A friend’s birthday recently came up, and it stressed me out so much. I got to thinking about it, and not only do other people’s birthdays stress me out, my own birthday stresses me out. Don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating people’s birthdays, but there is so much to consider, that I sometimes worry about these things for a month in advance. Here are five reasons why birthdays stress me out.
1. Gift giving: Picking out a gift for someone is one of the most stressful things I can think of. One of three things inevitably happen. – First, the person you’re buying for already has everything. I will go out of my way to find a really quirky and unique gift for this person, only to find out they have something nearly identical to it. Another thing is, everyone buying a gift for that person is competing with you. This whole process ends up being treated like a top secret mission, and your gift is confidential. The second thing that happens is you don’t know the person well enough to pick a gift they’ll actually like, but you still have to get them something. This person is usually an acquaintance or a coworker. I usually just get a gift card along with a birthday card. Even this is stressful because I don’t know what kind of gift card I should get or how much money it should be worth. The third thing that happens to me is getting a gift for someone when I’m not really sure where we stand. I cannot be the only person who’s been in this situation. This person is usually someone you have been casually dating, but you’re not exclusive yet. I don’t want to give them a present that is too “girlfriend-y” but I don’t want it to be too casual. This is the most stressful situation for me.
2. Receiving gifts: I become the most awkward person on the planet when receiving gifts. I never know what the appropriate reaction is. How long do I admire the gift? In what tone do I thank the gift giver in? Do I hug them? I have no clue. My cluelessness intensifies when I’m given a gift I don’t actually like.
3. Wishing someone a happy birthday: This should not stress me out as much as it does. There are so many ways we keep in touch with people today, that I never know where I should wish someone a happy birthday. If I tell them in person, do I also tell them over social media? Did I use too many emojis when I texted them? Are we close enough for me to hug them when I tell them? Again, I’m clueless.
4. Celebrating: I’m a laid back person, so parties aren’t really my thing. I feel guilty when I’m celebrating someone’s birthday, and I’m not actually having fun. If I’m going to an event such as dinner or a concert, I feel a lot of pressure to make it more special than I normally would, considering I am celebrating the day my loved one entered the world.
5. Frequent birthday comments: Every year, someone will always ask me if I feel like I’m a year older. I never know what to say, because honestly, I’m pretty sure I’m just a five year old trapped in an adult’s body. It also bothers me when people say “another year older, another year wiser.” This is stressful for me because I have only been x years old for less than twenty-four hours. Please stop acting like I will gain a year’s worth of wisdom within a day, because I’m starting to feel some pressure. Also, aging isn’t really a sensitive subject for me. I know this is not the case for everyone. There are times I won’t even address the fact that my friend or family member’s age has changed because it’s such a touchy subject.
Those are just a few reasons why birthdays stress me out. I really do enjoy birthdays, but I have to first take all of the above into consideration. I also just want to throw in the fact that I didn’t get to see my friend on his actual birthday, so I will be giving him his gift when I next see him. Because of this, my stress, cluelessness, and general awkwardness has been prolonged.
I would love to hear your feedback. Do birthdays also stress you out? Do you have a different reason that I didn’t list? Maybe you don’t overthink these things to the point that you get stressed like I do. Whatever your feedback is, comment below and let me know!