Happy Birthday To Me!!

I’m not one of those people who shy away from celebrating their birthdays. I think we all should celebrate the fact that we’re alive, healthy, and rich enough to have computers (or lucky enough to live near a library that has computers) to read blogs like TBF. In fact, I such a fan of birthdays, that I even like helping other people celebrate their birthdays.

However, a strange this happen on the way to old age. I stop wanting presents.  Not that I don’t appreciate the things that are given to me (silver Nanos aside). It’s just that I stop WANTING material things.

My brother and I use to joke with my mom about how she would ask for the simplest things for her birthday and mother’s day ( I distinctly remember her asking for tissue- yes tissue, one year).  I never understood my mom’s choices in gifts, until I turned 30.  Is it as we get older our material needs become less and less? Or is it because we have everything we want?  Or is it that after years and years of glittering sweaters and books you’ll never read, you would rather not add any new members to the junk branch of your family?

Note: There’s one thing that I usually do and that is purchase myself something I’ve really wanted all year and I think this year I want to give other people opportunities. Not that I’m all extra mushy ( I am ), but why not give someone else the opportunity to achieve as well.

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Comments

  1. Samantha says

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. I feel that way already, and I’m twenty. It hit me at about age sixteen, and when my parents would ask me what I want, I couldn’t answer them, because there wasn’t anything. Now I usually recieve useful things like socks and cute underwear. :)

  2. says

    i think as you get older you become more discerning about what you like vs. what you don’t like. quality becomes a priority over quantity.

    happy birthday! i’ll be celebrating too at the end of this month.

  3. Liz says

    Happy birthday Kathryn!  It is also my birthday today too! (Maybe that is why I dig this blog so much!)

    I am not 30 yet but I already feel like I have to be very choosy with what I tell others to get me for gifts.  I either want something that I have a genuine need for or would rather have something that would not add to the junk at home, like a bottle of wine or a gift card to dine out.

    I think your choice of gift is inspiring.

  4. Shante says

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATHRYN! My birthday looms ever closer as well; April 11th to be exact. I feel you on the material gift thing. At some point in life you realize what’s really important, like good health, family, a roof over your head etc.

    I remember when I turned 20. I was SO depressed. I had gone from “something-teen” to a whole other pronunciation, “T-W-…” Oy! It seems silly now, but I’m bracing myself for next year when I have to go thru a new pronunciation, “T-H..”

    My saving Grace is that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my short life. I’m writing a dissertation that I’m determined to complete before the “T-H…” rolls in. And hey, how many folks can say that?

    Enjoy your birthday and take joy in knowing the dramatic, positive impact you’ve had on your readers.

  5. says

    Happy Birthday!  It’s my birthday too – the big 4-0!!!!

    As for gifts, I agree with you.  Although if it comes in a little blue bag (aka Tiffany), well I wouldn’t say no!!!

  6. christal says

    I think its great what you are doing for your birthday.  I understand what you mean by saying there is nothing you want anymore.  I havent asked for anything for Christmas or Birthday in about 3 years.  I think it b/c I dont need anything right now.  I believe in giving people what they need more than what they want. Its great you are giving a “blessing” (b/c thats all an opportunity is) for your birthday.  You will continue to be blessed for this.

  7. zenzele says

    I love birthdays, as well, and I celebrated my 39th on the 26th of March.  I agree with you – I don’t want presents, and my friends usually take me out to dinner or something, cause they know I like to eat.  I have enough “stuff” to go around, so I don’t need any more.  I did buy myself a bigger iPod this year, though, because I caught a great deal.  Next year, I’m treating myself to a vacation.

  8. says

    I think it has to do with being in control of yourself as well. You no longer depend on other people to get you the things you want, you know have the ability (and cash..generally speaking), to buy your own things.

    Also, as I’ve grown older I’ve realized it’s less to do with things and more to do with enjoying moments.

  9. yoyo says

    My birthday is TODAY!! too.  I also dont expect much these days, I just take the day off of work and do nothing.

    Happy Birthday!

    Yo.

  10. says

    Happy Birthday girl!!  I love birthdays too!  I find that its not so much the stuff as it is having people rememember and make you feel special, you know?  Make sure you leverage your birthday- tell everyone you can – so everyone can share it with you!! Cheers!

