Hi hey hello, I know that in a recent post, I promised to write weekly, then immediately missed a week. As an excuse, just know that I worked almost 140 hours in the past 12 days (you can do the math).
I had a post sort of in my head for last weekend that I scrapped because I started harping on things I rant about all the time, so I’m pushing up what I was thinking about writing next weekend (plus, next weekend, I’ll be getting ready to see U2 again – and Beck! – so I’m sure there’ll be a post then that’s just me freaking out; I’m so excited).
My husband’s birthday is next weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love birthdays. Labor Day is also next weekend… and I couldn’t care less. I hate holidays.
It’s a distinction I’ve made before, on an old blog (that’s actually still floating around the internet, if you’re so inclined to be a creep). I sat at a Starbucks on Christmas eve a few years back and ranted and raved about how much I dislike holidays. Now that I’m a few years wiser (?), I’ve figured out exactly why I feel the way I do.
Something I’ve always been passionate about is not doing anything if I don’t fully want to do it. It’s why I walked away from doing theater, even though that was my only social life for years – the second I stopped doing it for fun, when it started feeling like an obligation, I knew I had to change something. It was a hard decision, but ultimately, made my head so much clearer.
Holidays are like that, on a much bigger scale, for me.
That’s not to say I can’t enjoy myself when I’m participating in traditions, or that I’m just slapping on a happy face and waiting to get home so I can bitch and moan. I absolutely can have a good time doing the things that come with holidays! I just wish that, as a whole, we could shift our focus to the people instead of the requisite activities.
The bigger holidays of the year are their own sort of beast – Thanksgiving and Christmas are so ingrained in our culture and the traditions that surround them have become as much a part of my life that it’s a little harder for me to be irritated by their senses of obligation. Those summer holidays are the ones that really get to me. We put so much pressure on ourselves to have picture-perfect July 4th celebrations, and then are left disappointed when we don’t capture that perfect Instagram moment.
I noticed myself getting weirded out by holidays in college – which, coincidentally was right when Facebook became a thing. My mom’s worked second shift my whole life, and I remember one Christmas in particular, after gifts and lunch, I spent the alone, getting sadder and sadder as I watched my friends post from massive parties. The thing that sucks, though, is that until I started paying attention to the things I wasn’t doing… I wasn’t feeling too bad at all. I had celebrated the holiday in my own way, and it was fine, but seeing people doing more than me was making me sad. If it had been any other day, seeing people doing more than me wouldn’t have affected me in any way at all!
That’s why I prefer to celebrate the hell out of birthdays. There’s no expectation tied to a birthday beyond making a person feel a little more (or a lot more) special than they do on those other days. I love that. I love people and I love celebrating the fact that they exist, y’know? Let me shower you with love on your birthday, because it’s what I want to do, not what the calendar says I have to do.
And there’s so much room for variety when it comes to birthday celebrations – an intimate dinner, or a huge party, and anything in-between is totally cool and no one will think you’re doing too much or too little. There’s no real standard to what you’re supposed to be doing, like there is on a holiday. I love that. I’m here for letting people do their own thing, whatever that may be, and as long as they’re happy with what they’re doing? That’s excellent. Celebrate that!