Happy Birthday?

Most of what I have, and will continue to write here, has been about politics, and the changing world as I see it.  This one will be slightly different, a bit more personal, and likely to make it quite clear why I call myself The Rambler.  Today just so happens to be my birthday.  It surprises most people that I have zero appreciation for my own birthday.  For me it is nothing more than a sign that it is time to update my vital statistics.  My lack of excitement does not come with a fear of getting older.  Those who know me realize that I revel in the idea of getting and being old.  I simply do not have any of the pleasant memories that people expect each other to have regarding my birthday.  I know I am by no means unique, but those around me still find it disconcerting when I answer their birthday wishes with a grateful smile and a shrug.  I do my best to be grateful towards those who have thought about me, but I cannot seem to dig up the excitement they are looking for.

All this being said, there are two people who tend to make me angry when they do not understand, my parents.  I can see how people who did not grow up in my house would not understand.  I can also understand my brother not getting it.  He was much younger and had a vastly different experience with my parents.  I would also not go so far as to refer to my parents as abusive, simply misguided.  As a middle-aged parent now myself, I can see how they were trying to make sure I achieved the best I could in life.  I will admit in my darker feelings I change that to they wanted me to be someone they could actually be proud of.  But that thought process is likely disingenuous.

To explain further I will need to lay out a tad bit more circumstantial history.  I had the opportunity as a kid to attend a disgustingly expensive private schools.  My family was middle class and therefore not exceptionally wealthy.  So, sending me to this school was an investment for them.  They expected me to take full advantage of it.  One could argue that I did not.  To add insult to injury my birthday fell right in and about report card time. I grew up not with feelings of excitement and joy at the idea of my birthday, but instead feelings of disappointment and guilt.  I do not have memories of parties, smiles, family and friends. I have memories of angry lectures, and obligatory birthday dinners. Even if this is looked at in a purely materialistic sense, I either did not receive presents, or had them promptly taken away.

As an aside, I find it remarkable how those few younger years of our lives have such a dominant impact on the rest of our lives.  At my age I have been an adult for longer than I was ever a kid.  Yet my experiences as a child impact my life today more than I would like to admit.  Even after the many years of therapy it took me to come to terms with that, I still have a difficult time with emotional connections to other people.

Now that all of this has been laid out, does this mean that I had a horrible childhood? Absolutely not! I grew up quite privileged.  I just never developed the positive feelings that most people tend to have around their birthdays.  I do not expect anyone else to get it, or even genuinely care when it comes down to it.  But we come back to the topic.  It really pisses me off that my parents do not get it. Even if they do not agree with my feelings, they were there.  I have told them how I remember things.  They do not disagree with my recollections.  They simply cannot understand why not developing an appreciation for my birthday in my first two decades of life, meant that I never would. They cannot see how two decades of their disappointment and resentment would impact who I am today.

The result of this latest ramble is, in the end, it does not really matter.  As of today, I am forty-seven years old.  I no longer need the approval of my mommy and daddy.  And today, despite being my birthday, is just another day.  My hope for you dear reader is that it is a good one.

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