{17/05/2012}   Celebrating birthdays

It is my birthday in a matter of days.  While this does not fill me with dread, it does make me feel a little nervous, like when you were young and went to school with a new haircut; you know your friends are going to say something and you kind of want them to but don’t because you don’t want to be the centre of attention.

This year, and a few previous years, Chris has organised something for me.  This is good, though a surprise is like going into class at school and everyone noticing you’ve had your hair cut without your realising it’s been cut!  It’s ok once the dust has settled!

To be completely honest, the best things about birthdays is when friends you’re not in touch with that often write you a card, ideally accompanied by a letter, and/or text or email and contact is made.  I am also always touched by the effort good friends go to when it comes to presents or meeting up plans.  Of course I love presents, and the older you get the more thoughtful and appropriate presents seem to be, but in an ideal world – well, a semi-ideal world as opening presents is fun – I would love to see each good friend for some quality one-to-one catch up time.  The older I get, the more I appreciate my and friends’ time and time is indeed a special gift.

As for sociable birthdays, it’s lovely to see a group of friends and to be made to feel special.  It’s unusual for me to go out with groups of friends and I always get a bit of a kick out of seeing friends who don’t know each other getting on well.  But, oh, how hideous when you have a big group and you realise that either no one is talking , small groups are talking and some people are looking left out or, what I have been known to do, my becoming a blatherer, holding court!  Dreadful!

Another cool thing about birthdays is that there is usually a social/going out element to the celebration of your making it to another year and these are usually memorable.  I have had a complete surprise dinner with a load of friends, a treasure hunt, a long weekend away with a group of really good friends, dinner for two at NoPi, favourite places revisited with my mum, drunken parties, karaoke, Ethiopian food (that nearly lost me my tastebuds!) in San Francisco, friends round for Eurovision and themed food and drinks, a retro party … and there emerges the key theme: being with people you have chosen to be with, who you want to spend your precious time with.  Roll on Sunday and my surprise-but-not-really birthday party!  Oh, and how could I forget:  CAKE!  The cake completeth the birthday!  I hope my mum doesn’t think I won’t want my annual Battenberg cake anymore!


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