Thursday, February 21, 2019

Birthday Musings

I didn't go into work today.  I thought that I'd trial a three day week by taking Thursday off as well as my now customary non-working Friday.  Actually, I took today off as it was my birthday.  Not that I ever do anything on my birthday - today I ended up watching some old westerns on TV and a favourite Jean-Paul Belmondo movie on DVD - but I just didn't want to spend the day doing all the usual shitty things I usually do at work.  I'm probably meeting a friend for a pint later on, but, in truth, we would both have been in the pub on a Thursday evening anyway.  It's funny how, when you are younger, birthdays seem to be the be all and end all of your year - they're like Christmas except that they are entirely about you.  At least, that's the way it feels when you are a kid.  But the novelty wears off as you get older - I remember that one of the things I got fed up with was that if you had a birthday party, you always ended up being forced by parents to invite various kids that you didn't actually like.  It also meant that you had to reciprocate by going to their birthday parties.  Being anti-social, even at a tender age, I quickly found this whole children's birthday party scene intolerable.

As an adult, I've found birthdays ever more unimportant.  Of course, there comes a point when we don't want to be reminded of the encroaching years.  I know that some people like to celebrate what they see as 'milestone' birthdays, like thirty, forty or fifty, but I've never bothered.  It has got to the stage where I simply don't tell people when my birthday is - nobody at work, for instance, knows why I took today off.  That said, I used to get mildly irritated by friends who didn't remember my birthday, especially if I'd remembered theirs, but now I'm relieved if they forget.  So far this year, outside of family, nobody has remembered.  Which means much less fuss and nonsense, the feeling that everyone is somehow obliged to meet up and mark the occasion somehow.  It also means that I won't feel guilty about not remembering their birthdays.  (I don't remember most of my siblings birthdays, let alone friends, to be frank.  I do remember my two eldest great nieces, the months of their birthdays at least - I have to be reminded of the exact days by my mother).  The curious thing is though, that there seems to come a point where people get old enough that they like to start celebrating having survived to great age.  I have an aunt, for instance, who will be marking her century next birthday.  Does the Queen still send centenarians telegrams?  Do telegrams still exist?  Will she get a text message instead?  Who knows. I do know, however, that I've managed to get trough another birthday with minimal fuss.  Thank goodness.



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