It's been a funny kind of day at the office, with people from the past dropping in and going "I don't believe it! You're still here!" all day, to which I went "Well, give it a month or two and I might not be anymore!" -- first someone I had my initial training with, 11 years ago; next, a support engineer I used to share the commute with until 7 or 8 years ago; and finally, another long-term co-worker who I'd become friends with IRL too, but who went on a to build a career and a life for herself in Barcelona 2 years ago. You know how these things go; you swear you'll keep in touch, and you fully intend to, but you get caught up in the dailies and before you know it, months have passed without a word. That's why today's series of unexpected meetings buoyed me up so much: here was a chance to apologise for the previous neglect and promise to do better in the future (I'm nothing if not optimistic!). But yeah, it's been good.
Over the last few weeks, independently of each other, Mum and Dad have been pestering me with questions as to what I want to do for my birthday, which translates to "What time do you want us to drop in for coffee/cake/drinks/dinner?". So far, I've managed to put them off by saying I hadn't thought about it, and quite possibly I wasn't going to do anything this year, although last night Mum reminded me I couldn't put off thinking about it for very much longer and maybe I should contact my sister and make arrangements to celebrate it together with my nephew, whose birthday is 3 days later.
The thing is, I don't want to celebrate my birthday. Not because I mind adding another year to the tally, but because every year, it's the same: my close kin come round to mine, expecting to be fed and watered, sit around making smalltalk, and leave me with the dishes. They bring a card and a bunch of flowers and it's nice that they want to make the effort, but...I'm just not that bothered. I didn't like my birthdays when I was a child, and I don't see the point in them now that I'm older. Most of my friends and family are away on holiday, so why should I go to all that trouble?
I gave in last year. I invited my Mum and sister round for lunch. Mum was there around lunchtime. My sister and her family didn't bother showing up until 4 o'clock, and then had the gall to appear miffed when I said I was meeting friends for drinks in town at 5. Meanwhile, lunch was ruined...so perhaps it's not surprising I'm not chomping at the bit to organise a party this year.
Thankfully now, I won't have to. My best friend called and said she was going to treat me to dinner and a special birthday breakfast in Amsterdam this year, and she wasn't taking no for an answer. Now all I have to do, is break it to the family...gently.