As creatives (or even human beings!), many of us spend much of our lives squelching all that is frivolous, impractical, and seemingly unnecessary about ourselves, whether it be taking a math class instead of that pottery class we really felt drawn to or not allowing ourselves to invest in that new set of brushes because they were “too expensive to justify spending on a hobby.” Don’t misunderstand – I know as well as anyone that sometimes you have to take math, and many times there is no way to sidestep the boundaries of a budget; however, I also know that self-denial is an easy habit to pick up, and we can often lose ourselves in the cycle of “no” for the sake of saying “no”, or because it feels easier and safer than allowing our inner children to be a little frivolous and impractical, or perhaps because we don’t think we deserve to be indulged.
I am the type of person that genuinely enjoys celebrating other people. I do birthdays. Holidays thrill me. I love buying and making gifts for the people in my life. Over the years, I have learned that not everyone shares this particular sentiment, though most of the people that end up in my circle, so to speak, learn to just accept it from me. You don’t want a birthday present? Be prepared for me to shrug and give you one anyway. You don’t need it, you say? Well birthday presents wouldn’t be nearly as fun if you needed them, would they?
I had grown accustomed to the occasional gift/party/etc. being accepted with a small sigh of resignation (ahem, Jeff), but no one had ever challenged me on my, shall we say, celebratory preferences, until I met and began dating my current fiance, Chris. (He will surely mention this name-drop when he gets home tonight, but frankly, he’s gotten away pretty easy so far) After we had been dating for a while and I knew him well enough to know when his birthday was without it being creepy, I had the realization that I was the unfortunate member of the pair to decide whether and how to recognize his birthday, since his came before mine on the calendar. It would have been much easier if mine had come first – to let him decide if we had been dating long enough to “do” birthdays or not and set the precedent. Clearly, I was out of luck, and I spent days agonizing over how to handle the upcoming birthday for fear of doing too much, or worse, too little. Continue reading