On Birthday Depressions and Realizations

My birthday is coming up in a week and backtracking to several years ago, when this time of the yea...

My birthday is coming up in a week and backtracking to several years ago, when this time of the year comes, I already feel depressed.   I didn’t feel like celebrating it.  Yes there’s a part of me that I did want to see my family and friends and I would feel grateful for having been remembered.  But I didn’t understand it myself why I was feeling down whenever my birthday was coming up.

“What does a happy birthday really mean?”  I often ask that.  Does that mean throwing a big party so I could celebrate it with the people I know?   Should that mean getting drunk one night out with friends and feel a terrible hangover the next day, but laugh anyway?  Or having quite a budget so I could shop all I want?  Will those make a birthday truly happy?  I did all those, but still, I didn’t feel excited nor happy whenever my birthday was coming up, or that it already came.  The day after my birthday was back to ordinary nothing close to celebratory. 

I used to have great memories of my birthdays when I was still a child.   What happened?  I remember that life was more comfortable back then.   But when I was in my teen up to college years, times were hard for the family financially and comfortable living was tamed. 

I will never forget a life-changing moment when we didn’t celebrate fancily like others did after graduating from college.  We just ate out as a family.  My mom whispered to me, “Pasensya na anak, ito lang kaya naming.”  I was crushed.  Not because I wanted something big, but because I felt her pain as a mother.  I know that she wanted to give the best for me, but at that time, that’s all they could.  From then on, I committed to support them with their needs and other expenses as soon as I get a job.   I also disciplined myself to be practical in all my choices that I became hard on myself, that celebrating on birthdays was already a luxury.

I always felt empty, incomplete, lost, discontented and depressed whenever November kicks in.  No cake nor spaghetti could beam me up on my birthday.  Yes I would spend the day with family and friends but I still felt unhappy.  I get depressed when I am not where I wanted myself to be in.  I always recall on what happened in a year and when nothing's changed, I just wanted to hide.  It's the same old ordinary me, so what's to celebrate?

There was a particular year that my ex was out the whole day on my birthday and didn’t plan anything for that day.  But when he came home with his colleagues, he bought them dinner and hosted drinks too.  If not for the visitors, there would be no dinner nor drinks on my birthday.  I cried inside.  I hated birthdays after that.

What changed?
Meeting Macky helped me realize a lot of things.  He likes celebrating birthdays with a bang.  He likes reunions, good food, almost-unlimited drinks and live band music when celebrating birthdays.  I still didn’t.   But I do love his zest for life, the fire in his heart and the energy he puts into creating a memorable birthday for himself and for me. 

In 2009, I went out of the country by myself to welcome my birthday as a renewed person (came out of my annulment in 2008).  It was a trip to reflect, to soul-search, and to plan what to do with my life.      While I was gone, Macky secretly called up our friends to welcome me with a surprise party.  Even if he knew I didn’t like parties, he still concerted efforts to cook food, to set up band and decorate the house.  It was one of the sweetest gestures he did for me.  Even if just a few showed up because it was raining, just knowing he did all that for me, was enough to make me happy.

From then on, I realized that birthdays should still be celebrated.  It’s like starting from scratch.  It means forgetting the old you and working on your new version for another year.  So what if I didn't achieve the goal I set for myself?  There's still another year.  It’s a day of thanksgiving for the blessings, for what happened (good or bad), and for another year given to make things right.  Whatever the depressing memories I had on my birthdays should be erased because it didn’t help me grow, mature and move up.  It should just serve as a reminder of what should not be and not be a determiner of what I should be, which is turning my heart cold and hard. 

Since that year, my birthday perspectives became clear.  I welcome my birthdays with joy in my heart.  I learned to appreciate the blessings I receive, my kids, my hubby, my job, my healthy parents.  I also lowered the expectations I have on myself which I think contributed a lot to my birthday blues. I still don’t like throwing a big party for myself though.  I like it intimate and simple.  I like being in the company of my loves and my close friends.   I couldn’t thank Macky enough for helping me realize that no matter how life gets hard, birthdays should still be looked forward to and should serve as a reminder that you were born into this world for a purpose.   

