Skip to main content

The end of my fascination with birthdays



Every time I openly admit that I’m not a huge fan of birthdays, I can’t help but noticing the astonished expression that slowly appears on people’s faces.

A few days ago, finally, someone had the courage to tell me why: ‘I see you as someone who appreciates being the center of attention. On your birthday everything is finally and legitimately about you. A person like you should love such a thing.’

Let it be clear: I am not a self-center megalomaniac with a helpless delusion for grandeur. Yet, I didn’t deny it: I do enjoy grabbing the attention of the people around me as a part of my intensely communicative personality. As a storyteller, I’ve developed a need for a permanent ‘audience’ that is focused and attentive on me when I require their attention.

So how come I don’t like birthdays?

It’s not always been this way. I actually started out as a birthday fanatic: when I was younger, I counted the months, weeks, hours left to the big day. I waited eagerly for that day to come and satisfy my need for gratuitous demonstrations of affection and to finally get that present I had been waiting for.

Then a few years ago something changed. My childish materialism gradually faded and I realized that the closer it got, the more I tried to forget it. I just wanted to store it in the back of my brain and keep it there for as long as the damn calendar allowed me to. I even started feeling bothered me when people reminded me. And when the day came I just couldn’t wait for it to be over.

It’s been hard to admit it, ‘cause I didn’t want to believe that I am now one of those bitter people who hate birthdays. I never really understood that kind of cynicism, it never made sense to me.

You know… I happen to be surrounded by beautiful, caring people who don’t want to miss the chance to remind me how much they love me. They come with cakes and presents and cards, they make expensive phone calls from the other side of the world and write me letters or emails and messages.

And I feel so grateful. Because at this stage I feel like I know enough of the world to no longer take anything for granted. And the fact that someone offers me even a small fraction of their time fills me with joy and pride. But it also makes me wonder if I deserve it.

And as I feel grateful I also worry. For different reasons. I look at my life and I see that the people who celebrate me today are not the same as five years ago. And I try to picture the people of the future and I can’t see clearly and I don’t know what to expect.

Everything is changed. And I’ve grown up, I’ve become an adult. And I don’t see the point of celebrating the thing that made me this way: an adult with an inexplicable aversion for birthdays and a slight fear of happiness.


And, at the end of the day, all the fuss about birthdays is that they are a temporal reminders of your progression in life. But I think it's not bad if you sometimes decide to go back, instead, and look for that annoying child who counted the minutes to his birthday and ask him to teach you how to be happy again.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Valerio's Press Review: "GQ Magazine, April 2021"

Welcome to Valerio's Press Review, the series in which I read a magazine or newspaper (okay... look at the pictures) and write mean things about the people in them. It's fun! 1) A revitalising afternoon of clam-digging on Southend beach? A day of snorkelling by the port of Dover? Make sure you pack Rolex’s newest submarine watch! You don’t want the fish to think you’re poor.  2) Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection. The question on everybody’s lips is: do you really want to look like your rich friend’s beach house bathroom? The answer is, and always will be, yes. 3) Sam Claflin for Barbour. A GQ insider told me that his puzzled expression is due to the fact that, for the whole duration of the photo shoot, Sam couldn’t help but wonder if he’d remembered to feed the cat before he left his flat. Models... they’re just like us <3 4) GQ’s Staycation must-have items. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring one item with you, what would it be? Duh! A £32

La (Not So) Dolce Vita

Being Italian has been the single most beneficial asset in my dating life. Growing up in Naples, I was just a guy. In London, I became a “charming” Italian guy. In Milan, my Neapolitan accent is a liability. In the UK, apparently, it’s the sexiest sound known to man (and woman), the immigrant version of the siren song.   After taking residence in the Big Smoke, I quickly realised that Brits have a very precise idea of the Italian man, made up of mainly preconceived notions. They’re harmless for the most part, certainly romanticised, often flattering, but prejudiced nevertheless.   You know what they say: if you can’t beat them, join them. And join them I did. I first came to terms with the extent of my super-power that one time in 2015 when I held the door for a middle-aged woman at a Pret in North London. I said something like “after you” or “good morning” and as soon as she heard the effortless way with which the Rs rolled off my tongue she almost dropped her butternut squash salad o

Getting on with it

A friend of mine messaged me the other day about an opportunity to pitch a piece for a new magazine looking for articles about happiness and well-being. She swiftly withdrew her suggestion upon realising I had literally nothing to contribute to the subject. I can’t seem to shake off the ever so slight suspicion that my particularly abrasive brand of defeatist sarcasm is unlikely to go down well with an audience that’s after feel-good stories for a much-needed start-of-week pick-me-up (that’s enough hyphens for today). Life in the time of Miss Rona is predictably slow. Aside from the customary episodes of wretchedness which stud my life that I have already discussed at length on this platform, I have very little to write about. I am of course binge-watching the Crown (hence me casually using words like “wretchedness”). I have also decided to finally do something about my life-long shampoo addiction and reduce the frequency of my hair washing from once every 24 hours to once every 30 hou