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50th Birthday (pity) party - rantish/longish

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
It's 3:40 in the morning, July 11th Detroit time and I am sitting in front of my lap top because I can't sleep. Menopause, I guess, and sigh..... I am now officially 50 years old.

It isn't the age so much that bothers me. It is what the people around me DIDN'T do. I'm the instigator and the planner and the expediter in my family - and the enabler. I make a lot of effort to get great gifts for my siblings' children. I look after Mom almost exclusively with little help from my sister who only lives 45 min away. I don't hesitate to jump in to help.

So for my birthday, I decided to try a little test. To do nothing... I mean plan nothing.. initiate - NOTHING ... and see what my family and friends would do for ME. Sit on my hands. I mean, really, why should I plan anything - it's my birthday for crying out loud. Guess what? Hu-MON-gous disappointment. I shouldn't be surprised. But I am very hurt.

My sister calls me WEDNESDAY night and asks, am I DOING anything on my birthday? And I told her about refusing to plan anything and I got stunned silence.. and then.. she said - well l plan my own birthdays, etc. I said - I do everyone's everything in this family and I wasn't about to plan my own 50th.

She asks me, the kids and I can come in and take you out... welll Friday is a very busy day for me ... I do my volunteer cleaning for our rescue. She ended up throwing together a dinner for me and bringing it to the house. Yes, it was nice, but last minute - no forethought. And the kids who are almost 16 and 19 made me one card... it was cute, but when I weigh it against the fuss I make over them .... they are old enough to know better.

My brother and sister in law call me to wish me a happy birthday. They sent flowers (which didn't arrive on time.) That's lovely ... but come on... how long have you known that I am turning 50 - did you even ask me if I wanted anything? Flowers are a last-minute, didn't really do anything gift. No cards from the kids three of whom are "little". Nothing.

I had sent out an email to family and friends stating that I wanted donations to my animal rescue as a gift. No one bothered to heed my request that I know of -- except one friend and her boyfriend.

My adult niece and nephew - with whom I don't have a very good relationship - not for lack of trying - didn't call. Not that they ever do. So no more contacting them on their birthdays. The heck with them. When I say adult I mean 30 and 33 respectively. I have already left them out of my will.

On the positive side - My mom ordered me some really great knives for the kitchen. I picked them out myself... and I asked for my grandmother's engagement ring. We are going to have it made into a pendant.

My boyfriend - after much coaching and discussion - I also told HIM that I wasn't about to plan anything - arranged an in-town overnight getaway at a beautiful historic hotel in downtown... and dinner at their fancy resto. He also really surprised me by ...sending me flowers (which also didn't arrive yesterday!) In the five-plus years we have been dating he has NEVER given me flowers. In this case - I was really touched by that.

I heard from a few other family members.. .which was nice.

So all in all - a very disappointing 50th. I need to re-evaluate my relationships and change what I am doing and how I am doing it. It is one thing to tell me that you value me and what I am doing - it is another to SHOW it somehow. I am going to give it a little time and then tell my siblings in particular how I feel about what transpired. I think they should know. And as I head into the next chapter of my life - start to do things differently.

Thanks for reading this if you actually got this far.
post #2 of 19
Happy Belated 50th Birthday!

I think re-evaluating your relationships as you move ahead is a wonderful gift to yourself. Sometimes, family or not, people are toxic. When you have spent a lifetime in the role of the "take care of everything for everyone" person in the family it is very easy to be taken for granted.

Be good to yourself, you deserve it.

I too am up way too early, 6:21am central time...haven't been to sleep yet
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post

So all in all - a very disappointing 50th. I need to re-evaluate my relationships and change what I am doing and how I am doing it. It is one thing to tell me that you value me and what I am doing - it is another to SHOW it somehow. I am going to give it a little time and then tell my siblings in particular how I feel about what transpired. I think they should know. And as I head into the next chapter of my life - start to do things differently.

