Gifts Simply for Continuing to Breathe?  Really?

Gifts Simply for Continuing to Breathe? Really?

happy birthday cakeMy birthday was this week.  I turned a whopping 38 years old.

To some of you this will seem young and to others ancient.  I guess it depends on which end of the aging timeline from which you are viewing it.

For me, it doesn’t feel like either.  It’s not really all that young and it’s not really all that old either.  Just pretty much right in the middle.  I suppose that’s where middle-aged comes from.   Impressive powers of observation I have, huh!

Beyond a momentary snort at how observant I am, I’m having a bad case of the birthday blues this year.  Not like I want to hide my head under a rock and pretend I’m not aging, but more of the – Yeah, it’s my birthday.  So?

I mean it’s not like it means anything.  It’s not a fun age like:

  • 16 – getting to drive
  • 18 – getting to go to clubs
  • 21 – getting to drink

Hell, it’s not even 25 when I could rent a car without paying through the nose – lame perk, but still a perk.  Now those ages are the ones my stepsons are looking forward to.  They are 15 and 17 – right at the beginning of all the fun birthdays.  Me?  I’m too old for any fun stuff.

What’s the next good birthday for me?

  • 55 – when I get an AARP membership?

Yeah, not really a winner there.  Sorry, AARP.

I realized that I’ve been bah hum bug about my birthday for a while now.  Not depressed, not upset I’m aging, just blah.  Although I like getting gifts, I also feel like I don’t deserve them.  It’s not like I did anything special.  What?  Here’s a gift for continuing to breathe for another year?

When I passed my Professional Engineer license exam – that’s worth celebrating.

When I got my business launched and cashed my first client’s check – definitely worth celebrating.

Even when I donated my last pint of blood to hit X number of gallons donated.  That’s worth celebrating.

But, breathing?

Really there’s not much to it.  My brain pretty much makes sure it happens whether I think about it or not.

As I hit the far end of the aging timeline I agree that continuing to breathe is an accomplishment.  One definitely worth celebrating.  Hell, I outlasted my arch nemesis from high school so and so, bring on the presents!   But at 38, continuing to breathe just really doesn’t seem that impressive.

Anyway, I will be gracious and accept my gifts with thanks.  I will smile and enjoy lunch and the drawings my kids made for me – because that is what’s expected.  But I really don’t think I did anything noteworthy to deserve gifts and calls and fabulous wall posts on my Facebook page.

Is it just me?



16 Responses to Gifts Simply for Continuing to Breathe? Really?

  1. It’s totally not you. I turned 31 in September and I spent the night working on a TV special. I didn’t even tell the people I was working with. When we finally got done around 11pm I stopped at bar for drink and that was it. Depressing? To some, maybe. But, I’m just not jazzed about my birthday anymore. Even last year when I turned 30, I felt the same way.

    Hope you have a happy birthday :)

    • Well, happy birthday to you too Michelle! I’m not anti birthday by any means, just not really feeling jazzed about it. When people wish me a happy birthday, it makes me happy because it just means they like me and want to acknowledge that, but I definitely am not telling people or expecting anything. I DID get a label maker which I’ve wanted, so woohoo! But beyond my glass of wine and a bday brownie, I’m pretty much over it. Thanks for letting me know it’s not just me!

  2. I felt like this too when I was in my 30s. I just recently turned 40 and that does seem to be a big one. Like when I went to the doctor and they asked me about mammograms. I’m not old enough…oh wait yes I am.

    Making a big deal about your birthday may not be at the forefront of your goals, but you should celebrate breathing and surviving another year. That is a big accomplishment in the world we live in.

    Great seeing you last night!

    • I had a lot of fun last night Susan. Thanks! And I guess I’m one step ahead of you since I had my first mammogram this Spring :) Colonoscopy is NOT one I”m looking forward to!

  3. I love birthdays.

    I love my mom’s, my dad’s, my kids’, my husband’s, and yep, mine!

    There was a time, probably in my late-20s/early-30s where I thought it was a little unseemly to get excited about buttercream frosting and candles. I’m 40 and I’ve learned that life is hard, demanding, stressful, but beautiful. So beautiful. That trip around the sun needs to be marked. It matters. Kids instinctively understand this. It is a big deal to move up. I love birthdays. Bring them on!

    • Totally agree with you Gretchen (Seriously… I think I am related to you somehow :) )

      I celebrate big for all my kids birthdays, even for Dave’s. Every year I try to come up with cool ways to celebrate his birthday because every single one is special.

      I realized this when I was a single mom of 6 kids. No one was going to make a big deal out of holidays, etc for me.. I had to do it myself, so I made a point to find every one of them special. So every year, when I go and get my mammogram (been doing it since I was 35) I make sure to breath a sigh of relief that I get another year with the people I love without fear of cancer, etc.

      So… make yourself a HUGE cake, grab a drink, cry, laugh, hug, annoy.. do whatever you need, but make sure you remember that YOU made someone smile today!

  4. Happy Birthday!

    Age is just a number and the pressure to feel something at your birthday always reminds me of New Year’s Eve. It’s just another day, but we all add so much meaning to it. I think you are “young,” but you’re right, that’s because of where I am on the time continuum.

    But today, I found this meditation and I thought of you! ( I am not sure if you will have access, but it’s from the Chopra Center and I think you might have to sign up for the 21-day Meditation Challenge (which I highly recommend). This very short (about 10 minutes) meditation walks you through a gratitude meditation and part of it talks to being grateful for your breath! It’s something we all take for granted (until you have an illness that keeps you from breathing easily).

    My Dad always says you should learn to love your birthday, because the longer you live, the more you have!
    Enjoy! xoxo

    • Thanks Mary Lee! Your Dad’s advice is a good one. I definitely will take a birthday over the alternative for sure! I’ll check out the meditation too…

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