Monica Heisey is so over being a birthday girl.
Ihave a confession to make: It’s my birthday this month. “Cool confession, Monica! Very dramatic! Wow, a birthday! What will you admit to next? Being a woman?” At least that’s what I imagine you’re thinking as you read this. To that I say “Fair enough.” It’s not a particularly juicy confession. It’s not even a secret. After all, everyone has a birthday annually (unless they’re born on February 29). But this year, I’m keeping it quiet— I’m done. Thank you, friends and family! Years one through 26 saw some truly incredible birthday parties: pizza sleepovers, dinner in Paris, a visit to Laser Quest Mississauga. I celebrated heartily for the first quarter of my life, drinking too much pop and eating too many chips until I was old enough to drink too much alcohol and eat too many chips. I had cakes adorned with, variously, a penis, my name spelled “Marka” and Princess Jasmine walking Pongo the Dalmatian on a leash (because my twin sister and I both loved Disney but had different favourite movies). I have had the “Birthday Song” sung to me in five different languages.
But enough now. Time to close up shop. There’s something... off, to me, about a 27-year-old woman making a big deal over her birthday. How long are we supposed to keep doing this? How much celebrating does my life require? It’s not that I’m ashamed that I’m aging—as far as I’m concerned, any choice where the alternative is “dead” is a pretty easy one to make—and I’m not about to start lying about my age. Sure, I’ve turned a corner around which I will never be in danger of anyone referring to me as a prodigy, and, sure, there’s some... stuff going on neck-wise. But I’m happy to be 27, and I’ll be even happier to live past the age that killed Hendrix, Joplin, Winehouse, Morrison and more.
The truth is, I feel very celebrated year-round. As women, we can celebrate ourselves literally every day— which we do! And why not? But doesn’t it seem a bit extreme to be taking all the selfies I want, owning, like, a bajillion sheet masks for my precious face and doing Galentine’s, Valentine’s and Palentine’s (a gender-inclusive Galentine’s that celebrates friendships)? Between the standard calendar holidays (New Year’s, Victoria Day) and the other non-traditional ones (Friendsgiving, the day a new Beyoncé video comes out), we’re already spending a lot of the year dancing and partying and generally disregarding the concept of hangovers. Maybe that’s enough!
Am I being a killjoy? “Monica, seriously. Let your loved ones have a damn dinner for you if they want to. You’re a jerk, and you probably give people their gifts late every year.” That, dear reader, is you inserting yourself in my story again. To that I say “Wow, okay, you’re bringing a lot of attitude to what was supposed to be just a fun birthday column between friends.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought and effort that goes into birthday plans; it’s just that a spontaneous gift purchased by a friend because he or she saw something and thought of me means more to me than “Here’s a novelty wine I found at the liquor store because, you know, it’s that time of year.” An evening spent with friends—where there’s no pressure to have a great time, find a perfect dress or have someone bring a cake—is more my idea of a good time. No one feels pressure to make sure that a random Friday night is “special.” No one feels awkward if only a few people show up to have a beer with you on a non-birthday date in June. It’s all just... a lot. Mommy’s tired, ya know? Maybe I’m a grump. Maybe I’m a party-pooper. Or maybe I’m just getting old. n