Today is my birthday, but so far, no one has wished me

Birthdays are usually connected with happiness, festivity, and the tender hug of close friends. These are the days we expect the deluge of birthday greetings, sincere messages, maybe two surprises or hints. My birthday is today, a day I have always excitedly anticipated. Still, I find myself gazing at my phone and social media alerts as the hours pass, waiting for that familiar buzz or ping indicating a fresh message. None have so yet wished me a happy birthday.

The morning started exactly as every other morning. I woke up expecting something, a flutter of thrill in my chest. I immediately checked my phone, hoping to find a tonne of messages from friends and relatives. My surprise was that there were none. I dismissed it, supposing maybe everyone was merely waiting for a more sensible hour. It was still early after all.

The morning developed and I went about my regular schedule. I made a cup of coffee and settled down to have a slow brunch. The absence of birthday greetings began to chew at me. I checked my phone often, expecting to find a fresh message or social media alert. Nevertheless, nothing. Birthdays have always been really important to me; they are a day when I felt unique and valued.

Mid-morning I chose to divert myself with some housework. I did some washing, tidied the house and even worked on the stack of dishes in the sink I had been avoiding. Though I tried so hard to be busy, I always kept birthday wishes at the back of my mind. I questioned whether people had simply forgotten or if there was another cause for the quiet.

I set down to dine after ordering my preferred takeaway. Though the food was excellent, it did not nearly cover the hole created by the absence of birthday notes. I reminded myself that individuals had plenty of time to reach out and that it was still early in the day. But my hope started to wain as the minutes stretched into hours.

The fresh air made a great difference in my attitude; the weather was lovely. Birthdays are only another day, I reminded myself, and it’s good if people don’t always remember. I reminded myself of the many occasions the individuals in my life have showed their love and support as I considered those who have been there for me through thick and thin. One day does not define our relationships, and it most certainly does not lessen their worth.

I choose to approach things differently when I got home. I contacted them instead of waiting for somebody to wish me a happy birthday. Noting it was my birthday and that I would love to hear from them, I messaged a few close friends and relatives. The comments began to arrive almost instantly. Many others had, it turned out, been preoccupied with their own life and had paid little attention to the date. The loving and good wishes in the texts I got touched my heart.

I came to see as the evening drew near that I had been giving outside validation too much weight. Birthdays offer opportunity for introspection and celebration of oneself. I made the decision to treat myself especially holistically. After making a cake, poured some wine, and got ready for a peaceful evening. I took time doing things I enjoy, including watching my favourite movie and reading a great book.

My birthday finally proved to be a day of personal development and self-love. Though at first it seemed like a hole, the lack of birthday wishes finally helped me to see what really important. It made me realise that self-love is the best gift we can present to ourselves and that most affirmation comes from inside.

My birthday is today, and although it didn’t start off how I had hoped, it finished quite beautifully. I came to value the little pleasures in life and the love I have for myself. Eventually the letters from loved ones arrived, but the most important lesson I discovered was to honour myself independent of others’ memory.

What do you think?