Today, March 9th, is my birthday, but it seems like am the only person who gives a damn. You see, am an African, and as far as it goes, birthdays are nobody’s business. That’s a western culture, that has failed to resonate with our individualistic one. Celebrating such days and cutting funny looking cakes while singing, “Happy birthday to you… blah blah” was picked up by millennials, but even them have failed to keep up. As one matures, it seems like a childish thing to do.
Growing up, I don’t remember even once celebrating my birthday or any of my family members surprising me with a gift or so. It was accustomed for me to forget my born days, not that it mattered anyway. In my family, birthdays were just that, birthdays. No parties, cakes, gifts or anything. Nothing! When I joined campus is when I learnt what birthdays were. Comrades were spending lots of money throwing parties and impressing others.
They could literally spend weeks planning their special days. It was like a competition. With my upbringing, I tried to give my birthdays a blind eye, but the pressure was too much to bear. I bowed. Like a crusade of minions, I followed suit. Planned parties, blew out candles and noshed on cakes. But now, am older and even much wiser, and feeling dread over my impending age to enjoy the day. That said, here is what am doing today.
A gathering of friends, not a party
As a person who sucks at throwing parties, today I’m shifting my thinking on how am marking my special day. I speak for many when I say, we all crave for parties at those fancy trendy restaurants or inviting friends for drinks, and all those crazy ideas. But, if there’s one thing I learnt from campus life is, the way we spend our time is contagious.
I have outgrown that mentality that birthdays are all about being praised, honoured and showing how big you can go. I’ve been there; the stress, financial burden and excess associated with impressing people. Today, am more focused on the quality of the day, not the quantity of it. I want to use my birthday as a gift to bring my friends together. And again, it’s not a party… haha… for God’s sake, it’s a Monday!
Something nice for someone else
Who doesn’t know that birthdays are all about getting stuff, getting drunk and getting older? Society has taught and brainwashed us, that we should expect rather than give, when our birthdays come knocking. Come to think of it, we have all seen people posting on social media or even going to an extent of sending us text messages, demanding gifts from us simply because it’s their born days. Haha, not me.
Today, I want to do something nice to someone. I want my special day not to be just about me, or who showed up, or what I got, or what I didn’t get. I want it to be about the impact I will make and the ripple it will create. At the end of the day, I want to look back and just feel like, boy, I made a difference and what I did matters.
Last but not least, today above all days, I will be me. I’m always that cool but shy, yet the most introverted guy in the room who tends to get excited over small things. I know that, and so I’ve been told. Don’t get me wrong, those ain’t my best qualities, neither are they my worst. And one more thing; I tend to be deeply involved in anything that concerns me. Why should today be any different?
I don’t put on shows or allow people to dictate to me what to do or how I should celebrate my day. I will do whatever brings me joy and makes me feel contented. That’s it. Keep those birthday wishes coming, I will personally try as much as possible to appreciate each one of them. And, if you won’t send yours, consider yourself persona non grata to my life. Haha… am just kidding.