Monday, November 21, 2011


Ah yes, the birthday. Today, I turn 34 years old and each birthday I have seems to matter less and less. However, each birthday my friends and family have seem to matter more and more. Anyway, here’s how I consider the various emotions as birthdays continue to pass by:

Birth – 4 years old: Nobody remembers their birthdays at this age yet these are the birthdays where you get the greatest amounts of toys...and yet all of them are rendered obsolete by the time you’re 5 or 6. I mean, does a 6 year old play with a stuffed animal, a random Bob The Builder Truck, or a Dora The Explorer Coloring Book?

5 years old – 12 years old: The peak of toy gluttony. As a child’s ADD increases throughout childhood, so does the need to get “the hot toy of the moment”. This age is important because kids can now verbalize the gifts they want for their birthday and see it has a free handout from Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Ned and Aunt Ellen. Kids from your class that you never will be friends with past grade school are obligated to bring a gift if invited to your lame ass roller skating party (almost like a wedding!!!).

A smart 10 year old would say, “In lieu of getting me the new Madden game, how about a $50 contribution to a 529 plan for my large college debt I’m going to have when I’m 22 years old?”

13 years old – 16 years old – The best gift at this age is just cold hard cash.

17 years old – I WANT A CAR!!!

18 years old – 20 years old: With most people in college at this age things start to happen. Cash is still king but the checks you used to get from various relatives may dwindle due to indifference by said relative or sadly the death of the relative. Therefore it becomes most important to maximize the gifts you get.


22 years old - 24 years old: These are the most fun birthdays in that the early 20’s are usually the best time of your life in terms of partying and solidifying your lifelong friend base. By this point gifts are usually in the form of a card or a bottle of liquor.

25 years old: Car insurance rates drop for most people this age (YAAAAY!!!) but you begin to have your first quarter-life crisis (WHERE ARE MY MEDS?!?).

26 years old – 29 years old: Things begin to change here. Birthdays now might be spent with your recently married friends who like to be in bed by 11pm but mixed in with your single friends who can still party until 4am. You begin to see the separation from the adult to the young adult.

30 years old: The biggest birthday since turning 21 if only because 30 starts to feel old. From a professional standpoint though, getting into your 30’s means you have something of a career going and hopefully a halfway decent resume.

31 years old to 39 years old: More low key birthdays with friends…maybe a night of bowling or karaoke. The prime of your life.

40 years old: “Life Begins at 40”…right? Probably the last big blowout birthday with friends where you can really push it and party until 2am…that is, assuming you have a babysitter for your kids.

41 years old – 49 years old – Birthdays here are reduced to a night out with one, maybe two couples. Physical ailments may seem to set in…the achy back, the creaky knee, and the old “where did THAT hair come from? That doesn’t belong there!”

50 years old: - Ah yes, the big family gathering. Chances are the kids are almost grown up and it’s always good to have that good old fashioned family dinner. Often a surprise, though with most surprises today, they are not easy to pull off in today’s high tech world.

51 years old – 59 years old: Any birthday beyond this point probably aren’t too much fun and it’s always exacerbated by that wise guy friend who sends you the “another year older? Uh-oh!” birthday card.

59 and half years old: An interesting age in that while this is no party, all of your retirement assets are free to take out without any penalties…this is a good thing.

60 years old: A tender birthday. Once again the family gets together. Maybe Jimmy flies in from Oregon as a surprise or Sally drives all the way up from North Carolina to make sure she doesn’t miss the big day. Gifts are now bought at the “Things Remembered” store and often involve framed pictures.

61 years old – 69 years old: This is where the wheels begin to fall off healthwise although chances are you are retired and if lucky, have a ton of time and money to travel the world and do all of those things you wished you could do in your 20’s (no money) and 30’s and 40’s (damn job….damn kids). Birthdays are now just relegated to going out with the spouse, any local family members, and another couple.

70 years old: AKA the big family reunion birthday. Now you not only have your kids, but your grandkids too. A potential gift is a cruise with other seniors.

71 years old – 79 years old: More health problems persist and sadly your friends begin to pass one. Each birthday is just another year towards joining them. But at least Chili’s gives you a free birthday appetizer if you show them your drivers license.

80 years old: A birthday to reflect. Usually held quietly at a function hall. Here, you usually invite not just family, but any surviving friends. Enjoy your night, as it may be the last time you see all of these people in one room together again…at least until your funeral.

81 Years old to 89 years old: Enjoying the sunset years the best you can. More friends pass away as your go to more funerals than birthday parties. You recognize more names from the obituary section. A nice time to reflect and if one wishes to, write their memoirs to leave as a legacy.

90 years old: The last hurrah. Now you might have four generations of family members surrounding you…IN YOUR ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENCE.

91 years old to 99 years old: Now you’re just taking it day by day and each birthday is a wonder to your family. A birthday present is now in the form of phone call as you listen to Cats In The Cradle one hundred times a day and gently weep.

100 years old: Willard Scott puts your picture up on the Today Show and your life is now totally complete.

Or is it...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent read!