Rule 64, Chapter 10: Birthdays are there to be celebrated

Last week at the office we had a birthday.

However. When Steve got to work, he told us that both his wife and his child had totally forgotten it was his 42nd birthday.  And that he hadn’t heard from his parents, although ‘there might be a card in the post when I get home’. He brushed it off with a ‘Well,  it’s only another day, isn’t it really’ and proceeded to make everyone a round of tea.

When my husband turned 30, he sent me a photo of himself working late in his birthday. He’d bought himself a beer, and was sat behind a computer cheers-ing himself. On his own. On a birthday that happened to be on a Friday night.

laptop-733572_640Now, you might read those two stories and think ‘Whatever! They’re 30! 42! Far too old to be enjoying birthdays! They’re not kids. And anyway, perhaps they didn’t want to celebrate getting a whole year older. Who wants to draw attention to that?’

Both of which points of view I totally understand. But…but…

Birthdays get a bad press in my humble opinion. A birthday isn’t about another year gone, or one step closer to death and all that depressing stuff. It’s a Birth Day. The day you were actually born. The day you popped into the world, purple and squealing, shouting your existence to all that you had arrived. Ta-dah! ‘Look!! I’m here! The party can finally start..!’

And I think that the day that you were brought to life is pretty special. Regardless of how old you are. Because as a person, you’re unique and generally awesome. So why wouldn’t you – shouldn’t you – spend one day celebrating the wonder of you? Yes! Yes, you can make a fuss of me! Offer me balloons! Buy me gifts or just shower me with love and kindness for my one special day! Make me a home-made sheep cake out of marshmallow and don’t mind when I pretend to stab it in a ‘gag’ prior to cutting it…!!

But what about the birthday ‘party’? Those partners, parents, kids, friends, work colleagues who need to combine, team up to make someone’s day brilliant? What part do you play in Rule 64: Birthdays are there to be celebrated?For those Birth-Dayers who are up for it, I’m pretty sure all of you guys could easily throw a pretty hot party. But I’m not suggesting that if you have a friend who really hates birthdays, you should ignore their feelings and throw a massive shindig anyway. It’s all about levels of celebration suited to the birthday person – it’s a day all about them, after all. So perhaps just a card. A card and gift. A cake. Buying them a coffee, giving them a hug. Not necessarily tequila shots at 2am or a private jet to Monaco, but a gesture. A little something. A nod to their Birth Day.


Which brings me back to Steve at work. He’s not a massive birthday fan. But he does like beer, so we took him to the pub and bought him a few pints at lunchtime. We clubbed together and got him a card and cake, and sang happy birthday to him at his desk. We made him a cup of tea in the afternoon. We didn’t really spoil him or make a huge fuss, but we did make him feel a little bit special. And at the end of the day, he declared that it had been the ‘best birthday for a long time’.

And my husband with the saddest 30th I could ever imagine? That weekend I went up to see him (it was our first ‘proper’ date after we’d met).  He had an impromptu gathering in his local pub on the Saturday night. One of his mates had done a bit of calling round and facebooking so a crowd of friends and family arrived. I bought him a cupcake with candles and a bottle of overpriced champagne. He was over the moon and proceeded to celebrate by getting very drunk, and dance wildly on tables. Which to be honest, was probably the moment I fell in love with him.

So here’s to birthdays.

Celebrating you. And celebrating with others. And perhaps even blowing out some candles. Now. Where did I put that cake…?!