Today is my REDACTED birthday. In addition to a sprinkle-topped chocolate brownie (with a single candle) from my wonderful new office mate, who also took me out for a burrito after class, I also received four text message and social media wishes from family members, and an envelope containing stickers and a pen from BuzzFeed. I'm not ever kidding. Check out the photo. Also, a student sang part of the Happy Birthday song to me when I walked into class. Not the whole thing though because that would have been too much. I still made her do the in-class assignment.
So, this is how I know I am old: the birthday celebration isn't what it used to be. At first, you get a candle in your cake for each year you've been alive...until it becomes a fire hazard. You get one for your first birthday and another each year after that until you circle back around to one again. That marks the time when you stop getting presents. I remember back when I couldn't wait to see what presents I got. I'd hop out of bed first thing in the morning all concerned about whether I'd get regular chocolate cake or the fated red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Now, I'm lucky to even remember it myself. Also, I don't post my birthday on Facebook because if you can't remember it without technological reminders, it must not be that important. I don't want to read 200 insincere birthday wishes from people who don't talk to me any other day of the year. Seriously, I really don't.
Today I remembered my own birthday before I had finished my second cup of coffee. I think that's pretty good. The fact that my office mate remembered is very impressive. The fact that BuzzFeed remembered...well, that may have been a fluke. I'm sure it was a fluke. The package had been forwarded from my old address. It was supposed to have arrived weeks ago. Honestly, I can't even figure out how BuzzFeed knows my mailing address. I can't find it in my web profile anywhere. BuzzFeed may be stalking me. In any case, it was nice to have a package to open on my actual birthday even if it was an accident.
In summation, one candle, no gifts: Every birthday after the 29th one is just another anniversary of the day you got old.