Today I was sorely disappointed to find out one of my friends doesn’t want to celebrate his birthday at all. I have to say, it’s hard for me to understand. Though I think I’ve gone through phases where I say I don’t care about my birthday, it is absolutely untrue. I practically start counting down months in advance. Even if I have to make my own birthday plans or cake, I’m utterly happy.
It isn’t so much the day itself that I care about. Since childhood I’ve said that, because my birthday is on the first day of July, I own the whole month.* All this means, in my mind, is that I can celebrate my birthday at any time within the month (occasionally, many times within the month) of July and it still counts as my birthday. Most years, I do end up celebrating my birthday on a day other than July 1st (considering that my birthday is close to a national holiday and in the summer, it really make a sort of sense that I would have a floating birthday contingent on when my friends and family are able to celebrate). What counts is not the day, it’s the celebrations.
Though there are many many things I could list off about birthdays that I love, and many reasons why it’s the holiday I care most about, I’ll stick to giving you just one now. In my mind, birthday memories are like an album of all my most meaningful and enjoyable friendships of past and present. Having moved around a lot, having many disconnected friendships (I’ve never been that person who has a very solid group of friends, instead just tons of one-on-one relationships) and not being prone to take many actual pictures, it’s nice to so easily be able to bring to mind all of these invaluable relationships simply by thinking back on my birthday celebrations. It is also one of the very few occasions when I’m able to bring together my friends. If I don’t get to see them all together, than I usually end up packing multiple dates with friends into one day or two.
I must admit, I’ve been dying to start talking about this coming birthday for a while. I know. I know. It’s only April. But my college roommate of three years (who happens to also be one of my best friends) Nichelle and I have been discussing this birthday for over a year now. We both have birthdays in July and we’ve had our hearts set on celebrating entering our mid-twenties together. But since she lives in New Mexico and I’m currently in Michigan we’ve had to do some planning. My life being so up in the air has it almost impossible to settle on a plan. And Nichelle has to plan.** Finally, at the beginning of this month, she made a decision. She booked a flight to Michigan. We’re going to spend a weekend together, hopefully with a few other friends too, celebrating. Then she’s going to stick around for a few weeks.
Considering that Nichelle wont be arriving until the middle of my month, I’m sure I’m going to end up having a few more birthday celebrations with other friends and with my family. It’s hard not to count down til July this year as I feel this birthday is going to leave me with an especially beautiful page in my internal album.
What about you? How do you feel about birthdays? What’s your favorite birthday memory?
*Before those of you with July birthdays decide to argue with me, please keep these things in mind: 1/ My ownership of the month in no way infringes upon your privilege to it. 2/I came up with this as a child so I realize the logic isn’t entirely sound. 3/If I’ve been holding onto it this long, despite all reason, than you can conclude that no reasoning is going to sway my resolve.
**The first year I was living in New York City, Nichelle called me around the beginning of spring semester and mentioned me she was thinking of spending her spring break with me THE NEXT YEAR. To which I, of course, loudly protested with a “But I’m lonely this year! I need you now! Not in a year.” I did get my way, but that shows you how far ahead she prefers to plan.