It's now officially my birthday. I don't normally make a big deal out of my birthday, mainly because it's the day after St. Patrick's Day* and if you talk too loud or make a big deal out of anything, you're bound to piss off some hungover people. However, I did want to mention that this year will mark the tenth year of my own birthday tradition: taking someone out to eat.
For some people, this concept seems strange. After all, if it's your birthday, then people should be taking you out, not vice-versa... right? I think it's like that for most people. And I've also come across a few people who seemed genuinely irritated that the birthday boy would try to pick up the check. But I also noticed that a lot of people get down and depressed on their birthdays, and ever since I've started going out for a birthday meal and picking up the tab, I've actually had a pretty great birthday each year. Plus, I usually only go out to eat with one or two people, so it's not like I spend the rest of the next year paying for one meal.
I believe --and I may be a bit confused or perhaps this is the revisionist historian in me speaking up-- but I believe that it was 10 years ago, for my 21st birthday, when I went out to dinner with my friend Zach. I can't even remember the steak restaurant's name, and I think it's not even there anymore, but it was in North Boulder. I also remember that unlike most people who turn 21, I didn't drink anything because it was the first (and I think only) time I'd been on antibiotics, fighting a nasty case of bronchitis. I think that that was actually part of the motivation to go to dinner: I didn't want to feel pressured to go to bars and drink and get annoyed by loud crowds. So, I did what I wanted to do for my birthday.
If you're going to celebrate a birthday, I'd highly recommend this practice. It's a way to take the focus off of you for a little bit, and you can feel magnanimous for a few hours. Admittedly, I suppose that by being magnanimous, you could potentially bring the focus back to you. Still, it's nicer to hang out with a good friend or two over some tasty food and a nice conversation than to be "alone in the crowd," dwelling on your own mortality and getting depressed that your party didn't turn out right.
In any case, happy birthday to me!
*Incidentally, my mom's birthday is January 1st, which means that we both have birthdays on what could arguably be called our nation's two semi-official Hangover Days.