How do you celebrate my birthday

My birthday is mine - why I don't feel like celebrating

You shouldn't break traditions. Our author does it anyway - and this year she skips her birthday party with friends for the first time. Why the reactions to it showed her that she made exactly the right decision.

Just as some people gather in close harmony under Grandma Helga's Tannenbaum every year, a pack of people raids my apartment on one day in January and leaves chaos when they leave. They are nice people, that much has to be said, otherwise I wouldn't see them as my friends. However, they have one problem: They are completely used to the fact that I celebrate my birthday with them year after year. Ever since this constellation of friends existed - after all, for over ten years. The problem: This time I don't feel like doing it - and almost started World War III. Kim Jong-un can still learn from me.

If someone here now wants to ask why I want to break with this nice tradition, which I am not entirely innocent of myself: I have no idea. I've always loved celebrating birthdays with friends, but this year the thought of planning a party and getting supplies kind of rashes on me. Maybe because there is neither a schnapps number nor a big birthday. Maybe also because I just don't feel like serving other people on my birthday and washing mountains of dishes for an hour the next day because I don't have a dishwasher. But one way or the other: That shouldn't be a problem, I thought, after all, my friends alone have skipped their birthday one or the other time - which I find absolutely okay myself.

"How, you are not partying?"

I was teached a lesson. The first friend, to whom I passed on my decision a month earlier, stared at me with wide eyes and asked me indignantly if I was serious. That doesn't work, after all, I would have always celebrated so far. Just like you can't change a workflow, simply because you've always done it that way (doesn't everyone know a colleague like that?).

A little irritated by the surprisingly violent reaction, I explained that I just didn't feel like partying. Instead, I decided to bake my own birthday cake for the first time this year and enjoy it with my family. I think the cake is enough for a birthday party - unfortunately my girlfriend didn't want to see it that way. We discussed it for quite a while and in the end I broke off the subject in exasperation.

Drama of tears - but not from the birthday child

But she was not the only one that I apparently completely thrown off track with my decision. Shortly after Christmas I got a voice message from another friend who was almost sobbing. She had been given a ticket for a show at the festival, which should now be on my birthday weekend of all places. Short version: She is terribly sorry, she feels completely torn and now she doesn't know what to do. When I replied that I wasn't partying anyway and that she should enjoy the show, she almost forgot to keep sobbing in the irritation.

I must be sick

And one last case: my oldest friend asked about a week before my birthday what was going to happen next. In response to my answer, she wrote me a private message and asked if everything was okay with me. Which was certainly meant nicely, but above all it finally showed me how right it is to simply let tradition be tradition for a time.

Because I am neither sick nor mentally deranged or on the verge of depression. I just find it annoying to take things for granted that are beautiful but also cause work for others. And because on my birthday I just want to decide for myself how to spend it. That's why I'm sticking to my decision and will concentrate fully on my first cake this year. After that, I'll probably still be able to do the dishes for an hour - but at least I'll be damn proud of myself.