Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why I'm Totally Over My Birthday This Year

It's not what you're thinking. I've completely come to terms with getting older. I still have five days left before I add another year to my age, but in my mind -- and occasionally out loud -- I started tacking it on several months ago.

No, I haven't completely lost what's left of my mind. It's just that somewhere around 35, I figured that if you give yourself enough time to get used to it, on the day you actually turn one year older, you won't feel so bad about being one year older, and you'll really have every reason to celebrate.

The problem is that this year I don't feel much like celebrating, and definitely not old-school Jeremy-style, which means with an abundance of booze and boys on the side. For anyone who knows me well, this might sound like a shocking development. For as long as I can remember, I've thrown massive birthday bashes for myself, and not just in years when I turned an age that ended in zero. For a while in my 20s, I was celebrating my entire birthday week. It's a testament to the great friends I have that some of them would actually show up for most of it. (Take a bow, Deirdre, and Dave!)

In my 30s, I whittled down the celebration to just one day, the day my birthday actually fell on. But by the end of the decade, planning my nights of debauchery was becoming as exhausting as the debauchery itself. I needed a break. Last year, I finally gave myself one. Thankfully, the guy I was dating at the time was there to pick up the slack and do everything for me. On the night before my birthday, he came over and cooked me a wonderful meal and spent most of the next day with me. The thought of going out and going crazy never crossed my mind -- and it was a Saturday night, peak party time in Melbourne!

This year, he's not around to prepare a fantastic dinner for two, and my birthday falls on a Monday, which might explain part of my reluctance to get into party mode. My friends back in the U.S. and in Buenos Aires are wondering what I have planned. They know me, so it's natural that they'd assume something big is in the works. But this year, I've got nothing.

I had a great birthday run, but at this point, the ones that don't end in zero, especially when the new age is an odd number near the beginning or end of a decade (The only thing scarier than turning 29, 31, 39, or 41 is turning 49 or 50, which I still have to look forward to!), are feeling more and more like any other day. I guess that's what happens when you've had so many of them. Oh, and there's the Monday thing. Is there a worse day on which to celebrate anything?

My friend Mara recently reminded me of one of the worst Monday night parties ever, which we went to together. It was a bash on the roof of the Hudson Hotel in New York City to celebrate Ananda Lewis's new talk show. The highlights were the view and Luther Vandross, who was there. (Now he's gone, as was Lewis's talk show one year later.) The date: September 10, 2001. You know what happened the next day, which, incidentally, was the day that my ex-boyfriend turned 28!

Of course, I could celebrate on the weekend, but I no longer see the point of celebrating one's birthday in the days leading up to it. The last thing I want is a weekend of fun followed by a Monday that's even more anti-climactic than usual because it's my birthday, and I'm supposed to be having even more fun that I did in the days before it. One of my friends here in Bangkok insists that I should celebrate on my birthday, business as usual. DJ Station is open every night of the week, and if anyone can make Monday night fun, I can, he says. It's not like I haven't done it before.

In the end, maybe I will, maybe I won't. Perhaps I'll even venture out this weekend for the first time in weeks. While I'm surprised by my lack of enthusiasm, I'm enjoying it, too. This might actually turn out to be my least stressful birthday ever. And who knows? Since my expectations are so low, it just might turn out to be my best one, too.
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