Thursday, September 5, 2013

Adulthood Birthdays 101

I turned 22 at the end of August, and was as excited as ever about my birthday. Ok, well, I didn't really have trouble sleeping on my birthday-eve like I used to, but I do feel like loving my adulthood birthdays is not something I have in common with a lot of other adults. I'm not even sure why I love my birthday so much. I don't like parties or partying, I don't like cake very much, and I don't really like having "happy birthday" sung to me (does anyone?), but I do love getting extra love from my family and friends. And pinatas. I really love pinatas. Today I'm going to tell you how I think we can make the most of our birthdays as adults.

First, we have to address reasons people have for not liking their birthday. The main one for many [American] adults is that they don't want to be reminded that they're getting older. All I have to say about that is, you're getting older whether you celebrate your birthday or not, so celebrate it!

The next major birthday-mood-killing culprit is your childhood. I'm alarmed at how many adults don't have good memories (sometimes just "eh" memories) of their birthdays growing up. Of course we can't rewrite the past, but not having a great track record of awesome birthdays doesn't mean you can't enjoy them from here on out.

One thing I love about my birthday as an adult is that I get to celebrate over a several week period of time. When the calender gets to August 1st, I think to myself, "it's my birthday month!" No joke. If I want to buy something for myself in the month of August, I have a ready-made excuse. Which I most definitely employ, frequently. When it gets later in the month, I usually get to have dinner at my parent's house, dinner at my in-laws house, multiple outings with friends, cake with my coworkers, and then whatever Jonas plans. Sometimes cards (my family hand-makes cards, see a lovely specimen below from my sister Julia to our mom one year) or packages come in the mail (from friends and family or Amazon or even promotional or advertising material), and it's like a mini-birthday every time! In fact, one of my favorite things to give and get for birthdays is a magazine subscription. It's like getting a present every month for a year!

I like that my birthday is an excuse to talk with people on Facebook that I pretty much only talk to when its their birthday or in response to their happy-birthday wishes to me. I always try and say something personal, rather than simply "happy birthday!" (don't get me started on thank you letters that just say only "thank you"). I generally won't even wish someone a happy birthday on Facebook if I can't think of something better to say. Wishing someone a happy birthday is the perfect opportunity to tell them why you're glad to have them in your life or to share a fond or funny memory you have with or of them. At the very least, say something like, "are you doing anything fun for your birthday?" or "I hope this next year is [fill in the blank]."

Another thing I love about my birthday is getting spending money and free stuff from my favorite companies. I'm not a total airhead - I know that they give me $5 to lure me to the store so that I'll spend $30, but I fall for it every time. Knowingly. Here are my favorites:

Starbucks - If you're a part of the rewards system (you can easily sign up online, on your phone, or in a store), you get a free drink of any size for your birthday! The reward becomes available a few weeks before your actual birthday and stays valid for about a month after your birthday as well. I've cut out coffee from my diet for now, but I enjoyed my venti vanilla bean latte this year, not least because it was only the second time ever that the barista spelled my name right.

Powell's Sweet Shop - By joining the E-club, you get free gelato on your birthday! And it is delicious. And extremely expensive on a regular day. The downside to this reward is that it has to be on your birthday, and I didn't make it to SLO on my birthday. Since I still wanted gelato, I just paid for it the next day. I got raspberry and Jonas got hazelnut. Marketing ploy: 1. My wallet: 0. Powell's SS is one of the only places I know of that sells double salt black licorice too, which happens to be my official favorite candy.

Cost Plus World Market - When you're a World Market Explorer, not only do you get in-store deals and rack up points, but they give you $10 to spend on your birthday! Again, I always spend more when I have $10 free to begin with, but I totally scored this year with some of my favorite dinner plates that I found on clearance.

Sephora - One of my dear friends who was born 6 days before me let me in on a little birthday secret this year on our joint-birthday outing. If you buy anything at Sephora during your birthday month, mention it to the cashier and you get a free gift (like a mini-mascara)! Since I'm getting interested in some higher quality make-up anyway, I'm totally killing two birds with one stone on this one. I didn't actually buy anything at Sephora in August this year, but I have plans to buy something soon, so hopefully I can talk the sales lady into giving me free stuff a week or two late.

What are some of your favorite shops or companies that treat you right on your special day?

One final thought: hating your birthday or acting overly embarrassed is rude to your loved ones, in my opinion. Your birthday is about you, on some level, but it's also THE day that friends and family want to make extra special for you. I say let them! There's nothing worse than putting effort into celebrating someone who doesn't appreciate the love.

That wraps up my thoughts on birthdays in adulthood. Next, I'm going to bombard you with pictures and memories of my birthdays growing up, as well as some traditions I hope to keep alive for my own children's birthdays.

Bonus Material: Wanna know something weird? For the longest time, whenever someone said "happy birthday" this song by Krizz Kaliko would pop into my head. I don't like it, and the album cover scares the shiz out of me, but it's a funny bit of birthday trivia about me. Runners up are the chompo bar song from A Birthday for Frances and the Emperor's New Groove birthday song. Oh, and we can't forget my mom's custom-made embarrassing birthday song, but I'll spare you. Bonus Bonus Material: Did you know the classic Happy Birthday song is is patented and you can get in trouble for singing it in public?

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