A Nigerian man, Tochukwu Okwuanya, has taken to social media, a day after his birthday, to share reasons he dreads celebrating birthdays.
Tochukwu, who only celebrated his first birthday in 2015 after joining Facebook in August, in a Facebook post, explained how the celebration was never a part of his growing up.
According to the September-born, the 2015 celebration was forced as the social media algorithm notified his friends and associates about his birthday, a usual tradition on the app.
Tochukwu condemned the idea of selecting a day within the year to celebrate people when it could be done every day of the year.
“I dread birthdays. I never really liked them,” Tochukwu opened the post.
He revealed that he never knew his birthday until he gained admission into the university, being a requirement for clearance for pre-matriculation.
In his words:
“Why pick a day out of a whole year to celebrate yourself when you can do that every year. It also didn’t help that growing up, we didn’t exactly have that tradition.
“In fact, I didn’t know my birthday until my first year in the university while doing my pre-matriculation clearance.
“I had to call my mom to confirm which date in September was actually it. My mom herself had to consult my Birth Certificate. I am one in five, special but not alone.
“The first time I celebrated my birthday was when I joined Facebook and they insisted that it was a special occasion. Friends sent congratulations so I was obliged to acknowledge and thank them. That was in 2015.
“I wasn’t really into it. After a couple of years, it felt forced, pretentious and laborious. I couldn’t wait for 13th September to pass because on that day, everyone would be your friend.
“For just 24hrs in a day, you will be the kindest person on earth and all your good qualities will be enumerated by both those that know you so well and those that do not know you at all.”
We should not wait until birthdays
Querying the rationale behind waiting for people’s birthdays to eulogise them, Tochukwu described the practice as cheap and unnecessary.
He further cited how his relatives to include his dad and mum had called him on his birthday to pray for him.
According to him, the calls were not in any way the symbol of their love for him as love and its essence have been the core of the family.
He said: “Why do you need a day to tell someone that he is amazing when you can say it everyday?
“Yet yesterday, Oko Man called to wish me happy birthday. That was his first time in my whole life but it didn’t bring a tear.
“We both knew that we didn’t need a birthday to know that we love and care about each other and our family. We don’t need just a date to know that we are from a special home, a home that he leads.
“As we talked, he let the cat out of the bag, my mom told her it was my birthday. With my mom on Facebook these days, I know that my activities here have to be guarded.
“My mom called and typed a long prayer. She told me that she can use Facebook and WhatsApp these days. It took retirement to make her develop interest in technology, she didn’t care much for them when she was active within the education sector. She drew an entire excel table by hand for over 50 students. Agbala Ichie lives by her own rules.
“My family all made posts. Uncle Uthman, Otannu, Acha Nturi, Ada, and Afoma took turns in extolling me. Somehow, they agreed to forget all my flaws for a day. It is boring because I know we excel in our loving conflicts. They are family; where could I have been without their sacrifices and love.
“My friends wrote epistles that made me wonder if I am this good a person. Some sent me money, others airtime and a couple of gifts somehow, my birthday reminded them that I am somebody’s child and deserve to be spoilt. So, in the saddest turn of events, I came to accept that the next time I would get random alerts from people would be next year. Isn’t that sad.
“My colleagues gathered at my favorite restaurant and made themselves comfortable before I arrived. My best friend insisted on paying the bills and we drank and chatted the evening away. It was Monday so no one imbibed any alcohol.
It is most irresponsible to wake up with a hangover on a Tuesday. I realized that I may not have seen the faces I saw if not for my birthday. Sad to feel that we may not gather like that again until next year. Do we really need an occasion to celebrate and dine? Surviving should be a celebration.
Taking time to acknowledge the many wishes, praises, and prayers that poured in from friends, he encouraged them to feel free to share their thoughts and honest reviews about him, especially “negative” characters and attitudes they have had to put up with.
He concluded: “Still, am I not glad to have you here? Teaching and learning, failing and succeeding, living and loving all in equal measure.
“You forgot my flaws and focused on the good part of me, for that I am grateful. However, the day is done. Feel free to now tell me what you really think of my ceaseless sermonizing, my unbearable pride, my stubbornness and my total lack of respect for elders.
“I am here for you. I am here for all of it. Thank you for celebrating me.”