Maddison is head of content at https://www.paperlust.co
She is a communications professional, postgrad student, part-time librarian, and occasional wedding photographer. She loves words and drinking cups of tea
There's a strange phenomenon in the second half of your twenties that can be seen among women everywhere: birthday invitations become scarce, and a mention of birthdays or age begins to provoke groans and sighs, followed by swift changes of topic. You might even notice it in your own mind, dodging reminders of how long you've been on the planet and telling yourself you're getting old. This attitude makes us cringe at the idea of throwing a birthday party. We couldn't possibly draw attention to our age! There may still be a party, but never a birthday party. There are winter parties, friendship parties, impromptu no-name parties, but the word 'birthday' is avoided like the plague.
It's time we stopped treating birthdays like a guilty secret and allowed ourselves to celebrate our existence. Here are six good reasons why you should throw yourself a birthday party this year.
1. Everyone loves a birthday party
People love parties. They love having an excuse to gather with friends and family, catch up, have fun and make memories. Birthdays are a great excuse for a party, and people are usually flattered to be included on your list for birthday invitations. While you might feel a little nervous about acknowledging your birthday, most of your guests will be focused on the event itself rather than the occasion or the number of candles on the cake.
2. Your friends and family love you
It can feel a little awkward drawing attention to yourself with a party, but keep in mind that your friends and family members love you dearly. They will be excited to celebrate you and gather in your honour. They won't be thinking 'gosh, she's getting old' or 'how self-absorbed, throwing a birthday party'! Invite people you love and who love you, and they will be thrilled to be there.
3. Nobody cares how old you are
Your age might seem like a big deal to you, but the chances that anyone else thinks differently of you because you get a year older every 12 months (gasp!) is practically zero. Many of the people close to you already know your age, give or take a few years, and those who don't are unlikely to be shocked when they find it out. People genuinely don't care that much about something so trivial. More likely, they will be noticing that sexy dress you're wearing, the awesome playlist you put together or your culinary genius in the entrees.
4. You will never be younger than you are now
I hate to break it to you, but if you feel old now, just wait. Embarrassed to have a 30th party? Now imagine it's your 35th or 40th. Anxious about turning 60? Just wait until 70! Are you going to never have a birthday party again because you're 'too old'? Now is the time! Celebrate being young and embrace the fact that you are getting older (as they say, it's better than the alternative).
Consider why you don't want to have a party. Worried about specifying your age? Just have a birthday party and don't say the exact number. Hate big groups of people? Why not have a dinner party with a small number of close friends? Nervous about the expense involved? Have people bring a plate or make it an afternoon tea rather than a meal. Whatever puts you off parties can be overcome when it is your own party. You make the rules. You choose how you want to celebrate, when, where, and with whom.
6. You can help break the cycle
If you feel insecure about your age, it is likely that you have a specific idea in your head of what someone of your age looks like and you don't feel like you match that. Maybe you're a twenty-year-old with a kid, or a single, globe-trotting woman turning forty. Maybe you're coming up on sixty and can't reconcile that age with the little old nanna you imagine in your mind when you hear that number. These stereotypes about certain ages are reinforced by people's shame about their age. If you refuse to keep your age a secret, those around you will be empowered to do the same. Others will be inspired to be who they are and quit worrying about the number and what it represents.
So why not give it a go? Take a deep breath, feel gratitude for your life, and throw yourself a birthday party. Your existence is a perfect excuse to get fancy, pop the champagne, and celebrate.