I remember when I was 5 and a birthday meant being allowed to go to school!
I remember when I was in primary school and a birthday meant taking cupcakes to school. Sometimes it meant having a party. And that meant choosing a theme and dressing up! And sometimes it meant having a sleepover and having to choose just 2 or 3 people who I really wanted come.
I remember when I was in high school and a birthday meant lots of hugs and flowers and notes and well wishes… from EVERYONE. I remember that just by walking around with a ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon and some flowers that some lovely friend had given you first thing in the morning, even the people you didn’t know would say happy birthday.
I remember being a teenager and having a birthday meant that my then boyfriend would take me on a date to a restaurant that we thought was expensive. Yet neither of us really enjoyed it and would probably have preferred a meal at home or somewhere easier and cheaper! I remember being spoilt with gifts.
I remember being 16 and that birthday meant having a party at home and inviting girls AND boys. And then being 18 and that birthday meant going somewhere where your parents were not.
I remember when I was working and going to uni and a birthday meant very little to those at work and uni. In fact sometimes no one even knew it was your birthday. But your parents always made you a special meal or took you out for dinner, and your friends always texted.
I remember living overseas and a birthday meant that you didn’t see your family. Or your boyfriend who still lived in Australia. It meant waiting for their schedules to align with yours whilst working around a 3 hour time difference before you would hear from them. But it also meant parcels in the post.
And then I remember having a birthday once you have a baby. I remember that your birthday is barely even noticed because you have feeding to do, nappies to change and sleeps to work around. It is just another day. And yet amongst it all you remember that your mum went through what you did x number of years ago on that day to bring you into this world. And that seems strange to think of. And you have a whole new appreciation for what a birthday actually means.
So this year, whilst I will probably still receive presents, phone calls, texts, hugs and well wishes, I am inviting my Mum, Dad and family to my house. And I am cooking a special dinner for them.
How have your birthdays changed over the years? Maybe next year I’ll revert back to the high school option!