|Happy Damn Birthday
||[Aug. 4th, 2015|10:24 am]
So, right, 52 years old now. (There seems to be a disconnect between my actual birthday and when the Facebook universe thinks my birthday is, so if you’re confused because you thought it happened before the internet did, that just means you remembered correctly.)
I remember when my father was this old and thinking “wow, that’s really old”. It’s not…certainly not when you’re the one who’s 52, but I think it’s important to remember that to the vast majority of twenty somethings you are, indeed, at least a preliminary geezer.
It was awful at the office that day, with everyone wishing me happy birthday. Ugh. Not that I’m one of those “I don’t celebrate my birthday because I don’t want to think about getting older” people. Really, it just seems silly to me to be celebrating an event that you basically just showed up for. Although I suppose at this age, I could look at it as an achievement – hey, I’m still here! I made it this far without doing anything so stupid it killed me. Even though I may have pushed that limit from time to time…..
For me, a birthday is mostly an excuse to be self-indulgent – I’m going to do what I want, eat what I want, buy some small things that aren’t critical, or splurge on something I was going to get anyway, but now I’ll get the upgraded version because Birthday!
But what I hate about it, honestly is all of the people wishing me happy birthday. Third person – e-mail, cards, that’s fine. But in person? Ugh. And FB seems to be right on the edge of third person and in person, as there’s always someone wishing me happy birthday that I don’t actually know all that well. Seriously, I could die in front of you on the street and you might not recognize me, but you’re going to wish me happy birthday because you saw it on the internet? I don’t even remember who the hell you are! (Which also makes me feel guilty and like a bad person….like I need more of that!)
But all of that focus. On me. For something that I can’t take credit for or be proud of. It gets right under my Extrovert outer coating and scrapes up all against my inner Introvert. That’s a thinner shell than most people realize. It’s just really, really shiny.
I think it’s because I just don’t know what to say beyond “oh, thanks!” And by the 15th time I’ve had that exchange, my essential Curmudgeon (I’m a Smith Island cake…more layers than any person or pastry should have) is all “jeebus, this is a lot of wasted time and conversation”. (For the record, birthday wishes from actual friends are very sweet and appreciated!)
And at work it’s the worst – I have all sorts of accomplishments here at work – saved the client an extra 15%, fixed a compliance issue and bam, another $300K in volume, found a suspicious void in the reporting, oh, hey, there’s another $40K to our bottom line. And mostly I get a “oh, hey, that’s great!” and we move on, maybe I’ve got one more piece of evidence for my annual review. But a birthday and whoo-hoo, congratulatory e-mails, birthday wishes from half the office, my team gets together to give me a cake. It’s ludicrous! And sort of sums up what’s wrong with most organizations – rewarding the wrong damn things. Sigh.