The Thing About People Remembering Your Birthday

My birthday was on March 6th and I had a different experience this time around.

For my previous 20 birthdays, I always had this idea that I shouldn’t talk about my birthday in the weeks leading up to it. I always rationalized that it sounded a little too narcissistic as if by mentioning my birthday I was somehow hinting at others to do something for me. I mean, I wasn’t against people doing things for me on my birthday, but I just didn’t want them to be coerced into doing something because I said so. I would rather my friends and family do something out of their own free will.

I think I also felt I shouldn’t mention my birthday because it was almost like a test for others. My brain always thought that if others remembered of their own free will, that they really cared about me, or at least cared enough to remember. It was a different type of joy when others remembered something about me that even I oftentimes forgot myself in my late teen years, leading up to now. I usually ended up remembering it sometime in February, but not close to or on the actual day.

Thinking that someone cares about you because they remember your birthday is a bit of a childish thought, now that I think about it. Sure, it’s nice and caring that people remember facts about you, but it’s also possible to care for someone without remembering their birthday. After all, it’s just another date on the calendar that means something only because we let it. Also, it’s possible that you don’t care for someone personally even if you do remember their birthdays. I remember random celebrities’ birthdays due to social media and sometimes have trouble recalling the birthdays of those close to me. My family never was into birthdays. It’s just another date we recall so we remember our age.

This year, others brought up my birthday a couple of weeks before, leading up to it and I kept it going. My dad, in my twenty years of life, never forgot my birthday. But this year, he did, on my twenty-first. I’ve had a couple of my friends and family forget my birthday this year too, regardless of whether or not I brought it up. I’ve noticed that people tended to forget my birthday when I would remind them rather than when I did not.

Maybe it was that they didn’t have to think about it because it was brought up on a consistent basis. They didn’t have to hold the thought because I was basically holding it for them, so when the time came to wish me a happy birthday, they didn’t find it an important matter to remember.

Regardless, I prefer not to fiddle over my birthday. I prefer the quietness and those who remember to wish me a happy birthday and no hard feelings against those who don’t.

I don’t keep score.

Here’s to being twenty-one.