I think somebody ought to check up on this Nick Douglas fellow and make sure he’s ok, because this is not normal. You Should Feel Sad on Your Birthday
This is a Lifehacker article explaining that we should all be sad for a while on purpose on every birthday because we can never go back and one day we’re going to run out of them or something. I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. Maybe one of you can read it and explain it to me in a way that might elicit a response other than “what the fuck?”
Everyone likes a little cry sometimes; that’s why there are sad songs and movies and books. A little elective melancholy exercises your emotions even when your actual life is going well, and it can leave you mentally and physically refreshed. Some times are particularly well-suited: rainy days, late nights, and birthdays.
The best birthday still contains one inevitable sorrow: it reminds you of the separation between past and future, the one-way nature of time, that there is no going back to the you of last year. You are growing, you are aging, you are mortal. The happier your present situation, the more you will one day lose—and in your best-case scenario, you’ll lose it all on the day that the world loses you.
That’s why every year, at some point on my birthday, I like to put on a little music, walk around or sit quietly, and feel sorry for myself. For fun. The first few years I did it, right out of college, I was broke and lonely and I really did feel sorry for myself. But I kept it up as the years got better, and I even indulged this year, while I was enjoying paternity leave with my baby daughter. And if optional sadness sounds appealing—and if you’re not worried about triggering an ongoing mental health issue—then I recommend a nice birthday cry.
It goes on like this, complete with tips on timing, mood setting and things to do and not do while you’re structuring your emotions like some kind of weird ass playdate.
Listen. I’m all about alone time, reflection and resetting. In fact, if I’m being perfectly honest, I want to be alone far more often than life allows me to be alone. Having time alone enables me to have the energy and good humour to deal with people when I’m not able to be alone. But at no time have I ever thought during those alone moments that boy, what I really need to do right now is bring myself down on purpose for no good reason. That’s the thing about being alone and having a chance to think. The mood sets itself based on whatever your current circumstances happen to be. For me personally, if I’m happy (which I basically am most of the time), I want to keep doing that. I can use my alone time to be productive or to relax with some sports or good tunes or anything else I like. If something triggers a long ago memory that I’m not sure how to feel about, I’ll sit and listen to some music or whatever sounds I can hear around me and let it swim around in my head until either I figure it out or something else replaces it. And if something is bothering me, then I’ll be sad or anxious or whatever my body and mind tell me to be in that moment. But there’s no way in hell I could ever plan any of that, nor would I want to.
And especially not on my birthday. Maybe when I’m old as the hills and all of my friends and loved ones are buried under those hills we can talk about being sad, but for now, even though I’m aging every year, my birthdays are pretty great. If anything, they’re a reminder that, even though things are not and will never be absolutely perfect and I’ll always have a few regrets, there’s not a whole lot I have to be sad about in this life. Every birthday is a reminder of how many people care about me. They’re a steady parade of messages and calls and even the odd visitor who comes bearing free lunch, laughs and well wishes. How, when faced with that, am I supposed to pretend that things are shitty? If things aren’t shitty right now, they aren’t shitty right now. Forcing myself to pretend that they are just feels unhealthy.