind and say f*ck those bills, to take a week off work to go someplace tropical and sink my feet into the warm sand and guzzle endless daiquiris just because it’s my damn birthday.
But alas, that woman I am not and that kind of money I do not possess. Perhaps if I were that type of woman with that kind of money, I wouldn’t have spent my 27th birthday at work. Yes, you read right: I spent my birthday working.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad day at all. I actually had a great day at work. While I’m still in the process of acclimating to the corporate environment, figuring out my coworkers’ personalities, and trying to find out where I fit in, I have to say that much of the self-doubt I experienced the first two weeks on the job has somewhat subsided. In fact, it wasn’t until coworkers started inquiring about what I was getting into after work that I started to feel a certain type of way about my lack of birthday plans.
“You going out to shake a tail feather for your birthday, An’Drea?” my supervisor asked jokingly.
I let out a light chuckle and answered, “Nah, I won’t be shaking a tail feather tonight.”
“Really?! No birthday plans?” he asked again with an eyebrow raised and a hint of disbelief in his tone.
“Nope. But I never really do anything special for my birthday,” I told him.
His brow relaxed a little and he responded, “Well, I don’t blame you. I usually spend my birthday on the couch watching old Westerns.”
We both laughed.
To offer you some context: my supervisor is a 40-something year old man with a wife and kids. He’s lived. He’s seen stuff. He’s done stuff. Which is why I’m sure he enjoys, and probably even prefers to stay home and take in a marathon of old Westerns on his birthday rather than making extravagant birthday plans. I, on the other hand, am a twenty-something millennial who currently has the luxury of not being tethered to a man or responsible for a child, and still, for some reason, I don’t do anything particularly fun on my birthday.
No memorable birthday trips to Las Vegas or Miami with my girls filled with drunken adventures and pictures that are way too scandalous to share on Facebook.
No birthday dinner parties at a swanky restaurants that serve refined food and expensive wine and requires guests to show up in their Sunday best.
No amazing, mind-blowing, sheet-gripping birthday sex that leaves me impatiently waiting until the next time.
At least not yet.
Last Tuesday, January 10th, my birthday, felt like any other day for me. I went to work and did my job. While at work, I managed to sneak downstairs to Starbucks for a few minutes to claim my free beverage (an iced caramel macchiato with extra caramel). After work, my sister and I went to Longhorn Steakhouse. There, we indulged in piña coladas and stuffed our mouths with appetizers while swapping details about our day between bites of food and gluttonous sips of our drinks. When I got home from dinner later that evening, my mom wrapped me into a tight embrace, wished me a happy birthday, and presented me with the customary yellow box cake topped with chocolate frosting that she bakes for each of her children on our birthday (bless her benevolent heart). After chatting with her for a few minutes, I went to my room to undress and saw that my Nana had come by earlier and left a birthday card and gift for me.
And that was my 27th birthday in a nutshell.
People say it’s the little things that count. The small joys of life. The sh*t money can’t buy that makes life a bit sweeter. And I get that. I really do. But, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that the older I get, the more I secretly yearn to experience just one birthday that doesn’t feel like an ordinary day. I long for the birthday that involves some pomp and circumstance, some thrill and excitement, some extraordinariness. A birthday that’s unforgettable; that’s almost too good to be true.
For the better part of my twenties, I’ve spent my birthdays doing nothing out of the ordinary. No elaborate celebrations, brunches, dinners, or excursions.
As I creep closer to my thirties and reflect on the past 26 years of my life, I realize that I want to change that. I have to change that. I believe that it’s not too late for me to become the woman I described earlier. The woman who thinks so highly of herself that she broadcasts to the world when it’s her birthday, and plans extravagant parties for herself, and treats herself to luxurious spa days and vacations—no matter how self-indulgent and obnoxious she may look while doing so.
And I’ve decided that that is the woman I want to be by the time my 28th birthday rolls around next year.
After all, isn’t that what getting older is all about?
Doing more of what you want and giving fewer f*cks about what people think?