When I was younger, I looked forward to my birthday much as other kids do.
Birthdays are important when you're a kid. Not only are you another year older, but there are the presents. I don't know about you, but I didn't have that much disposable income. The yearly chance to have something that I'd been wanting was pretty great.
There was the occasional crap birthday; the year I turned twelve and got locked out of the house and had to spend the day in the garage, for example. I also remember sneaking upstairs in the middle of dinner for a little cry the year that everyone forgot and I got a jar of pickles and an A/C adapter that had obviously been picked up on the way home.
There were also the good birthdays, like the year I got to take a bunch of my friends out to dinner and my mum and dad gave us each ten dollars in quarters to play at the arcade.*
Then there are those milestone birthdays: Sixteen when you can drive,** eighteen when you can vote, nineteen when you can (legally) drink, twenty-five when you start to feel like a real grownup.
Once you get past those ones, there's not much left to look forward to, is there? I mean, you can (technically) already do whatever you want and all birthdays mean is that you're another year older.
Even the presents aren't that exciting anymore. Once you're a grownup, you have some income, which means you can buy yourself that thing you wanted, and you don't have to wait a whole stinkin' year.
Besides that, nobody seems to know what you want anymore. Most grownups don't have time to cut pictures out of catalogues and leave collages laying around with bits circled and arrows pointing to the really important bits.
I also like surprises, so telling someone that I'd like *insert cool present here* and then receiving it feels kind of... well, like I might as well have gone shopping myself. More importantly, my likes and dislikes don't change with the wind as they did when I was little, so I kind of feel like people ought to know what I'd like by now.
I have hit the age where birthdays are not so fun anymore. All I felt on my birthday this year was old. I didn't really feel like celebrating the fact that another year had slipped through my fingers while I was busy doing laundry.
Did I forget to mention it was my birthday? Yeah. It was. Last week. I had moderately high hopes, considering that it wouldn't be hard to have a better day than last year.
It was definitely better; for starters, no one hit me. I had a lovely little cake, my kids sang "Happy Birthday" and there were flowers. My siblings called, so did my parents. We had Chinese for dinner... it was nice.
I'll tell you about the weird present my husband got me next time.
*This was back when arcade games still cost a quarter or fifty cents to play.
**Unless, of course, you're like me.