All I Want For My Birthday Is…

The end of this month will be my 33rd birthday. Thirty-three! Like the Smashing Pumpkins song!

I have found that, as I’ve gotten older, my expectations for birthdays have gotten lower. Which is a good thing, because you know that song, It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to)?? That was every birthday for me, growing up.

There’s a photo from my twelfth(?) thirteenth(?) birthday that I can see clearly in my mind’s eye. I’ll spare you the image of me trying to awkwardly grow out my bangs (bad decision) and my “extra-large t-shirt” phase which lasted for a decade and only gradually ended in college (truth) to explain why this picture sticks out in my mind:

I’m posing behind my birthday cake, with a forced smile quavering across my lips, and my eyes are swollen and red from crying. Why was I crying, even? I was twelve (or thirteen). But even then, I think, the burden of getting older brought up all of my feelings.

Birthdays have a way of putting a spotlight on your life, drawing into focus all those questions like: what have I done? What am I doing? Am I happy?

I’ve had twenty-or-so birthdays since that one (woah). I mean, woah! In case you’re wondering, yes, it took me almost all of those years to “figure it out.” And by “it,” I mean “birthdays”.

I’ve stopped putting all of my hopes and dreams into the ever-increasing number of candles to blow out on the cake. There’s a lot of pressure on birthdays! Pressure to be FUN! To be MEANINGFUL! To have all of your dreams come true! To be sitting on the table cross-legged gazing into the eyes of the dreamy Jake Ryan who finally notices you after you have been secretly pining for him for so long…!

 

Well, I’m sure you don’t need me OR Molly Ringwald to tell you that birthdays don’t ever turn out the way you plan them to.

There’s really only ONE THING I can count on happening on my birthday, and that’s –well, besides getting older — okay, TWO THINGS…one, that I will get older and as a direct result, when I get carded buying alcohol I will forget my actual age and tell them I’m however old I am, minus one or two years, and the cashier will look at me like my ID is a fake. Because, in their mind, who forgets their age? But come on, people! It’s not like I’m the first one! If you’ve ever written a check with the previous year’s date in February you can’t say boo about this. It’s easy to forget the passage of time when it happens so FAST!

And the SECOND THING I can count on is that my dad will call me and sing and/or play The Beatles’ Birthday onto my voicemail.

HI DAD! THANKS FOR READING! LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS!

Thus, I have learned to keep my birthday expectations very low. I don’t ask for gifts. What I want is experiences. And I’ve decided I know exactly what I want for my birthday this year.   For my birthday….

*drumroll kicks in*

….this year… *drumroll intensifies*

…all I want… *drummroll ends with a flourish of cymbals*

…. is to be handed a cold glass of champagne.

THAT’S IT. I want to be delightfully caught off-guard by a cold flute of sparkling Moët thrust in my direction.

“Oh!” I’ll gasp charmingly, with daintily posed hand over my heart. “Thank you!”, I will whisper breathily, as if I never expected to be granted such an honor. I’ll feign surprise if I have to! And look! It doesn’t even have to be expensive champagne!

The key here is, somebody else has to hand it to me. I DON’T WANT TO POUR IT MYSELF! That defeats the whole point! I am a classy ***older*** lady, and on my BIRTHDAY!, I demand to be treated as such!

*pants, sweats, catches her breath and continues*

I guess the idea came to me when I was on my most recent menstrual period; I started watching The Real Housewives of New York City. Everywhere these women went, they’d get handed a glass of champagne. Sitting in the hairdresser’s chair — CHAMPAGNE! Walking into an art gallery — CHAMPAGNE! Stepping out of a limo — CHAMPAGNE!

It’s like that Police song Every Breath You Take except instead of stalking her, he’s handing her champagne.  Or handing her champagne in addition to stalking her.

I’m very impressionable. And when I saw these women swanning through life with a classy beverage in their hands, the image shot into my retinas like a harpoon and skewered something deep and primal within me. A desire to be fancy! 

It’s a tingling I feel whenever I stroll up Madison Avenue, a tremor that awakened the first time I saw the movie Auntie Mame. Those grand old ladies who quaff cocktails and spit quick-witted jabs at the dull younger generation — that’s who I want to grow up to be.

I guess I’ve lowered my expectations, not just for birthdays to be perfect-as-planned, but for my own gradual aging process as well. I don’t have any “timelines” any more like I used to, the ones I’d wish upon those candles with. “Please please,” I’d say to myself, “By the end of this year, let my skin clear up!” Or the next year, “Let me finally get those boobs!” Or next year, “My first kiss!” And next year: “Clear skin? PS, STILL WAITING ON THOSE BOOBS.” And of course, I’d always end up in tears by the next birthday when these wishes would, invariably, go unfulfilled.

The things we want most in life don’t always happen on the timeline we want them to follow. I mean, who knows if those boobs will come in my 33rd year? (and if they do, THEY’RE LATE, so I expect interest paid as well). Who knows if I’ll make it to my 34th? If I’m ever going to grow up and be that sassy old broad with a glass of bubbly in her hand and saucy barbs on her lips, it’s going to have to be now. No time like the present.

Clock’s a-tickin’, gang. End of the month draws near. And this old-er lady could use a drink. Hint, hint.

 

27 thoughts on “All I Want For My Birthday Is…

  1. Hi Megan:
    Great read and it does roll around each year when mine rolls around (Just staring my 7th decade) They are never fun but people like to celebrate your arrival. I suppose it is as much a blessing for them to honour you but being the INFJ type personality I would prefer to take the day sailing, fishing or hiking alone in nature. Plain and simple just run…lol,

    I would be remise if I failed to wish you a Happy Birthday…

    Hugs from Canada

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting point about “celebrating your arrival:” I read once that birthday aren’t for YOU, they’re for YOUR MOM. Because she’s the one who did all the work & suffering! I don’t know how well that applies, but it makes a lot of sense. also, funny enough, I spent my 30th in the woods without cell reception OR internet and it was blissful! I didn’t overthink anything, and I was among strangers. It was actually great! I’m Team Woods, all the way!

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  2. OMG, 33!!! When I turned 40, my sister-in-law said “40’s not the big one…50 Is!” I’m working on 60 now and I’ll tell you a secret: it’s gotten easier and more fun!

    I enjoy bubbly a lot lately…I’ll have one in your honor. Cheers, darling!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I bet it does “get easier” with time! It’s hard not to laugh at kids panicking about being “so old” when they turn, like, twenty-five! But You know, every age you turn is the oldest you’ve ever been.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, yes…it’s very real. But, when I can pass on some good news about growing older, I like to do that! I really hope you enjoy the day. A cold glass of bubbly will help..wish I could be there to serve it to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday! May you celebrate many – champagne sound good but make mine with orange juice – mimosas – ahh….or wine; when you get to my age (70) you are just happy that you are still celebrating birthdays!!!

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    1. I hope I do get there someday! I love a good mimosa, too! My birthday is a Monday, that’s a good day for mimosas! Congrats on your birthday as well, whenever that may be!

      Like

    1. Oh gosh when you put it that way, YES! Well, time is totally a social construct: why do we keep track of birthdays anyway? But I’ve always bought in to social constructs Big Time, because of my eternal quest for meaning. Like, maybe this is the time for annual self-reflection? Here’s a thought I had today: what about Birthday Resolutions? Like New Years Resolutions?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Question is do they every work? If you do not keeo track of either they are just there for the social norm. I think it would make more sense to do self-reflection on birthdays though. And probability of sticking to them for longer is absolutely higher too. Not sure why though.

        Liked by 1 person

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