When I entered college, some of my batchmates from high school (and I do say batchmates because in high school, the words classmate and friend never jived together, just to show how unpopular I was back then [and still am]) gathered every September to celebrate our mutual birthdays. I mean there were four of us September celebrants, and we just split the bill among our common friends. It was also the perfect excuse for a reunion of sorts.
Sadly, that tradition stopped last year. Either that or I wasn’t being informed.
Probably ever since then, my birthday slowly dwindled into anonymity. I’d treat friends and coworkers out for lunch or for dinner, and that’s probably the only indicator for them that it’s my birthday. Of course my immediate family would always greet me, soon to be followed by relatives.
Perhaps what makes this year bizarre is that not even my relatives greeted me this year (which is actually the biggest surprise). Just my parents and siblings, my coworkers (because we actually have such a thing as a birthday leave, and since I’m at the office every single day Monday to Saturday…), and some friends which I treated beforehand. Other than that, my email and cellphone has been relatively light when it comes to messages.
Not that I’m expecting birthday greetings. I hardly remember people’s birthdays, and there are friends whose birthdays I know are within the week, yet I never really took the time to greet them. (It’s a strange habit, but I remember people’s birthdays a few days before, but forget on the day itself.) The only people whose birthdays I consistently remember is that of my immediate family, the birthdays of people who are close to the birthday of my immediate family (my mom’s birthday falls on April 15, for example, and I have some friends whose birthdays lie between April 14-16), and two crushes (June 4 and November 29, although for the latter, a lot of friends’s birthday also fall on that day).
It is interesting though to find out the people who do greet me, as they come from unexpected sources. This year, one came from my former editor-in-chief of the high school paper, and we remember each other’s birthdays because it’s one day apart. Another was from a blockmate, but of course, we remember each other’s birthday because it happens to fall on the same day. I also have this one friend in LJ land, and of all the 90+ people there who friended me, I’m surprised it came from her to greet me a happy birthday because we’ve only known each other for a year or two, and not that close at that (well, we did meet when she came home from Japan).
Of course upon reflection, this year’s birthday was better than last year’s. I mean last year it was my first day on the floor (call center jargon for being on duty, answering phones), one of the scariest days of my life. I mean our trainers at the call center always tell us that no matter how much they teach us, nothing can prepare you for your first day on the floor. And it so happens to be my birthday at the time. This year, well, since I rarely get breaks from the office, it was spent performing procrastinated duties such as visiting my optometrist and doctor.
More importantly, it’s nice to look back at the year, and observe how much I’ve grown. What surprises even myself is how more emotionally stable I am. Normally, if this happened two years ago, I’d probably go into a depression and whine at how lonely my life is, at how I don’t have true friends who even remember my birthday, or how I’ll die unremembered. And then rant, rant, rant.
Of course not everything is swell. One thing I need to improve upon is my general apathy at things. Like I said earlier, usually I’d rekindle bonds with old friends during this time of the month. Nowadays, I just let everything sweep by, and I’ve definitely lost the initiative.