With this, allow me to joyfully greet myself in advance, Happy Birthday To Me! J

~Was there a time in your life that you felt depressed when your birthday’s coming up?  Why?~  

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  1. Leovelyn Viñas RamosNovember 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I feel for you muthers! There were times when you just have to sleep it over and let the day pass because you have nothing special to do on your birthday! The worst part is, the people around you don't remember it as well... Too bad.

  2. Happy Birthday (advance)! My birthday falls on Nov 2 and )I used to get depressed too. A lot that I cry pa (and the time ba naman - after all saints day. Ironically, when I was young, my parents celebrate my birthday in a big way (kasi I had asthma and I get attacks usually this time of the year kaya to make me happy, I have those big bday parties). When I became a mom and the nurturer, it seemed like sila na lang iniintindi ko and nobody cares about me (drama). but I always end up with greeting cards and surprise birthday cake from my kids na nawawala ang senti mode ko.

  3. Advance happy birthday Louise ! With age comes the wisdom to know the difference of what really matters. Continue growing beautiful inside and out . Blessings to you and your family and hope to meet you soon.

  4. I don't really get depressed on my birthday (even if I'm approaching the so-called mid life crisis hehehe)...I just get a little bit more introspective every time. I also don't like grand celebrations and I favor the intimate small parties also. There was a time I celebrated alone, on Manila Bay, watching the sun set as I munched on a cheeseburger with fries(tipid pa hahaha!). I was just thanking God and enjoying the beauty of the sunset.

    Happy birthday sis! Be joyful always.

  5. Am I seeing a pattern for November celebrants?? :-) Just kidding...belated happy birthday to you sis!

  6. Sheena Mamaril MalateNovember 11, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Advance happy birthday Ms. Louise! Wishing you a great start for the coming year! More blessings to come and more power to your blog! :)

  7. nkakadepress lang for me is pag ung expected mo makaalala sa bday mo un pa ung hindi mgpaparamdam sayo.ehehe.pero im always looking forward with happy thoughts sa bday ko no matter kung may handa man o wala.. advance happy bday!!

  8. This is very wistful and yet I know it makes you appreciative of your birthday. Celebrating birthdays is a blessing and a reminder of the gift of life.

    ☻/ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。°♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ

    /▌*˛˚ღ •˚Wishing You Tons of Happy Birthday Blessings
    Filled with Peace, Love, & Abundant Joy!★.✰

    / \ ˚. ★ *˛
    ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ " •* ˚ "

    Also, given the events in the Philippines, I do hope you/your loved ones are safe in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
    Praying for all...
    Sending prayers and blessings your way!

  9. Happy Birthday Sis! Stay happy and blessed.

    Mommy Maye

  10. I know way too many people with November birthdays too: even among my Facebook friends...


  11. Thank you very much @ElizOF for being there since I started! Have a great day. I appreciate your prayers for the Philippines. God bless too! :)

  12. aaawww... Thanks @Kristine Cauneran Yup.. happy thoughts always!

  13. Maraming salamat @Sheena Mamaril Malate for your support since I started! Take care and God bless always! :)

  14. Thank you @Aileen_A I'm thankful always for the gift of life! Thanks for being there ever since I was just starting! You're already a gift to me! God bless! :)

  15. Hello @Sarah Bucu Thank you for this beautiful message! May you also be blessed always! Take care dear!

  16. Belated Happy Birthday dearest @Marie !!! :) Parang sadyang madadrama lang ata talaga ang mga November birthday celebrators! hahaha! :) sending you my love Marie!!! :)

  17. Babies made during the LOVE month, February! :) hehehe!

  18. Aaaww.. but that was before @Leovelyn Viñas Ramos now, I embrace life because it's a gift, remember by people or not.. I'm thankful. God bless dear! You are a gift to me as well! :) Thanks for your support always!

  19. I love this post. ... This reminds me of my & my siblings birthdays when we were small , there were no celebrations . I am glad that my child didn't experience what we experience. I always throw a birthday party for her ever year. I am also happy that I can make other kids' birthdays wonderful thru my Lootbags which I sell online ..(www.facebook.com/TreatsbyK )




Mommy Practicality is a home and lifestyle blog that's about positive, informative, 
inspirational and helpful sharing of life experiences of a working mom 
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