Posted in Family

Seize the (birth)day and celebrate yourself

The i newspaper front page 18 January 2012Whoever tells you their birthday means nothing to them is lying. Even if you’ve no plans to party, I defy you not to feel a frisson of excitement as the clock ticks round past midnight and your birthday officially begins.

There’s something thrilling about spotting evidence of your special day. Wherever the date appears in public – on the masthead of a newspaper, on the start-up screen of a computer, on a notice about roadworks – it seems as if the world is celebrating your birth.

18th January: this day belongs to me.  Although I despise the  ostentatious show of wealth, I will forever regret not snapping up something I spotted for sale a few years ago: the personalised car licence plate DEB181 – a double celebration of myself.

This year, the first place I see my special date is on my mobile phone.  I keep it by my bed to wake me up each morning with a gentle tune. Beneath the date appears a message to remind me (as if I could forget): “My birthday”.  I instantly feel a sense of history, as my mother must also feel when she sees this date written down. On this day, so many years ago, my arrival changed her world for ever- and mine began. (For my part, 23rd May will forever be one of the sweetest sounding dates in the calendar: it’s the day my only child was born.)

19th January 2012 date on computer screen displayBy contrast, seeing 19th January pop up on my phone the next morning is a gloomy reminder that normal service has now been resumed. All that lies ahead is dreary, indebted January and foggy, freezing February. It’s a very long haul until Christmas and my next birthday.

I’ve always felt hard done by that my birthday comes so soon after Christmas.  It would have been even closer if I’d been born on my due date, instead of two weeks late.  I knew my own mind even then.  As a child I envied my brother for having the perfect birthday: 21st June, the summer solstice, half way between two Christmases.

Even so, a birthday is a birthday. Better seize the day. Happy birthday, dear me!


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

3 thoughts on “Seize the (birth)day and celebrate yourself

  1. Ah Happy Belated Birthday Debbie.

    I love birthdays, enjoy my own obviously lol but I love making a big fuss of other’s on theirs too. My friend’s often get woken up by an early morning phonecall of us ALL singing Happy Birthday to them down the phone. I love organizing surprises for people too on any special occasion, birthdays, mother’s day’s, baby’s birth’s (sent my two friends new mother pampering packs when they had their daughter’s). I’ve surprised my Mum with a trip to The Ritz, a trip to a Spa, my husband a day’s Kayaking etc. Just love any excuse to make someone feel special, think maybe I should have gone in to event planning lol (would have been kinder to my purse).

    My youngest son’s birthday is Xmas Eve, i don’t think he’ll love it when he get’s older so I’m going to give him a half birthday and throw a party for him on the 24th of June each year when he’s older. I always feel a bit sorry for people with birthday’s so close to Xmas.

    I hope you had a lovely day xx

  2. I thoroughly agree! Magical dates that never lose their sparkle – just seeing them written down.
    My eldest daughter was born on my brother’s birthday, 17th January, and although that date was already kind of special it instantly became the most important date in my life – and 26 years of parenthood have not diminished that excitement.
    I believe in celebrating birthdays – just wishing someone a happy birthday makes me feel good – an acknowledgement that everyone is special and everyone is equal – one birthday per person – I love that equality.
    It’s quite contagious too – my girls always make sure we all have special birthdays. My son is just beginning to realise he’s not the only one who has one! Bless him, he’s only 20! Ha!
    Love this post!

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