No more candles

No more Candles

I turned a year older this month. I know that probably calls for some sort of celebration, maybe a party replete with streamers, cake, party hats and candles. Lots of candles. Yet, it doesn’t feel warranted on any level.

Contrary to what you may think, I actually love birthdays. I look forward to them with an eagerness that could rival a child’s impatience on Christmas Eve. The night before my birthday, sleep eludes me. Every year, I tell myself that this time will be different but it isn’t. I stay up past midnight, knowing that close friends will send wishes my way. There is a certain assured feeling about the whole thing that makes me ponder on this primal need to connect, to feel loved and to feel special.

What is the significance of a birthday, after all? Celebrating the day we screamed our way into existence hardly seems to justify cake, unless you are a ten-year-old with an insatiable desire for cake (which doesn’t necessarily imply that we need a birthday  at the age of 37!).

Yes, that’s how old I am now. I am officially past the barrier of worrying about what people will think of me when I tell them that I am a 37-year-old mother who works from home, blogs a good deal and dreams enviously of a day when she will sell many, many copies of her unwritten book.

A year ago, I tentatively used to tell people that I blog, acutely self-conscious and shuffling my feet in embarrassment. Now, I’m on the verge of printing out business cards with a logo and a fancy font that proclaims the same thing. (I’m kidding!)

To a large extent, social media with its in-your-face proclamation of everything from birthdays to what the pet hamster had for dinner, has been responsible. While my public, blogging persona is pretty active, churning out posts and promoting them everywhere, the introvert in me stays wrapped in a protective cocoon of comfort, sharing what I choose with the people I count closest to my heart.

Truth be told, there is a greater sense of calm, more happiness and far more love in my life right now than ever.So, the dichotomy is this, I realise: I love birthdays; it’s the public celebration that I don’t love anymore.

It wasn’t always this way-this need to break away from  pomp. Somewhere between the thirty-six candles and the blown-out wishes, my heart seemed to say Enough. Take a breath, slow down, pause and reflect upon what it means to have lived on this planet for thirty-seven years.

In that stillness, in that glorious infinitesimal second that is a cocktail of emotions across nearly four decades, my soul whispers, ‘Celebrate the day when you are at complete peace with yourself.’ Now that is a day I won’t mind lighting  a candle. Or thirty-seven.



Click here for the Yeah Write kickoff post #210

54 thoughts on “No more candles

  1. 37? You are kidding Shailaja. But I totally understand what you have written. Birthdays can be as celebratory or as peaceful as we want them to be. 🙂 But birthdays in particular need to be special no matter what is what my thought would be.

  2. Happy birthday, my friend! The older I get, the less I celebrate my birthday but the more I celebrate my friends and the love of my life.

  3. I want a cake no matter what age I am… and those 12 am wishes by dear ones. And public celebs is a no no… too loud I would say. But the happy feel on that day itself is so special. 🙂

  4. I haven’t been big on birthdays in that I rarely have huge celebrations. I love celebrating it with close friends though. The biggest birthday I probably had was for my 30th with about 18 friends and I had a BBQ. As for cakes and candles, I only do cakes if someone has bought it…else it’s no big deal.

    Happy birthday again! 🙂

  5. Shailaja happy birthday?.Wah what a thought provoking post. Really enjoyed read. Will try to put it into practice.???

  6. Shailaja happy birthday?.Wah what a thought provoking post. Really enjoyed read. Will try to it into practice.???

  7. I haven’t celebrated birthdays after my 5th birthday. I wanted to have parties and make a big deal of my birthday but I was always told that I am not a small kid now and I am past the age of celebrating birthdays. I guess that is where my aversion to birthdays started. I don’t look forward to the day because I know it is going to be just another year! I will light a candle when I have a proper celebration 😉 😛

      1. Yay! How about I come down to Bangalore this year 😉 Just kidding 😀 But I am looking forward to the day I will finally meet you 🙂

  8. That is such a calm and lovely way of ushering in another year. I actually don’t care much for cake but if the family brings it, I cut it. 🙂 I do love baking a cake for everyone else’s birthday most times. My visiting card does mention my blog but it is nothing blingy. The irony is that I hardly carry it in my purse. Yep, I am that mad. 🙂

    My wish is that you always stay this warm, sorted, spectacular and naughty. 😉 Lots of love

  9. I think i’ll still want cake even if i was 80. But then that’s perhaps my affinity towards cake.
    I’ve already wished you, so not doing so again. But my thoughts resonate very closely with yours.

    And as for what you do, i am glad that there is jo shuffling feet or apprehension when you talk about what you do and where you are. You are doing what you do best and that makes you happy. So be proud and continue writing. (The ‘bling’ business card is a no, btw) 😛

  10. Happy birthday!??I’ll be celebrating 20 years more than you in just over a month’s time, and I’m excited, too. I also still love my birthday. I always prepare a special treat for myself ? I think I deserve it! I’m sure you do, too!

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