birthday melancholy


It’s my birthday month. No, it doesn’t mean I celebrate myself for a whole 31 days. It just means my birthday lands on a day this month that is between 1 and 31 and can be equal to or greater than 1 or equal to or less than 31. 😉

As you can see from my photographic evidence, on my birthday this year my mom made me a birthday non-alcoholic beverage that was kind of like a virgin mojito. There is honey, mint and lemon in it and it is delicious. She also bought me a tiramisu cake. I got some ‘happy birthday’ texts/e-mails/birthday cards from a couple of friends/co-workers. Then I went out and redeemed my birthday freebies from Panera, B&B Theatres, and Sephora. Finally, I branded myself with a temporary tat just because. The free pastry I tried this year from Panera was the Bear Claw and I paired it with a caffè mocha. Both were fantastically yummy and bitter and sweet in all the right places at all the right times of consumption. No joke. I am looking forward to the day I get this combo again on a non-birthday day. I got to share my free large popcorn from B&B Theatres with my mom and she didn’t want any of the free soda, so I had a free large Dr. Pepper to myself. (In case you were wondering, I was not able to finish all of that soda.) At some point I will try my free birthday cream I got from Sephora. All in all, it was an enjoyable pandemic birthday.

BUT it also lead to my birthday melancholy. And I’m not talking about the virus. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m not the kind of person who absolutely has to have a birthday party with all that jazz. I’m simply making some observations about birthdays. Just want to make that clear. I do have a lot to be grateful for, but I went through my annual birthday melancholy because the last couple of years it has become a barometer for who are the friends in my life who truly care about me. The measurement was who would remember my birthday on their own and simply wish me a ‘happy birthday.’ It sounds stupid, but that was the only measurement, despite the fact that I know I have friends who are just bad at remembering birthdays, but have been there for me throughout the other days of the year.

What brought this melancholy on was Facebook. There’s an option on Facebook to put your birthdate and then on your birthday you would at least get a ton of messages pouring in from your Facebook friends due to the Facebook reminder. But I’m stubborn and chose not to follow the trend and so decided not to post my birthdate on my Facebook. My thought process is I don’t want to get ‘happy birthday’ messages on Facebook as a way for people to have a cheap reminder for when it is my birthday, therefore not “counting.” So when I get a text or e-mail instead, I’ll know this friend took the time to remember my birthday on their own or maybe they wrote it down somewhere on their personal calendar or something. The point is it’s more personal this way than Facebook. I know I’ll get a lot more birthday wishes if I put it on Facebook, but when I don’t without the Facebook reminder, that’s when the sadness sets in and turns into melancholy. I know it’s silly to feel this way, but that’s how I’ve been feeling every year on my birthday now.

It’s so weird because I look back on my past birthdays and I know I’m feeling this because I used to get several texts and even birthday hangouts where a group of us girls who all had birthdays in July would go out and do something fun together to celebrate. That was in my 20s. Before that I had birthday parties and birthday dinners with my closest friends. I guess in my head I start wondering what happened to those friends and those days. So this year I wanted to take a picture of everything I got to treat myself on my birthday and I got to thinking if I lose every single friend I ever have one day, at the very least I have a way I can celebrate on my own. Because no matter what, I will always support myself to live, to keep going, to keep trying to make sense of this crazy thing we call life, whether there’s a Facebook reminder for that or not.

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