This past weekend, I celebrated my birthday. Every single year, I have the same internal battle--to throw a party or not to throw a party. And somehow, each and every year I end up saying yes.
Why the trepidation in celebrating the momentous occasion of my birth? Part of it's the looming question of the guest list.
Throughout my life, I've lived in, traveled to and visited numerous places--Brooklyn, Maine, Oklahoma, Italy and Manhattan to name a few. I've gone on birthright programs, AJSS programs and summer camp programs, attended a different elementary school, high school and college, and worked at six different companies throughout my professional career. My point is, I've met people from many different walks of life and often end up with a few friends from a lot of different groups. Other than my adoptive family of Israeli expats, I'd say there's little to no cohesion to the groups of friends in my life. When it comes to combining these random people, it can be entertaining, stressful or, downright nerve wracking.
In addition to the stresses of bringing friends together, birthdays also tend to bring up the 'ex' struggle--which former romantic interests get an invite to these events? (Just as a caveat, when I think of people who qualify as 'exes', it may not be someone who fits the conventional description of said word. I don't think you need to be in a formal, committed relationship to qualify as an ex)
Some of you may be sitting there thinking, why the hell would you invite an ex to your birthday party? An ex is called an ex for a reason-they're in your past. This may be a problem exclusive to some inexplicable dementia in my brain (though I'd bet money that a lot of you can relate), but for some reason, I feel a need to stay in touch with many of these people and whenever throwing events, think its nice to extend an invitation.
Unfortunately, this always begs the question, which exes pass the 'friendship' test and earn themselves an invite? And if I'm worried about combining friendship groups, imagine the potential complications to consider when putting two former romantic interests into one room. The horror!
For better or worse, for my party this past weekend, I decided to go all out and invite anyone and everyone whom I've dated and who is still a member of my facebook friend group (the decision to become and stay facebook friends with someone you're dating and whether to remain friends once the relationship ends is a whole other topic in and of itself!). I recently started a new job that's been stressful to say the least and think part of my decision to step into such dangerous waters came (at least in part) from a subconscious desire for a little bit of entertainment (mayhem?) on the eve of my birthday. Call me a masochist if you must.
The evening started off on a classy note. The bar was great, (almost) everyone I wanted to show actually showed up. People seemed to be having a blast. As the evening wore on, I don't think my drink ever went below the quarter empty line before a new one magically appeared in my hand. (Thanks, friends!) Unfortunately, waking up Sunday morning with one of the worst hangovers of my life with bits and pieces of the evening flashing before my bloodshot eyes and others having seemingly disappeared into the ether of my subconscious, never to resurface, I was struck with panic.
What the hell happened last night??? After reviewing texts and having conversations with friends, some holes have been filled in while others remain gone forever. Most friends told me not to fret--it was my birthday and if ever there is a night for drunken debauchery, this was it. However, there's a reason I'm neurotic when it comes to my alcohol limit and know exactly how much I can have before the night turns from awesome to awful. I like being in control of my actions and myself. And waking up, genuinely not knowing what happened the night before is one of the worst feelings in the world. On top of that, when adding to my hungover state the unfortunate fact that people I consciously no longer date had the misfortune of witnessing my potentially embarrassing behavior, I'm mortified to say the least. Friends forgive. Exes judge.
Bottom line, I think next year, if I somehow manage to convince myself once more to have a birthday party, I need to be a bit pickier about my guest list. Friend groups can mingle. Exes are probably best left gone but not forgotten.