My birthday is mine – why i don’t want to celebrate it

My birthday is mine – but celebrate without me!

Just as some people gather under Grandma Helga’s Christmas tree every year, a pack of people invades my apartment one day in January every year and leaves chaos behind when they leave. They are nice people, that much has to be said, otherwise I wouldn’t see them as my friends. However, they have a problem: They are completely used to the fact that I celebrate my birthday with them year after year. Ever since this constellation of friends has existed – more than ten years, after all. The problem: this time I didn’t feel like it – and almost started the third world war. Kim Jong-un can still learn from me.

If anyone here now wants to ask why I want to break with this nice tradition, which I myself am not entirely innocent of: I don’t know. I’ve always enjoyed celebrating birthdays with friends, but this year, the thought of party planning and catering somehow triggers a skin rash in me. Maybe because neither a schnapps number nor a round birthday is pending. Maybe also because I simply don’t feel like serving other people on my birthday and washing mountains of dishes alone for an hour the next day, because I don’t have a dishwasher. But one way or another: This should not be a problem, I thought, after all, my friends alone have already skipped their birthdays one or the other time – which I myself find absolutely okay.

"How, you do not celebrate?"

I was taught better. The first girlfriend, who I told about my decision a month before, stared at me with wide eyes and asked me indignantly if I was being serious. That does not go nevertheless, after all I had celebrated so far nevertheless always. Just like you can’t change a workflow, simply because you’ve always done it that way (doesn’t everyone know a colleague like this??).

Somewhat irritated by the surprisingly violent reaction, I explained that I just didn’t feel like partying. Instead, I resolved to bake my own birthday cake for the first time this year and enjoy it together with my family. I think the cake is enough birthday effort – unfortunately my girlfriend didn’t want to see it that way. We discussed it for quite a while and in the end I broke off the topic exasperatedly.

Tear-jerking – but not from the birthday girl

But she wasn’t the only one who seemed to be completely thrown off track by my decision. Shortly after Christmas I got a voicemail from another friend who was almost sobbing. For her birthday, she had received a ticket for a show that was supposed to take place on my birthday weekend of all days. Short version: She is terribly sorry, feels completely torn apart and doesn’t know what to do now. On my answer that I don’t celebrate anyway and that she should enjoy the show, she almost forgot to continue sobbing because of her irritation.

I must be sick

And one last case: My oldest friend asked me only about a week before my birthday what would be coming up now. On my answer she wrote me then still another private message and asked whether then everything is all right with me. Which I’m sure was meant nicely, but above all it showed me once and for all how right it is to simply let tradition be tradition for a change.

For I am neither ill, nor mentally deranged, nor on the verge of depression. I just think it sucks to take things for granted that are nice but make work for others. And because on my birthday I simply want to decide for myself how I spend it. So I stick to my decision and concentrate on my first cake this year. After that I will probably have to wash dishes for an hour – but at least I will be damn proud of myself.

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