Birthdays Are Exhausting

Long time no see, understandably so, given my last post was basically a giant exhaustive rant about Ready Player One and all things wrong with the movie industry. I’ve been recuperating since last, but I’ve got a new one for you today.

April has basically flown by, leaving me with little to be desired from May. It’s a dreaded month, hay fever and attack-of-the-sinuses aside, because of the impending doom that comes with hitting the Homerun of turning twenty-something (yet again).

Not only am I a year-and-a-half older than Aaron, which never fails to make me feel like an ageing spud, but the day inevitably reminds me of all the unnecessary crap that accompanies birthdays e.g. Forced smiles, last-minute birthday wishes, and nosy questions regarding my marital status.

This year, I’ve decided to use my birthday as an excuse to leave this crap in the lurch – From ignoring Facebook wishes, replying to birthday texts plainly Wreck-It-Ralph quotes “I’M GONNA WRECK IT!” or “Double stripes BREAK, DO’I!”, and most importantly, interrupting neighbouring aunties and their invasive questions with uncomfortable excuses like: Late for Waxing Appointment or Date with my Gynaecologist. 

Birthdays as a kid had always been a merry affair. My mother would have all the kids gather at the condominium function room – filled with glazed cupcakes, home-cooked food (none of that catered nonsense), coloured goodie bags filled with childhood treats – Barbie-doll bracelets, confetti, sticker sets, stick-on earrings and mini-kaleidoscopes. She’d dress me up as whichever Disney Princess I took a fancy to – I was Cinderella most of the time, whereas my younger sister went as Belle.

There was a home-made piñata one year; my mother slaved over that box for weeks, filling a cardboard box with goodies, sweets and stuff that little girls loved, taped it up and papered the outside with rainbow-coloured crepe. Even though the piñata didn’t work – all the little girls (myself include) beat it with a stick till we were inches from death – my dad ended up holding up the heavy box high above our tiny heads and ripping that box apart, allowing the candy and all its confetti-covered content to shower the room. It was one of the most memorable days of my childhood.

Having grown into a full-sized human being now, twenty-odd years and sarcastic, I’ve realised how cynical I’ve become about birthdays. It’s not just about the age – that’s just a depressing countdown to how much closer you are to dying – but it’s about what birthdays currently represent.

They used to stand for innocence, unbridled fun, happiness in the form of the simple things – spent with family and friends (back when ‘friends’ was a loose definition of people you rode your bike with, or scavenged for ‘precious rock’ at the bottom of the swimming pool, convinced that the loose tile was a portal to another world) – without worry about getting older or wishing for anything better.

‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’

Now, they represent the warped society that we currently live in. Birthday announcements blatantly blared far and wide over your 10 different social media channels, pictures capturing the extravagance and captions reiterating the waste; piled on thick and generating waves of inferiority, seeking to spur competition and incite jealousy.

Goodbye childhood innocence, hello nuclear arms race. I think it’d be fair to say that I miss the way birthdays used to be.

I haven’t decided what to do this May, but I’m sure it involves a fair amount of snorting myself silly with the Wongs, warm cuddles with my beau, and my pick of the movie. Aaron had better prepare himself for a marathon of sappy romance flicks and lots of Disney sing-a-longs.