It seems to be that as people age, the reaction to their own birthday seems to change. Moving with the stages of life, there seem to be age appropriate responses to birthdays.
1 – 4 years old
The child seems either to be oblivious of their own birthday or at best, marginally aware that there is an event taking place that seems to honour their very existence.
5 – 13 years old
Children realize and then become very familiar with this birthday thing. It is something to be excited about, to look forward to and to plan. At this stage, children may even make special birthday requests (i.e., certain kind of cake, special gift, dinner at a specified location etc.) Children this age will even announce their birthday in advance to people and may even wear a special pin or hat to demonstrate to everyone else just how special they are.
14 – 18 years old
While children at this age pretend that birthdays are no big deal, they still secretly get excited about them. Being much too cool to show that they are excited to have a special day dedicated just to them, they may claim to want no special treatment at all. I assure you, this is not a reflection of how they really feel. While they may not want to wear a birthday crown or pin, they relish in receiving special gifts and doing special things with friends and family.
19 – 30 (approx.)
At this age, people are more into the celebrations than the gifts themselves. Sometimes planning elaborate events for either themselves or eachother, they go to great lengths to ensure celebration is in order and a good time is had by all. 30 seems to mark the end of these extravagent engagements as a final hoorah, bidding farewell to youth once and for all.
31 – 79 (approx.)
I find this the most depressing phase. The assumed behaviour seems not only to lack in general excitement regarding birthdays, but an actual dread at aging another year. How tragic! Generally people seem only to go through the motions of any special birthday surprises. They politely thank people for cards, dinners and gifts and focus only on adding another year to the total.
80 – 100 (approx.)
This phase marks another exciting time. This seems to combine phases one and two together. Some people are blissfully unaware that there is a day dedicated solely to them and yet still seem to be excited about it. People at this age truly start to love gifts, special meals, cake and especially wearing something special that marks their birthday. They don’t care about adding another year, only about having fun and celebrating themselves!
I get so excited about my birthday, I can hardly sleep a few nights leading up to it. I usually start a mental countdown. I insist on celebrating in both little and big ways. I buy myself a birthday present every year, I take myself out for coffee and I treat myself to some special things. I spread my birthday celebrations out over many days and ride on the wave of the happiness and joy that it brings for as long as possible. I announce very loudly (and to many people) that my birthday is coming up and can often be found wearing a tiara in front of strangers….and most of all…I don’t care how old I am. I get better and better with age, both at figuring out life and find I only appreciate the little things more and more.