On birthday expectations

In the lead up to my birthday, I often get asked the same two questions over and over again. “What do you want?” and “what do you want to do?”.

For some years now, I’ve struggled to answer both of those questions.

In years gone by, the answers came easily to me. To the former, I remember responding with “a bike”, “a hamster”, “an iPhone”. To the latter, I remember answers like “have a big party” or “ride around in a limousine with my friends”. And the answers came easily to me because I had been considering the questions for days, weeks, months before my birthday.

But – excluding my 18th and 21st because of their significance – I haven’t really had any particularly big and specific requests where plans are gifts concerned since my early- or mid-teens. And, perhaps that’s just because I’ve naturally outgrown the desire for them. Regardless, my expectations of what my birthday should look like don’t revolve around those things anymore.

It’s not that I don’t care entirely. It’s just that, for the most part, I’m happy to do and receive pretty much anything. More importantly than that, however, I just don’t put as much pressure on the day itself and just try to make the most of whatever plans I can manage to make, and I’m grateful for whatever gifts I receive without feeling a particular need to request anything beforehand.

And that’s a nice attitude to have because it means that I can enjoy my birthday without feeling burdened by expectations, and without worrying about any disappointments that might come as a result of those expectations. I can fully appreciate whatever I do for my birthday – whether that’s a party, going on a day or night out with family or friends, or just taking a moment to mark the day at home in some small way – and whatever gifts I might receive. 

My birthday’s coming up in just a few days, and right now I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing for it. I’ve taken the week off work – which a lift all its own – but otherwise nothing is set in stone at the moment.

I had been making some plans to meet up with some friends, for one. Those plans, unfortunately, didn’t pan out because of an unexpected lockdown.  I’ll probably still get the chance to do something with family though, and whatever that ends up being, I look forward to it.

At the end of the day, birthdays are just the chance to mark a day that’s important to you, preferably with people you care about. As long as I get to do that, even if it doesn’t fall on the day itself, I’m sure I’ll be pleased.

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