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Happy Birthday to Me?

It’s my birthday this Sunday. I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with birthdays. When I was a kid, I was really uncomfortable being the center of attention, so I’d burst into tears when everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” Not cool. Another time, I got so nervous that I threw up, and my friends played nurse to my sick patient for the rest of the night.

After that disaster, my mother had the brainstorm that all my friends should get to blow out my candles, just so they wouldn’t feel “left out.” I have these photos of little kids pretending to be the birthday girl at my own party…it’s a bit odd.

The icing on the cake was my sixth birthday, when my mom asked Dad to take me on a drive so she could finish decorating. We went off-roading in his jeep, deep into the bush, and came across a huge mud bog. “Don’t go in there,” I said. “We’ll get stuck.” I’m sure you can guess what happened next. The end result was that I spent my sixth birthday walking seven miles out to the highway with my father, trying to find someone who would give us a ride back into town. On the bright side, my mother had plenty of time to finish decorating that cake.

As an adult, I tried to make a Big Deal out of my birthdays. While I had some good experiences, each party ended up being a disaster in its own way. Like the big trip to Toronto to visit a close friend. I ended up crying on her shoulder instead of celebrating, since I’d discovered right before I left that my boyfriend of three years had cheated on me. Or the time one of my kickboxing friends dominated the conversation for the entire event, leaving all of my non-kickboxing friends out of the fun. Or the cute retro-style co-ed sleepover that didn’t stay as platonic as it should have. That was awkward….

Last year took the cake, so to speak. I’d planned a nice dinner with my closest friends at my favorite sushi restaurant, followed by a night of dancing. I even hired a limo to take us from place to place. By mid-week, I had a tickle in my throat. What followed was the worst case of flu I’d ever had. I had to cancel the entire event.

This year, I resolved to do something quiet. I just didn’t have it in me to plan another party, so I decided to go for a massage and then lunch with a close girlfriend, followed by a nice dinner with The Boy. The massage therapist cancelled yesterday, leaving me with no time to book another. It was supposed to be a beautiful day, but now they’re calling for rain. If my friend suddenly gets a case of bubonic plague, I wouldn’t be surprised. Happy birthday to me.

One of the worst things about birthdays is the introspective portion. A lot of people I know go through the same thing. As the years creep up on us, our birthdays are a natural time to stop and think about where we’re going and if we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished. Until I’m a published author, my answer will always be no, unfortunately. But the fact that I am actually writing again is going to keep those birthday blues at bay. So thank you for being here and sharing this journey with me. Should I happen to come across a cake with candles, I’ll even let you all have a turn blowing them out and making a wish…in spirit, of course.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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  1. Julius Csotonyi

    Extremely funny and entertaining writing! I hope your latest installation of the Birthday goes better from here on. If not, though, at least you will have more material for your writing for years to come…
    Happy Un-Birthday today, Holli!

  2. Kim

    Wow, you’ve had the worst birthday luck ever. I can’t say I’ve had anything that memorable happen. My Birthday is in April so no one could ever go out because, while I seemed to always be done exams either on or before my birthday, no one else ever was. So I’ve had mostly low key birthdays. I try not to plan anything extravagent and perhaps given all your creativity and stories, I’ve saved myself some disasters.

    But next year… I am 40.

  3. Kim

    Oh, I don’t know, but I think I’ll have a party for 40…. we’ll see where life has taken me by then.
    Yes, loyal and consistent. lol.. I enjoy what you write. I admire that you’ve managed to come up with an idea every week day. I’ve decided one a week is enough. They suck a lot of energy out of me and take about 3 hours a piece to write and edit (not to mention the often days, but certainly hours of thought time prior to starting to write). Plus I only want to write about stuff that completely sucks me in. Although, one might argue that I write about 5 different things in every post. hehe

  4. J.H. Moncrieff

    @ Julius – wow, thanks for your comments! I am so honored that you dropped by…you are welcome anytime. And thanks for the Happy UnBirthday. 🙂 I could use a good one.

    @ Kim, thanks for being my most loyal and consistent reader and commentator. 🙂 What’s your plan for the big 4-0?

  5. Elspeth Cross

    Happy birthday? That is a long list of bad birthdays. Sunday is supposed to be decent now – I hope that helps.

    “One of the worst things about birthdays is the introspective portion. A lot of people I know go through the same thing. As the years creep up on us, our birthdays are a natural time to stop and think about where we’re going and if we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished. Until I’m a published author, my answer will always be no, unfortunately.”

    You may not have reached your destination of publication this year but you are miles closer on the journey.

  6. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks so much, Elspeth. I swear you missed your calling as an inspirational speaker. Your posts always make me feel so much better. Many hugs to you!

    @ Kim – thanks for the compliments. Since I’m a newbie at this blog business, it always means so much to hear that people are enjoying my random musings. So far it hasn’t been hard to think of ideas everyday, but the blog is still new. Talk to me in a year. 🙂

  7. TS

    I’m a bit late on the posting, but you know I have to comment on this one 🙂

    I too hate Birthdays, and linking to your most recent post, I’m very happy to learn that this year was a success!

    Having a birthday in July sucked as a kid, as everybody was away either on holidays or at cabins. To boot, every second summer my family went on trips, so that made for REALLY small parties. (As an adult it is much cooler to be somewhere else. As a kid, it is better to have parties with other kids.)

    I think part of the disappointment in birthdays are expectations. You try not to have them, which is hard enough…so you secretly hope that someone is going to surprise the crap out of you with something wonderful. Oddly enough it wouldn’t take much, just the fact that you know someone cares.

    So if birthdays could be like every other day, where wonderful things do happen, I think it would be a lot easier. Especially since it takes out the introspective part! (The other part that makes birthdays crappy)

    So indeed – happy un-birthday!

  8. J.H. Moncrieff

    Hi TS – I remember that you’ve had your share of bad birthdays, too. Welcome to the Unbirthday Club!

    Even though I was born in May, my birthday usually falls somewhere on the long weekend, so I’ve had the same problem as you – everyone’s out of town. This is more of a problem as an adult than it’s been as a kid, though. (I didn’t live in cottage country when I was a kid.)

    In retrospect, birthdays are a lot like Valentine’s Day. You know you shouldn’t expect anything. You try not to hope for anything. But somehow, even though you tell yourself that it’s just another day, if someone doesn’t make a big fuss over you, it’s depressing.


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