The Herald Magazine - - FIRST UP - CLAIRE FIT Z SIMON S ,24, NURSE

WHEN I was younger I hated my birth­day. In pri­mary school, they gave a cake in class to who­ever’s birth­day it was, but I never got one be­cause we were al­ways off on New Year’s Eve. It up­set me when my fam­ily would come round for New Year and ev­ery­one would cheer at mid­night – I thought they were cheer­ing that my birth­day was over.

Now I re­ally like it. Some peo­ple say they feel a sense of anti-cli­max af­ter Christ­mas Day, but I don’t have that be­cause I get to look for­ward to my birth­day and plan my cel­e­bra­tions. I usu­ally have lunch with my fam­ily and then have friends round for din­ner and a party: peo­ple ex­pect you to host a Hog­manay party when it’s your birth­day. I get a bit awk­ward say­ing it is a birth­day event and hav­ing all the fo­cus on me, so I usu­ally call it a New Year’s birth­day.

As I got older, I re­alised the 31st was ac­tu­ally a great day to have a birth­day: I got to stay up late, no­body was ever work­ing, and ev­ery­one was up for hav­ing fun with me. I haven’t stayed in on my birth­day night since I was 14. I guess I feel pres­sured to ei­ther go out or have a party.

One prob­lem is that peo­ple of­ten al­ready have plans, es­pe­cially since I’ve got into my twen­ties and my friends have started want­ing to do things with their sig­nif­i­cant other. It’s hard to get ev­ery­one to­gether who you re­ally want to cel­e­brate with you, as peo­ple of­ten make New Year’s com­mit­ments far in ad­vance. At the same time it means your birth­day stretches out be­cause you’ll see dif­fer­ent peo­ple at dif­fer­ent times if they are busy on the day it­self. I usu­ally end up hav­ing cel­e­bra­tory din­ners, lunches and drinks spread across the fes­tive sea­son.

It’s a cheery time of year. Ev­ery­one is up for hav­ing a party and I ap­pre­ci­ate that a lot more now I’m older. I also like to use my birth­day as an op­por­tu­nity to think about ev­ery­thing I’ve done that year. I look at it like New Year, new age, new me.

Presents can some­times be dis­ap­point­ing – some peo­ple will get me one present to cover my birth­day and Christ­mas. Or more of­ten they’ll get me two lit­tle things, but gen­er­ally smaller presents than what my sib­lings (who have sum­mer birthdays) get. Hav­ing said that, my close fam­ily and friends al­ways make an ef­fort to keep them sep­a­rate and cel­e­brate the two events dif­fer­ently.

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