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Is this a normal change for me to consider? Don't want to spend my birthday with family

Tagged as: Family, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (19 March 2017) 9 Answers - (Newest, 20 March 2017)
A male age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Hi, in a few days I'll turn 35, but unlike the other years - when I used to get together with family members, this time I don't feel like celebrating or focusing on it at all.

Is this normal? Thanks..

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (20 March 2017):

You're reaching the stage in life where some of tend to look back with regrets instead of looking forward with hope, so birthdays aren't necessarily occasions to be celebrated.

While I understand your feelings of wanting to be alone (I've been there, but as WOE astutely observes it's not a bad thing to have family who love you and want to celebrate with you. Unfortunately I'm in that position now, have been for more than twenty years, and I've sadly learned that the days you don't feel like having family around can turn into the days when you'll miss them the most.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (20 March 2017):

chigirl agony auntYup. Normal.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (20 March 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt P.S. I am one of those persons who are fine with no celebration at all , because , by curious coincidence, I spent some of my birthdays :

1 ) at the undertaker's arranging my father's funeral ;

2 ) at the hospital undergoing surgery

3 ) at the dentist for fixing an emergency;

4 ) at the E.R. accompanying my son ( heat stroke ).

Hey , I am not complaining, that's few instances and I had many many more birthdays, many of which quite enjoyable .

But, you can see how , as long as nothing bad happens and nobody gets hurt, an uneventful birthday for me already means " a big ,successful celebration " :)

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (20 March 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt Yes, what would be interesting would be to know WHY you wonder if this is " normal ".

I mean, why should it not be normal. People change their minds and their tastes all the time, without it having to mean anything sinister. You spend your holidays at a beach resort for 10 years in a row, and the 11th you say " Enough with that ! I am going to the mountains ". You wear your hair very long- and then one day you cut it short, or you wear it short and then your start to let it grow.

Some times people just are in the mood for a change of pace or a change of scenery. If it does not work, they can always go back to the old one.

So, I wonder if this bothers you because you feel that MANY things in your life have become meaningless ? Like, most of the things that used to give you enjoyment and excitement - just don't anymore ? Or maybe you have trouble feeling " connected " not only at family reunions, but also with your usual friends, or SO, or at work ? Do you feel that you " just can't be bothered " with... everything, basically ?

That could be a significant sign of depression . Or at least of being very stressed out. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about it, or to explore the issue with a counselor.

Otherwise, - just celebrate your birthday as you feel it is best. YOU are the birthday boy, and YOU get to choose what's best to do that day. I don't think you have to feel guilty if for once ( or for ever! ) you want to break the tradition. People change and outgrow traditions. I am sure that for many years your ideal way to celebrate birthdays would have included a clown, pin-the-tail and a big gooey cake. If now you want instead , say, sushi, dry Martini and jazz music - that's not surprising at all.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (19 March 2017):


Don't get your feelings hurt if they wipe their brows with relief, and say they never cared much about it anyway!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (19 March 2017):

Yessiree! It's your big day to spend it exactly as you choose.

Hopefully, you have notified the family weeks in advance that you would like to spend your birthday without the usual family-celebration. That way, they wouldn't go out of their way planning for you; buying costly gifts, and getting all excited.

Just be careful, bashing family-traditions can cause a lot of bad-blood. You have to handle it delicately.

Just a word of advice. Being celebrated by those who love you is not really a bad thing. Life is so short, and when people love you and want to make a big deal out of your birthday; take it as an act of love. Of course you have every right to plan it for yourself.

Just have the right attitude about it; and be gracious to those who choose to make a fuss anyway.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 March 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for the feedback.

Denizen, I'm just wondering whether it's normal to feel like this year, finding such a get-together meaningless..

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (19 March 2017):

janniepeg agony auntActually my whole family is like that. I can go celebrate to make my family happy but when I turned 36 last year I got sick that day that I couldn't even eat a cake so there was no celebration. There are more people who are fine with no celebration than you think. It's nothing to do with your age as I am sure many people want nothing either and who are much younger than you.

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom + , writes (19 March 2017):

Denizen agony auntWhy are you obsessing with this? Obsessing enough to write in to DC for guidance. Can you explain a little more about what's behind your worries?

People deal with this sort of thing every day. Why are you finding it such a problem? You say you are 30+. Surely you have had to make decisions before? Why is this such a biggy?

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