[tweetability]Birthdays are important. The fact you’re here to celebrate is reason alone to cheer. Another birthday is another chance at greatness.[/tweetability]

I may make the odd ‘old’ joke every time a birthday comes around, but I don’t mean it (usually). But it seems to me there are an unhealthy amount of people who passionately abhor turning another year older and choose to act as though the event does not exists.

I get upset when friends choose not to celebrate their birthdays - recently, a close friend of mind hid the fact it was her birthday to all those around her. I still brought her a mini surprise birthday cake which we shared in secret, but I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want the fuss over her, she didn’t want the attention or to ‘bother’ people.

For anyone who feels the same, I’ll say to you what I said to her…

You are important. Your existence on earth is important; to you, to me and to your loved ones and strangers you haven’t yet met. You deserve to be celebrated.

It isn’t about getting attention for the glory, that’s ego, this is about attention from love, the unbending love we share for each other that says “I’m glad you’re here, I’m glad you’re alive and I’m glad you’re with me.”

Presents don’t really mean much to me. I don’t want to sound mawkish, but - it was the realization that I have a great many people in my life who really love me, and who I really love. - Gabriel Byrne (Irish Actor)

I had actually always had my birthday off, from work or uni, usually through luck but as I began working I would take it off. Then one year I just decided that may be I was too old to be taking the day off so I worked. The workday was crazy busy and stressful, though my work colleagues did get me a cake, we were all focused on work, I got out late and was late to an evening meal with my friends. The next 2 hours also flew by with not much more chance than basic catch up conversation and it was time to get the last train. That was it. Birthday over for another 365 days. I remember feeling really down about it. I hadn’t got time to spend with my best friend, I hadn’t taken stock of the day or had time to reflect and the next thing I knew it was the next day I was back at work. I don’t ever want to feel that again, and even though sometimes it can’t be helped (and this year I am working it as I can’t take the holiday as I am going away in December) it’s important to make up for it when you can! Don’t just let it drift away.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I get to share my birthday with my best friend in the whole world, Jack. We met at uni (after applying for single, self-catered halls we both got shared catered and became forced roomates! We were also the firts people we actually met at uni, before knowing we were roomies) and after an otherworldly realisation of common denominators between us (same birthday, mothers have the same name, mutual friends that attended our schools 150 miles apart etc.) we became fast friends and remain so nearly a decade later. I get to spend every birthday with Jack, we have parties with mutual friends and we have parties where we meet each other’s friends from other areas of our lives. It’s the most joyous, exciting and special moments of the year. I get to say thank you to him for being there for me, for challenging me and for making me a better person.

So much of your birthday can be attributed to giving your loved ones a chance to show you how much you mean to them. This isn’t selfish. This is a ‘self-love’ that gives you chance to reflect, to say to yourself that you’re doing OK, that you’re on the right track and that, even when you’re down, there’s a lot to be thankful.

To those who hide their birthday’s on social media to avoid ‘annoying notifications - your Facebook profile represents some of the most important phases of your life, through schooling, uni and work. What can be cooler than on your birthday seeing people from all walks of your life saying happy birthday to you in one place? Maybe it’s me, but I think that’s pretty awesome.

Please celebrate your birthday. You deserve it, and everyone else deserves the chance to tell you too.

So for anyone else out there celebrating a birthday today, Happy Birthday from me!


Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.