P.S. The majority of this post was written before the terrible events in Nice took place. I was always proud that my birthday coincided with the French National Day, which stands out among all national holidays for the powerful message it comes with: Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood. These principles need now to be reinforced. With every blow on our bodies we must strike back with a thousand blows of love in their hearts.
Yesterday was my birthday! Yay!!!! Or……nay?
My birthday and I have a complicated relationship. I kind of hate it, but then it turns out to be one of the sweetest days of the year, because every single person I love and cherish takes a few seconds to remember me and send some good vibes my way. Then again, I really hate growing old(er), I’m not one of those people who feel like they really make the best out of every age, rather I’m always feeling left behind, unable to do all the things I would like to do. Time to me is a ruthless enemy, not a trusted companion, not at all!!!
I’ve celebrated 31 birthdays so far, almost 15-16 of them trying to organise some kind of entertainment for my friends. I’ve tried pretty much all formulas: party at a club, party at home, dinner party at a restaurant, dinner party at home, huge groups of people, small groups of people, just with my boyfriend naked in bed, completely on my own watching Miss Congeniality and/or Moonstruck.
There are true merits in every one of those options, except maybe for the alone one, because as I grow older I get more and more insecure about the people around me (it totally works if you’re in the 18-25 box, I can totally see my 18-year old self eating a whole cake on my own in front of the TV).
What I have done though with great success the past four years is an intimate drink/dinner with the 3-4 people in Brussels I can really call “my own”. It’s true that if I was back home I would usually throw larger parties at the beach. Or if my birthday were not in the middle of the summer, I would have more of “my people” in Brussels as well. Or if my friends stopped having babies, THINGS WOULD ALSO BE EASIER (just kidding guys, keep on bringing babies to this world, they’ll be the smartest and most beautiful people of the 2040’s!)
It’s a great relief knowing that there people who I can really call my friends and rely on pretty much for everything pertaining to my survival. I value my true friendships very much. And of course I also enjoy the more superficial ones, the friends I have to have coffee or go shopping with, but for my birthday, I really want my besties with me. And that’s more than enough. That’s why I’ve been having these very small intimate dinner parties the past four years. We’ve really had the chance to enjoy ourselves much better this way, eat a lot, drink a lot, dance and sing more and more than just a lot, and also cry a little at the end (me mostly, I’m a big cryer).
Exactly because I’m a very emotional person, birthdays are kind of a big thing for me. I’d prefer if everyone forgot about it, but then again if I don’t get enough people wishing me on Facebook I get totally depressed “because people forget about me as years go by”. And because I’m so emotional, it is really important for me to not get overwhelmed and try to have fun without any pressure on this special day. Everyone should find what makes them happy on their birthday and go with it. If you can master huge parties, go ahead and do so! Because there’s not better excuse than birthdays and because noone really throws huge glamorous parties any more! If you’re more the “I like cooking for an army” type, throw a huge dinner party with 3 courses and a lot of art de table! Then again, you might enjoy wine, in which case you only need several bottles of the finest wine and lots and lots of cheese, and you’re done!
But whatever you do, make sure to have people you love around you and most of all – relax and have fun. Birthdays are a celebration of ourselves and our lives. Treat them both with love and respect and have lots of fun on the way.
And if you’re looking for the ultimate tip to make any gathering (even the one with just yourself) successful, here it is: PICK A THEME. It is always a guarantee for fum (I’m planning my next dinner party to feature “Woody Allen movie types” as a theme. Precious.)
Here are a few ideas about how we celebrated yesterday:
- Food: Starting with some spanakopita (i.e. Greek spinach pie) and with chicken roast as a main course, noone complained much.
- Instead of a typical birthday cake, I shove my one and only candle on a moelleux au chocolat served with vanilla macadamia ice cream on the side.
- Best present ever: Black leather clutch.
- REALLY best present ever: Flowers and a very delicate necklace from my boyfriend. I think I’m in love with this guy. Seriously.