It’s that time of the year again. A day that I used to dread when as a child until recent years. A birthday celebration was a weird concept. What is there to celebrate, really? I would understand that it meant something for the mother since she carried the baby for 9 months and a successful childbirth befits a celebration. Now, is it necessary to celebrate this day over and over again?
Most importantly, birthday parties had been disappointing and overwhelming for me. It was grossly confusing, since it was supposed to be about me, but I ended up having to accommodate the social settings. I resented birthday celebration; I do love presents though (who doesn’t!).
It has been 9 years since I have found a new meaning to “birthday”. I don’t splurge on my birthday, instead, I start to make donations that are affordable to me, to charity organizations; or organize charity fundraisers to raise funds toward a cause.
Now, I celebrate my birthday, because I made it to another year; still able to help in a small way. There is no celebration-worthy if my mere existence doesn’t benefit anyone. The society is becoming harder, and people are becoming harder and moving toward being more self-serving. You can deny it, but it doesn’t make less real. Once I was in a very joyous mood and bought a bunch of pastries to treat the colleagues, and some of them were very wary and skeptical about that gesture. A few of them asked, “What’s your motive?”. I realized then that people are getting uncomfortable with nice gesture and assuming that there is a self-serving motive behind each gesture. How sad.
Days before my birthday, I watched a video via my facebook feed. It was a social experiment on homeless people. It left me crying for more than an hour.
I am neither rich nor poor; I am not exposed to homelessness in Singapore – partly because I was hardly out of the house. This particular video broke my heart for various reasons. The homeless vet was gentle and docile even when the police officer scolded and hit him; he apologised even when the other guy emptied food on him. The fact that people are so quick to judge, unsympathetic, and lack the virtue of giving others the benefit of doubt, saddens me.
I admit that I am wary of homeless people, and my obliviousness to personal safety can put me in precarious situation. I choose to donate to organizations that help these people. I know many people are less willing to donate to organizations because part of the funds would go to employees’ salary and operational costs. I feel, this is also a way to support the economic growth and reduce unemployment, no? It is unreasonable to expect everyone working in charitable organizations to be volunteers and still expect professional outcomes.
This year, I am donating to FoodBank WA, but I joined the crowd-funding instead.
It is very rewarding to imagine that my mere existence is helping some people. At least now my life seems quite worthy to live. I wish that more people adopt this concept. Helping comes in many formats. I admire people who volunteer their time and energy as much as those who could only afford monetary contributions.
That is part of my birthday ritual. My new ritual is that I will enjoy my birthday alone from now on. Alone is not a bad thing, to me, it means not needing to accommodate, and not being disappointed by people.
I have also decide that my birthday will be a 3-days event! Day 1 – buy snacks and food ingredients and whatnot.
Day 2 – Cook my favorite food!
Day 3 – play pretend-game – who says people on the autism spectrum don’t play make-belief games? We just don’t play with others!
Originally, I planned to have a picnic at King’s Park. Spring is proving to be very inconvenient and uncomfortable. The pollens in the air is causing allergic asthma, and the midges and mozzies infestation is also triggering another wave of massive skin allergy – I am quite convinced that the mozzies and midges in Perth love Asian cuisine, because they didn’t bite my Caucasian housemate. Spring is also too warm for outdoorsy activities, I don’t even want to think about upcoming summer.
Now that the birthday festivities are over, it’s time to get back to study!