Thanks for reading this if you actually got this far.
I am sorry you had such a disappointing birthday. I would feel the same... and agree 100% with what I bolded above. It does not take much to show someone a small token of appreciation.....

I think you are doing the right thing by voicing how you feel, they should know.

It sounds like you are entering this chapter of your life with wisdom and strength, and for that, I am happy.
post #4 of 19
First of all, I hope you had/will have fun at your getaway. That sounds really lovely. I'm also very sorry that you are feeling so down about it.

My mother is the family planner so I can see your point. I think it's really important to keep in perpective how busy other people can be or how they prioritize their time. They probably don't realize how strongly you feel about it. I personally would be fine with someone just calling and telling me Happy Birthday, but I know others don't feel that way. I think if you you enjoy getting family/friends together , you should continue to do it, but not expect people to reciprocate. If you are not O.K. with that, just stop. Maybe as a present to yourself, you can take time do something totally new that you have an interest in. As an example, I decided to take a foreign language class at an international center. It's been fun to learn the language but even more fun to interact and learn the culture.
post #5 of 19
Happy belated birthday!!

I'm facing the same milestone next year and I know what you are saying about wanting the ocassion to be somehow special. I told DH that I want him to take me someplace exotic for my birthday to avoid the disappointment I know I would face when my family doesn't call. If I'm not home I will never notice.

My mom always told me that her life went in 10 year cycles and things were usually entirely different in her 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. And my life seems to be following the same course, so I think there is some truth in this. Perhaps this is the sign that things do need to change in your life, and it's nothing more than a jumping off point to something even better!
post #6 of 19
thanks for share...
don´t give up!...
post #7 of 19
Happy Birthday . Don't let them spoil your day!
I have reevaluated relationships in the past and there are people I no longer speak to (family members) and I find myself much happier without them. So good luck with that, you have to do what will make you happy.
post #8 of 19
Happy birthday!

My wife has her mom visiting us, and her aunt and some cousins are coming down. I'm not big on parties, but these are all nice people.
post #9 of 19
Happy Birthday!

I learned a long time ago to give and do things for people without ever expecting something in return.

If it upsets you so much that people don't go out of their way to reciprocate what you do for them, then stop doing it. If you want to continue because you enjoy doing it, then keep doing it, but try to do it because you want to and it makes you happy, not because you are expecting and hoping that they will do the same for you in return.


Quote:
My sister calls me WEDNESDAY night and asks, am I DOING anything on my birthday? And I told her about refusing to plan anything and I got stunned silence.. and then.. she said - well l plan my own birthdays, etc. I said - I do everyone's everything in this family and I wasn't about to plan my own 50th.
A better response would have been, "No. I don't have any plans." and leave it at that. It sounds like there was an opening there for her to initiate something without you having to badger/guilt her into it, which is what it sounds like you did from your reply to her.

Another thing in their defense. Not eveyone is happy to be turning 50. My brother turned 50 years old a few years ago. I let his day go by completely unacknowledged, not even a phone call to wish him a happy birthday. He was grateful because he didn't want to be reminded that he had turned 50.

I will be 50 in a couple years. I'm not looking forward to it and I think I would probably go ballistic on someone if they planned a party to celebrate it. I too don't wish to be reminded of it when the time comes.
post #10 of 19
Happy Birthday
I am so sorry you are feeling this way... I am sure your family loves and cherishes you very much, and I hope they do know how to show it a little better from now on...
many hugs to you, and wishing you all the best in the whole world!
post #11 of 19
Aw sweetie, that totally sucks (except for your BF - that sounds thoughtful and wonderful! ).

Gary and I were always the ones to make a fuss, to get thoughtful presents for anyone. When my niece went to college and my nephew started high school, who comes through with the laptops and cellphones for them? Let's just say it wasn't their parents. When we didn't even get thank you cards from them for it - we knew it was time to stop. And we did. And we get exactly a Christmas card from my brother and his family every year. My sister and parents do thoughtful things and remember our birthdays, so that's who we share the same things with.

