Evolution of Birthdays

Have you ever noticed how birthdays evolve from “the most exciting thing ever” to “if we don’t celebrate it this year, can I just be this age next year?”

In honor of me marking off another year of my life, I have compared just how much birthdays have changed from then to now…

Then Versus Now

This wasn't a problem back then....

Age 1: You have no idea what this birthday thing is, but are a huge fan because it involves something called “cake”. Your adoring audience looks on as you smear frosting all over yourself and anything within reach.

Now: You have to plan your own cake, fight your children for a piece, and no one applauds when you use frosting as hair gel. Sometimes you don’t even get your own cake. You just stick a candle in a leftover cupcake from your daughter’s birthday party two days ago.

Age 4: You fly out of bed, barely able to contain your excitement – most likely before the sun rises.

Now: You would do anything to sleep in.

Age 4.5: Old enough to fully understand birthdays, an eternity passes before the next one, resulting in the “half birthday” celebration. A meltdown might ensue if a parent forgets and tells someone you are only four.

Now: Forget the halves. You no longer tell anyone your true age and if they push, you start subtracting a few (or more) years from it.

Age 11: You have entered the “slumber party” era and finally your parents will let you stay up as late as you want and eat junk food while you giggle with your friends.

Now: You dream of sending your children away to a slumber party so you can sleep through the night and possibly have some alone time with your husband.

Age 18 and under: It was all about the presents – the bigger the size, the better.

Now: You probably get a handful of cards and a few checks in the mail, but rarely anything wrapped in paper….

Age 16: You celebrate by a trip to the DMV for the precious piece of plastic you’ve been coveting for years: your driver’s license.

Now: You wish you could afford a chauffeur and cannot wait until your children learn to drive.

Age 18: You are officially an adult and can vote, ruining your parent’s favorite excuse of “Not until you’re an adult…”

Now: You wish you’d savored the carefree days of childhood a bit more.

Age 21: The birthday you can barely remember, thanks to bar hopping for free birthday shots, beginning at midnight and finishing the next night. You pull out your proof of age with glee at each carding because now there is nothing to be “caught” on.

Now: You are probably in bed by 10 PM. You celebrate if the cashier cards you and thank them profusely.

Age 25: You plan an elaborate gathering with most of your friends. Oh, and your insurance rates drop.

Now: You spend the day at an amusement park because it coincides with your spouse’s employer’s “family day”. You beg a friend to watch your youngest, haul your oldest with you, try to ride some roller coasters in between the kiddie rides, and finish with the wild rafting ride. Ten times in a row.* Even with the 102 degree weather, it’s pretty awesome.

Age 29: You realize this is the last birthday before thirty, and (if you’re female) your biological clock goes haywire.

Now: You wish you’d taken more photos of yourself at 21.

Age 30:  Your procreating efforts have paid off and your pregnancy distracts you from hitting the milestone.

Now: You focus on your children’s birthdays and ignore your own – creating a blissful amnesia where you have to execute the math to remember how old you are.

As my birthday rolls in, it’s time to collapse into an exhausted coma – hazard of eight hours of amusement park plus four hours in the car.

Happy Monday, all!

*This actually occurred the day before my birthday this year. Last year it was on my birthday.  I have photos, but my eyes refuse to stay open to add them.

When was your most memorable birthday and why?

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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24 Responses to Evolution of Birthdays

  1. So true! Thank you for starting my morning with a good laugh. By the way, the pictures of you now are pretty amazing … who needs those 21 yr old shots. 🙂 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my friend. I’m so bummed we didn’t get to meet up in Joplin — it’s meant to happen soon though. Your words bring so much happiness to everyone smart enough to read them, you deserve a great day!! May your old cupcake still be fresh and your day be filled with joy (among the chaos).

    • I am also sorry to have missed you in Joplin, and in Kansas City.

      You certainly filled me with warm fuzzies, knowing I made you laugh.

      Thanks for the search bomb too. 🙂

      The day was a blend of good and mommy-about-to-hit-the-wall-with-a-headache.

      Still an overall decent birthday.

  2. Thank you so much for the laugh!!! I hope you have a fabulous birthday. You certainly deserve it!

  3. John says:

    Happy Birthday, Kelly!

    I’m seriously thinking about adding a few years whenever I have to answer how old I am . . . I mean, it’s not like I’m ever looking to score, so why not get the “oh, dear god, you look great for 52” compliments?

    • I’m with John on this one. I have a friend whom we discovered had been shaving five years off her REAL age the entire time we had known her – the rest of us had been silently thinking, “Hmmmm…She looks pretty old for____”

      Anyway, I’m older than even her fake age by now. That was a long time ago. When we were still in our thirties.

      I’ll be 43 next week. So.

      Happy birthday, beautiful. Hope your year is simply spectacular.
      And this post?

      Was a fabulous beginning. I loved every single comparison ~
      XO

      • Happy birthday early my dear. I’ve seen your vlog and you could easily shave five years off and still have people amazed you look so awesome at that age.

        I realized I forget to add a tween comparison, so I did, but thank you.

        Just another post proving that the truth is far funnier than fiction. 🙂

    • Ohhh.. You know, you have a point.

      I never thought of it that way.

  4. hanelene says:

    Hey, it was my birthday on Saturday and there was no cake (and I just realized it now. ) I think you got it right!

    • I actually bought myself a chocolate mousse cake (the tiny sample size) from a bakery close to me so I could have more than a leftover, Nemo decorated cupcake.

      Of course, then my dear friend offered to make me brownies and I was already full of chocolate.

      Really, I think cake/chocolate is the only reason to celebrate a birthday now. 🙂 The guilt free enjoyment of your own cake…

  5. 40: You realize your eyebrows have wrinkles. What’s that about?

    Happy Birthday, my friend. Fab post for a fab day! 🙂

  6. Katie says:

    Happy birthday! Mine was pretty uneventful this year top. Spent home alone with both kids while Albert attended an all-day certification class. Seems theres always something on my birthday weekend.

  7. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Enjoy it and milk it while you can. Make sure you don’t lift a finger!

  8. Liz McLennan says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday, Mama! Enjoy celebrating wonderful you!!!!

    Love,
    29 Forever Bellymonster

  9. LOVE IT! These comparisons are fantastic!!

    I hope you have a Happy Happy Birthday!!

  10. Carrie says:

    Oh, that comment about the 30 birthday. So true. My 2nd daughter was born the July before my 30th. She was about a month old on my birthday so…yeah, no celebration. I’ll make up for it when I’m 40 🙂

  11. Katie says:

    Wow is this right on! Now at 64…I will be happy to celebrate at all!

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