the birthday grinch

Funny how a person gets older and stays so much the same. I wrote this post on my 37th birthday (two years ago), and I could pretty much re-post it this year and call it a day.

I’m still boring and ultra-practical. I still don’t like birthday hullabaloo (or Halloween). I still get all melancholy on my birthday for who knows what reason.

I’m totally a birthday grinch.

There is really no pleasing me. Buy me gifts and write me gushing words, and I will blush and roll my eyes and say, “you shouldn’t have.” Ignore (or forget) my birthday, and I’ll most likely be sad and disappointed.

Lose lose lose. (Can you imagine being married to me?)

I’m sitting here in a hotel room in Pennsylvania (hi, PA friends!, tired from the drive (Gabe fell asleep before 8:00), a little bummed that the pool is being renovated, and thinking, “Why can’t I just be a normal person who has a lovely birthday?”

And I think I’ve stumbled upon a thought. A revelation of sorts.

I know my life is just way better when I’m thinking of others instead of myself. So, a day about me just kind of feels wrong. But I also know that other people like to be a blessing to me, and when I rob them of that, boo on me.

Soooo, it’s like this big conundrum, this tension, this emotional/mental dilemma. And I’m easily overwhelmed, so it all just turns into a big swirl of yucky weirdness and then I feel ridiculous for having a brain and heart that cannot just be simple and N-O-R-M-A-L for one brief day a year at least.


So, how about this?

I am going to wake up tomorrow with zero expectations. I am going to focus on others. I am not going to worry about things. I am going to ride happily to NYC and enjoy the city and not fret if I forgot things and refuse to worry if my birthday dinner costs too much.

I’m going to accept birthday greetings (online and in real life) graciously. I’m not going to anticipate any gifts or surprises, but I will receive them warmly and gratefully if they come. I will even give a real answer instead of “nothing” when people ask me what I want for my birthday.

I’m going to count–and give thanks for–my blessings. Because, goodness knows, there are a BUTTLOAD of them.

Bottom line: I’m going to get over myself.

And enjoy my first day of 39.

I have a feeling this will be a very good (hard, awesome, exciting, adventurous) year.

Anybody else have emotional issues on your birthday, or is it just me?

11 thoughts on “the birthday grinch

  1. jessica

    I feel your pain! I’ve be crazy emotional for the past 5 or so birthdays. its not so much about how I’m treated or how my birthday day is spent or celebrated, it’s more of mm reflecting on things i wish woulda, coulda, shoulda happened by now that haven’t….as the clock keeps ticking. obviously, i’ thankful for the blessings i DO have. 🙂
    Happy November!

  2. Sharon Meekins

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARLA!!!! I am so grateful that the Lord created you! Have a most beautiful and blessed day celebrating wonderful YOU! I pray you have the BESY YEAR EVER! You are loved so much! 🙂 <3

  3. Sharon


    Happy Birthday! And, I may have mentioned this before, but have you heard about doing random acts of kindness for others on your birthday?? (and having others join in if they want. I’m doing it Monday for someone I don’t know, but he died from Cancer and his wife chooses to celebrate his birthdays that way). I haven’t done it yet for my own birthday. Maybe for my next one. Anyways, you said you’d give an honest answer as to what you want for your birthday. So, what is it???? BTW, my girls are celebrating your birthday by dressing up as tigger and a lady bug. The lady bug was supposed to be tinkerbell, but it’s 35 out right now (during the day!!!), so gonna have to wear a warmer costume.

  4. Andrea

    YES YES YES! I am so conflicted about my birthday. I would much rather gather friends and family and people I love or do something for them. That’s how I like to be thankful and celebrate, and I never, never, never want people to feel obligated to wish me happy birthday, send a card, give a gift, show up to whatever gathering I have, etc. Then again, when it goes unnoticed, which happens more the last few years since my birthday is around Thanksgiving for several years and then is the week after for several years. When near Thanksgiving, everyone is away with their families and friends don’t remember or do anything. My brother’s birthday is close to mine so we just have a low-key thing with cake on Thanksgiving. Then I feel guilty and awful for wanting to be celebrated and yet also not wanting others to feel like they need to or have to celebrate me. It’s so weird.

  5. Gaylene Carpenter

    Oops, I was so selfish- Have a wonderful day, one that you enjoy. Live life to the fullest and remember most of all that you are loved.

  6. Gaylene Carpenter

    My birthday and mother’s day, and actually almost all holidays- I just do not like them and struggle not to be “Grinch-like” on them. Today, (this is our Saturday) for Halloween, we are hoping to go to NC Zoo and see the baby cougar cubs and meet up with our five grandchildren, daughter, and son-in-law. I think this is a fun way to celebrate the day! Above all things, I want to remember that this is the day that the Lord has made and rejoice and be glad in it.

  7. Kim

    My doomsday is Mother’s Day…all my magnified failures come crashing down on me and there is no happiness to be found there as Satan’s lies fill my heart. Not sure how to escape that day of dread except to choose otherwise, as you’re doing. Because of course my poor children feel my despair is their fault….”if only we were better”. Not my intention at all and that makes me feel even worse 🙁

    You’re “birthday buddies” with my mother-in-law…Happy Reformation Day to you both!!

  8. Laura

    Hey girl! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have the extreme opposite birthday feelings as you. My birthday (and the days before and the days after AND the weekend before and the weekend after, but ESPECIALLY THE DAY) is like THE. MOST. IMPORTANT day. EVER. Really, I’m like a 10 year old trapped in a 34 year old’s body. Sigh. The earth needs to stop spinning, all banks should be closed, and everyone who is anyone should acknowledge (not with gifts, but that’s cool too) that today is MY DAY. I am hoping (sort of) that I will mature my way out of this. But I’m guessing probably not, and so I’d better have people taking the day off work and partying like it’s 1999 at the cemetary when I’m dead and gone. hahahaha! Birthday extremes, we are! Either way, you’re special and I hope today is as good as any day. Maybe we could just celebrate your mom on your birthday, since she did all the work. ???? Happy Birthed-Marla Day, Chris! 🙂

    1. Sharon

      Had to laugh about the world needing to stop for your birthday. I used to work as an office manager and we’d get a cake each month for all the birthday people, so I knew everyone’s birthdays. One guy told me that we needed to celebrate his birthday for an entire week. The way he said it, even years later, I still have no idea if he was kidding. He didn’t seem like he was at all…..

  9. Bethany

    Happy Birthday Marsy! I love you!!! I hope you have a SUPER day and that you can truly enjoy your NYC adventure (and your special day)!

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