It can be painful to hit that realization that people we've been caring about aren't thoughtful. But it's very liberating to take them off "the list."

Happy belated birthday, hun.



Laurie
post #12 of 19
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY ADRIEN!


This one's for you!




Laurie
post #13 of 19
Welcome to the 50's club!!!

It sounds like you had a nice time regardless of what didn't happen, but i can see your point when certain people didn't get in touch Did you take any pictures of your night out with your bf?

I hit 50 last October, and i'm a planner, and it was my decision to plan my bithday how i wanted it, so i paid for 14 close friends and family and myself for dinner and an overnight stay at a 14th century Castle near to where we all live.

My friends still talk about it to this day, and one in particular was a girl i worked with for 14 years. She told me she cried when she got home because she'd never experienced anything like it and probably never will again

Heres where we stayed. Lumley Castle

post #14 of 19
Another welcome to the 50's!!

DH know how important birthdays for me so he always has some sort of game plan.

He did plan a party for my 50th (I'm turning 52 in a couple of weeks) and I didn't have to do anything. I'm the planner in our household so that was a surprise.

Do your family members know how important your birthday is to you?? Some people are really quite dense about these milestones in our life. I'm thinking if their birthday's aren't important to them they don't think they are important to others as well.

DH for instance its not a big deal to him. But I've got my twin's presents all purchased and the box waiting to be packed and mailed. We make it a big deal to each other!!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Happy Birthday!

I learned a long time ago to give and do things for people without ever expecting something in return.

If it upsets you so much that people don't go out of their way to reciprocate what you do for them, then stop doing it. If you want to continue because you enjoy doing it, then keep doing it, but try to do it because you want to and it makes you happy, not because you are expecting and hoping that they will do the same for you in return.




A better response would have been, "No. I don't have any plans." and leave it at that. It sounds like there was an opening there for her to initiate something without you having to badger/guilt her into it, which is what it sounds like you did from your reply to her.

Another thing in their defense. Not eveyone is happy to be turning 50. My brother turned 50 years old a few years ago. I let his day go by completely unacknowledged, not even a phone call to wish him a happy birthday. He was grateful because he didn't want to be reminded that he had turned 50.

I will be 50 in a couple years. I'm not looking forward to it and I think I would probably go ballistic on someone if they planned a party to celebrate it. I too don't wish to be reminded of it when the time comes.
What you don't know about my sister is that if this had been her boyfriend or one of her hallowed "colleagues" she would have been planning her butt off for weeks to do something wonderful.

I was angry and insulted that I was nothing more than a last-minute panicked response from her. I cook dinner for everyone all of the time.. pack it up and take it to Ann Arbor. I fuss over her kids - who also didn't do anything... well they made me a card. But they are 16 and 19, not little kids! It was an eye-opening confirmation to me that I am NOT high on my siblings priority list... and only one friend called me on my day with good wishes.

My brother is quite well to do - for his wife's 50th he got her an apartment in the city (NY) and got all her family and friends to chip in for a "decorating" budget. I contributed to that fund. I am SOOOOOO good to their kids - always remember their birthdays - spend time and effort to find the right gift, etc. I am also mad at my SIL - she didn't make any effort for me either ... and we have known each other for YEARS. Them sending me flowers to me is an "oh crap, we better do something" response.

And I had sent out an email asking for contributions in my name to animal rescue - that got ignored. So I did ask for something. The only person who responded was the same friend who called me on my bday.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
What you don't know about my sister is that if this had been her boyfriend or one of her hallowed "colleagues" she would have been planning her butt off for weeks to do something wonderful.

Ahhh! Now I understand better! Given that, I would be a bit put off too!

