"There is still no cure for the common birthday" - John Glenn

Someone in our household is having a birthday this week, and it's not I.

I suspect most people will agree that birthdays generally lose their shine once you reach a certain age. Even if you enjoy the attention you get for having hung on for another whirl around the sun, it gets harder and harder to accept the reason for the attention. We're all getting older, that's just inevitable; but past a certain point, getting older becomes mildly panic-inducing. There are things you haven't accomplished yet; you are finding some things increasingly difficult to accomplish (eg this morning I worked out and then later went to physical therapy, only to confirm that I am, indeed, too old for two-a-days); you are replacing words and names with hand gestures and phrases like, "you know, the thing" or "that woman, whatsherface" with alarming frequency. It's rough, dude, it's rough.

How does one celebrate the anniversary of one's birth when one's anxieties and responsibilities seem to grow with each subsequent anniversary? How does one celebrate anything when one would really prefer to skip the attention and have a glass of wine on the couch, then go to bed early?

This is why I believe everyone should have a DBO: Designated Birthday Observer.


Your DBO will insist on celebrating the fact that you're alive without specifically making it about your aging. He or she will ensure that you get just the right amount of attention and have just the right amount of fun - i.e. he or she will only plan a lavish surprise party or insist on taking you out dancing if you'd actually enjoy it. Your DBO will make sure that your birthday doesn't go by completely unacknowledged, no matter how cranky you may be about it. And ideally, your DBO will designate him or herself by simple merit of the fact that they love you and genuinely want to celebrate your continued existence.

The good news is this: if you have a DBO, you've got at least one person in your life who is thrilled about your presence on this planet. And that alone is worth a bit of confetti (and, dare I suggest, cake?) once a year. If you don't have a DBO, maybe think about finding one. Time is ticking, you know.