  11. Florence says

    I know what Kathryn means by not wanting presents as you get older.  Reminds me vividly of my father who would always store away the Birthday and Christmas gifts he received from his children every year.  We would never see him use them.  I use to get really upset that all the effort his children expended not to mention the precious pocket money / allowance that seem to go to waste not to mention the seemingly unintentional insult to the gift giver.  I just realized in my own advanced age that I do have everything I really need and the rest is gravy.  What I need I can buy for myself without the disappointment in the wrong colour or taste in genre (or even quality). I think gift cards or charitable donations are terrific as presents! I certainly don’t think of them as a cop out.  As an aside I also realize that as a gift giver it is important to aim for what you know the receiver will like rather than what you would like them to like and not embarrass people with over extravagance.

  12. says

    I find myself not craving material things like I used to also.  When my birthday comes around, I’m just happy to be in the company of friends and family.  I think some of it has to do with getting older and having my priorities shifted, especially in light of loved ones around me getting sick. It really puts things into perspective.  As much as oohing and aahing over handbags and shoes is a fun hobby, at the end of the day i’m just grateful to be healthy and around the people I love. But, i must admit I think a lot of my energy for guilty pleasures has trickled towards dining out and traveling.  After all you can get a great dress at Forever 21, but not a great bottle of wine!

  13. Ithica says

    Happy Birthday fellow Aries! I celebrate on the 10th. I feel ya though. On my birthday I’m happy to just R-E-L-A-X! I’m happy if my family takes me to eat at a nice restaurant and just chill out. A really good birthday consists of flannel pjs, fuzzy socks & a good dvd. This combo usually results in me lightly snoring & asleep by 10PM.

    ENJOY YOUR DAY GIRL!!!

  14. Raquel says

    Happy, Happy Birthday!!! Well, I always had this problem of not knowing what i want for my birthday. As long as I am closed to my love ones, what else would i ask for… Just to be loved more and more… I wish you a great day!!!

  15. says

    Happy Birthday…and you are completely RIGHT in that the older you get the less you want….or you tend to ask for the more practical things…I remember being 7 and my mom giving me clothes and having a fit because it wasn’t a doll or a toy…this year turning only 26, I have found myself asking for a new vacuum and things for my house that i need….and not so much WANT…

    ENJOY your day…relax…go shopping…let it be YOUR day!!!

  16. Toni says

    Happy birthday Kathryn! My 25th b-day is next Wed. 4/11. Aries are truly special people! I haven’t gotten where you are in terms of not wanting anything, but I will say that my wish list has become significantly shorter and more simplistic over the years. :)

    P.S. – I heard you on Tom Joyner a few of weeks ago, read a snippet of your advice in Black Enterprise recently, and just received your book today…I love it! Keep up the great work!

  17. Reeswife says

    Happy Birthday!!! You look good, girl! I can see the weight loss. Hang in there, you look fabulous. Enjoy your day/weekend!

  18. says

    Happy birthday! What a great post!

    My birthday’s coming up on the 14th and I feel the same way about not wanting materialistic things. I’m very happy to be alive, healthy, happy, to have a job and to have accomplished a lot of what I wanted this year.

    I think as we get older we realize the materialistic things don’t do much in terms of gratification or happiness. For me just having dinner in the company of friends is good enough.

  19. Jaclyn says

    I agree completely. I turn 24 this month, and while I love the sentiment behind gifts, I don’t care at all what the gift actually is. There’s really nothing I want, so I look at gifts more as a friend or family member’s way to tell me, “I think about you and feel I know you enough that I think you will like that.” And that sentiment to me is absolutely touching.

  20. cathy says

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you had a wonderful birthday! :-) I agree with you that birthdays are something to celebrated and not something to be depressed about. I love birthdays!

  21. Jade says

    Happy Birthday!

    I am the same way you are- although I stopped wanting gifts in my early 20s. I find that I generally have the things I need and enough of the things I want- also, no one else’s choices ever fit my tastes exactly right. So I ask for gift certificates- to Target, to Starbucks, to Barnes & Noble, etc. That way I know I’ll get something I want for my b-day (because I’ll be the one to pick it out!)

  22. Nancy B. says

    Happy birthday Kathryn!!! 

    Yesterday was my birthday as well.  And yeah, the present thing gets harder as you get older.  People always ask me what I want for my birthday and when I tell them I don’t know, they are incredulous – how can you not know what you want for your birthday? 

    Truth is, I’d much rather have my friends take me out for a nice dinner than get “stuff”.  If they really want to get me something, a gift certificate for a spa or my favorite store is appreciated more than a handful of CD’s or a new sweater.

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