Have you tried sitting down with all of them and talking to them openly and calmly and letting them know how under appreciated you feel? Don't get into what they do for others and how much they spend on others. Just let them know that you love them all, and that you love and have such fun planning special things for all of you to do so that you can get together and spend time together.

When you start off, try not to place blame by using the term "You" or "You don't" at the start of the sentence. That will get them on the defensive.

Instead tell them something sweet and nice, such as what I suggested above. And then immediately say something along the lines of "I feel very hurt that my birthday was almost completely unacknowledged."

They probably don't know how much you being the one to plan everything for everyone all of the time bothers you, or that your feelings are deeply hurt that they didn't get together to plan something, even something small like a family dinner, for your birthday.

Rather than sitting where you are and stewing about it, which really doesn't help anyone, especially yourself because it is just causing you to be stressed and angry, it's better to just talk to your family and clear the air in a nice way.
post #17 of 19
I feel your pain, as I will be turning 50 in September.

My husband actually had a surprise party for my 40th; I doubt anything close to that will occur this time around.

My brother will call (he lives in my town) and say "happy birthday", my Mom and Dad (who also live in town) will send a card with cash a few days ahead, my teen and pre-teen kids will act like it's any other day, my other two brothers will probably let the day go by unacknowledged.

My husband will buy me a gift (possibly something he needs, has happened before) and we will go out to dinner and possibly a movie.

Sound exciting? Yeah, I guess not. I do hope you have fun on your getaway. That sounds kind of fun.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Ahhh! Now I understand better! Given that, I would be a bit put off too!

Have you tried sitting down with all of them and talking to them openly and calmly and letting them know how under appreciated you feel? Don't get into what they do for others and how much they spend on others. Just let them know that you love them all, and that you love and have such fun planning special things for all of you to do so that you can get together and spend time together.

When you start off, try not to place blame by using the term "You" or "You don't" at the start of the sentence. That will get them on the defensive.

Instead tell them something sweet and nice, such as what I suggested above. And then immediately say something along the lines of "I feel very hurt that my birthday was almost completely unacknowledged."

They probably don't know how much you being the one to plan everything for everyone all of the time bothers you, or that your feelings are deeply hurt that they didn't get together to plan something, even something small like a family dinner, for your birthday.

Rather than sitting where you are and stewing about it, which really doesn't help anyone, especially yourself because it is just causing you to be stressed and angry, it's better to just talk to your family and clear the air in a nice way.
I do appreciate the advice, but I have "cleared the air" with them a few times already - especially when it comes to the care of OUR elderly mother. My sister is making a little bit more of an effort, my brother is too far away.

But my sister "fly-fishes" with offers - she impulsively casts out an offer - says oh I will give you a weekend off next month - and the next thing I know she is reeling it back in bit by bit until before you know it, it isn't much of an offer at all.

OR it is so unpleasant for me to work out the "details" with her, that I just say forget it - which subconsciously is what she wanted to have happen in the first place. She will dump on me - and absolutely inundate me with all the things she has to give up, to do, etc, how she has to juggle her schedule - just to give me a night off ... Uses her kids and her ex and her boyfriend as excuses.... Instead of doing what I do, which is ok - I can do the weekend of the 15th or the weekend of the 30th and JUST TAKE CARE OF THE DETAILS!!!! Arrrgghhhhh!!!

As long as Mom has the means, which she does, I am just going to screen some people and hire one or two to help out around the house instead of asking my family for support.
post #19 of 19
I completely sympathize. The only people who wished me a happy birthday were my parents (who are practical people and gifted me some moneys), my boyfriend (who took me out), and two ex-boyfriends. No other "friends" or family even bothered to call.

One person in my family mentioned to me (a week after my birthday) what kind of doll her daughter had requested for her birthday... like I'm supposed to remember their birthdays and give them gifts when no one remembers me.

And I'm not complaining because I want material things, but like most people, I would like to know that I'm loved and appreciated. From now on, I'll take the money that I would have spent on everyone, and spend it on myself.

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