I like to keep my birthday private. The reason is pretty simple.
It’s not because I feel old. I am actually old, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m at peace with my age. One more birthday marks one more year of a life that has been pretty fantastic. A birthday is a reminder to reflect on the past, and to plan for another year of adventures. My life is pretty terrific.
And it isn’t because I’m embarrassed or don’t like attention. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a shy person.
At one of my former jobs, there was a tradition of doing a cake on a coworker’s birthday. It was sort of nice for a few years, but then it started to feel like an obligation. It started to feel like this scene from the movie “Office Space:”
This is the reason that I don’t celebrate my birthday. That scene is painful. It’s clear that no one wants to be at that party. No one wants to be singing, no one wishes that terrible person a happy birthday. This is my nightmare. I would rather chew on broken glass than be the focus of a birthday party like that.
That is why I don’t tell people when it’s my birthday. It isn’t because I don’t want people to make a fuss. It’s because I don’t want people to think that they have the obligation to make a fuss.
I love it when people send me texts and emails on my birthday. I’m touched that people remember. But, announcing that it’s my birthday would make me feel like I was fishing for a birthday greeting. I don’t make a deal out of it. This way, when I do receive a “Happy Birthday” from someone, I know that they genuinely wish me a happy birthday.
If you ask if today is my birthday, I will say no, it isn’t. But if you wish me a happy birthday, I will say thanks, and I’ll mean it from the bottom of my heart. And a big thanks to JMC, AK, AMK, JME, and everyone else. You guys are the best.