The past two years I’ve taken the week of my birthday off. The whole week, plus Martin Luther King Jr Day. Comes to nine days off in the name of my birthday.
Some people may call this excessive. There are many loud folks who criticize people for celebrating their birthday week or birth month. And to them I bid a respectable fuck you. I spent too many years not celebrating my birthday, and not because I dreaded getting older like so many women.
Part of my not celebrating comes from having a birthday close enough to the holidays that people are fatigued of celebrations by the time they get to the anniversary of my birth. They are partied out. And I can relate. I’m usually at the end of my of my holiday rope by then, too. But still. It’s my birthday.
Another part comes from the fact that several of my “big” birthdays -sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one- were rendered insignificant for one reason or another. There were a couple of times that my birthday was used as an excuse to get together only to have that gathering have nothing to do with me. Clearly just an excuse…or worse, an after thought. This string of disappointments hurt. I’m not going to lie. To prevent myself from experiencing that disappointment again, I became one of those people who didn’t like my birthday.
My birthday? Pfft. No big deal. It’s nothing. Just another day. I didn’t do anything for my birthday outside of any sort of family celebration that might be happening. I rarely made plans. It got to a point where I didn’t expect anything, not even from myself.
However, I was not meant to be a person who hated their birthday. I have far too much ego for that. And over the years my intent to not celebrate became me celebrating for myself. It was my special day, even if it was a secret. Even if I was the only one who did any celebrating.
Sometimes I’d do things with my friends, but many times I was alone. Hell, for my 40th I ended up going by myself to see Knives Out. Coincidentally, that was the last time I went to a movie theater.
My 40th landed on a Sunday and I had planned to take the weekend off for it, but wasn’t able to.
I fixed that for 41. I took the whole week off and was gifted with the King holiday as a bonus. One of my coworkers asked me what I was doing for my birthday, thinking I was taking a trip. In the middle of a pandemic, not so much. So, I told her I was doing whatever I wanted. And I could tell that she thought a week off for my birthday was a bit much. Particularly for a lowly part-timer. Tough shit.
This year I had planned to take a trip for the week of 42, but it didn’t work out because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.
But it was still my birthday.
So, last week, I was off work and I did whatever I wanted.
And I’ll do the same thing next year, too.