Birthday Blues

Everyone responds to their birthday a little differently. I’m on the side that prefers complete anonymity at all times and can’t stand the attention and hoopla of a birthday celebration. I tried to break myself of this for my 24th birthday and I kid you not the majority of the time I felt physically sick to my stomach. For me there’s a lot of anxiety that most don’t seem to experience. Throw in some truly disastrous birthday celebrations and I say thanks but no thanks. It’s not about getting old but it can be about having that silly checklist in my head (probably from when I was 14 and knew nothing about life) of all of the things I was meant to accomplish by this point. And thanks to social media sites like Facebook it takes 3 seconds to see all of the people who have checked things off their lists and might thus be seemingly farther along in “life’s journey”. Thus when a pal gets sad/reflective during her birthday I get it.

Some helpful tips that I’ve come up with so far:

  • Be honest with your friends. Everyone has that friend who says no I don’t want anything but secretly is hoping that you plan a big surprise blow out. Be clear that this is not you and that you genuinely want to be left alone. If your friends are looking pitiful about this make plans to go out the week later for something fun. Then you’re going out and having a fun time in a non-b-day capacity. You’re not saying you don’t want to hang out with them; just you don’t want to hang out with them today.
  • Prep your living partner. Same as the friends but maybe give them a more thorough understanding of what you want your b-day to look like. If your idea of the perfect b-day is watching movies with a bottle of wine and some dark chocolate than explain that. Explain that you might cry or flip out so they’re as prepared as possible. They live with you and have no way to escape so be a pal and let them know when they need to baton down the hatches.
  • Set a limit. This is a good tip for any situation where wallowing is involved. Crying can be cathartic. Taking some time to just weep is fine but this should not last for more than a day. You can’t have the birthday blues for the week prior or the week after or the whole month. Go big or go home so you need to get it all out of your system so that the day after, you face the day fresh.
  • No FACEBOOK! Don’t kid yourself you can’t handle it. You’re in a fragile state and seeing Sue Cranston from high school having her 2nd baby with her husband on the farm that they bought 5 years ago will send you over the cliff. One click later you see your ex who is now dating a model. Two clicks after that you have gone into a full tailspin with no hope for recovery. While I said crying is cathartic, going on social media sites is just plan masochistic. Before the big day be honest with yourself and if you have to hide your laptop or ipad and remove the Facebook app from your phone. You can add them back the following day. One day away won’t kill you.
  • Call your mom and thank her. I don’t care what the relationship is with your mom currently but many years ago on this very day she was shoving a watermelon sized baby out of her and it hurt like a bitch so the least you can do is give her a call. Try to do this either the night before or early in the morning before full blown sobbing has begun.

You might notice that this post isn’t a cure but more of a long term treatment plan. Sometimes this is just how people work through their stress and emotions so you just need to let them work through it the best way they know how.¬†

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