Have you seen a New Yorker article about the horrors of the birthday week? The author takes exception to people who celebrate their birthday for more than one day. It’s narcissistic and self-obsessed. It’s childish.
Reading the article and several of the comments made me wonder about how some of us seem to live in very different worlds. I imagine these people inundated by non-stop birthday outings, being dragged through office break rooms and being forced to wear party hats. People are weird.
Personally, I’m going to cheer you on if you want to celebrate your birthday for a week or for a month. If you’re happy enough to celebrate being brought into this world, then hell yeah! Bring it, birthday celebrants! (Especially if there’s cake.)
Most commenters supported long-lasting birthday shenanigans, but a few definitely agreed birthdays had gone too far. They called birthday revelers narcissists and ego-maniacs. They insisted you get ONE DAY! Stop bothering people. A few comments were of they, it-is-no-big-deal-to-be-born variety. (Really? I don’t know. I’m more of a it’s-amazing-we’re-here camp, but okay.) And the ever popular, “Grow up.”
So, I’ve been pondering what it means. What do you mean when we say “grow up”?
I have shelves of action figures, a slinky, and a chalkboard wall. I’m as excited for Star Wars as my kiddo and can tell you what Hogwarts House I’m in (Slytherin…for some reason). My office doors is painted to look like the TARDIS. One of my favorite coffee shops is in a toy store.
I’ve also kept a steady job, paid my bills, and taken care of my kiddo. I showed up for chemo treatment. I try to keep my promises and I’m always on time.
Have I grown up yet?
Team birthday folks were called immature and self-obsessed. I don’t know about you, but I’ve know people who were immature and self-obsessed who didn’t even like celebrating their birthdays for five minutes. And I have friends who start planning birthday events ages before the birthday week begins and who help me when I’m in trouble and cheer me on when I need cheering. Annoying people, however, are annoying whether they’re celebrating their birthday or not.
How do you celebrate your birthday? I don’t do much anymore, but I do use it as an excuse to buy more books and art supplies.
“Why are you buying that?”
“Uh…it’s my birthday week!”
But whatever. Hate birthday madness if you want. The real question is how does one grow up? In some stories it means getting boring. It means drudgery. But we don’t really want it to mean that, do we? In other stories it means getting married, buying a house, and having kids–somehow implying that the unmarried and child-free are not quite, you know, mature. And that’s a load of rubbish.
I just don’t like the phrase “grow up” used as an insult. It shouldn’t mean, put away your dream or stop doing what brings you joy.
I suggest just saying “grow.” Grow. Grow in your maturity and responsibilities. Grow your skills and knowledge. Grow your understanding of the world and of yourself. Grow your talents.
Grow up? Maybe.
Grow? I hope.
Thanks for reading.