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Birthdays should be a day to celebrate, says Sarah Cowen-Strong

By Sarah Cowen-Strong | Woman | Published:

Birthdays? What do we think? For such a joyous occasion, it’s funny how they divide the country – a little bit like Brexit.

Celebrate your special day

Just over half the country love them and just under half loathe their very mention.

I am definitely in the former camp, having started celebrating my recent dum-de-dumth birthday – in my head at least – several weeks earlier. . .

I started negotiating not to work a late shift, wondering what cakes to take in and feeling a little bit the centre of attention back in January.

If that sounds a little over-the-top, take note I am not taking the day off. I’m a birthday devotee, but there are plenty of others even more devoted who would not contemplate life carrying on as normal on their big day.

Others, and people of all ages are in the loathe it brigade. I find them hard to fathom.

Many, and especially, youngsters, seem upset at the great age they are reaching. The fact that they are still not even half my age seems to go amiss as they grumble at reaching such a hideous milestone.

It’s nonsense. Birthdays are for celebrating your very existence, being remembered by friends and family and indulging in a good old spot of nostalgia.

However much wine is involved in my grown-up birthday shenanigans, I am always transported back to birthdays of my childhood.

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They were certainly not extravagant affairs – no legions of relatives and in the days before party-bagged tea parties – so probably only two presents and a handful of cards. But what cards! Anything embossed or filled with glitter would fill me with delight.

It’s those I miss now as I check to see how many Facebook one-liners I will attract.

I can see no reason in trying to avoid notching up another year. Why bother. You’ll only be older next year – God willing. And this is where I do get a little impatient with the birthday naysayers, who don’t seem to relish the fact they’re still here – alive, watching another spring and seeing the sun in the sky, Plenty of dearly loved people aren’t. How dearly would those taken too soon love just one more birthday.

I don’t get as cross with those who don’t want to be at the centre of a lot of fuss, realising there are some people who really aren’t comfortable with a helium balloon tied to their coat and a surprise barbershop choir popping up with a chorus.

And I am genuinely beginning to sympathise a little more, as I grow older,with those who are stifled by the concept of birthdays running out – fewer to celebrate than have passed. A marking of time that becomes too sobering if dwelt on.

So, let’s not. Let’s enjoy the birthdays we have, hang out the bunting, wait for the postman and thank our lucky stars.

Sarah Cowen-Strong

By Sarah Cowen-Strong

Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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