For me, it's just an age that most people have reached before me, and so I'm excited to finally catch up.
A lot of people have big parties for these 'monumental' birthdays. For my 18th, I had a surprise party thrown for me with about six of my friends. For my 21st, I escaped away on a weekend writer's retreat with my best friend and my boyfriend then came home for a family dinner with aforementioned best friend and boyfriend included as they were the most important people I wanted to see on that day.
For my 30th, I had all these great big plans of having a huge hall rented out, and enough people to fill it, family, friends, people I'd only met a couple of times... Finally, I thought to myself, I was ready to have a big, blow out party that would make up for the tiny occasions I'd had before.
Given the mental health issues I've dealt with over the last year, I decided I would give myself till June to make a decision. June seemed enough time to start making plans for such a big place, put a deposit down for a place I wanted to rent out for the night, give everyone notice and a RSVP time within which to reply.
June came and went by.
In July, a friend of mine had a birthday party dinner at a restaurant I really like. They have gluvine, which is a kind of German mulled wine that I am completely partial to. I decided then that I didn't want to have a big party after all. I was going to go back to that close people and 'chosen family' idea that worked so well for me on my 21st.
Of course, 'close people' in this case was narrowed down to 20 people.
Of those 20 people, about 5 of them said outright that they would not be able to make it for various reasons, regardless of the two months' notice. That was okay. I have a busy life and so do most of my friends. Not a big deal. I'd have fun with the people who could make it.
A week later, I made a connection between alcohol and again deteriorating mental health. Which meant drinking gluvine on my birthday was potentially out, unless I wanted to remember my 30th as the birthday where I cried on everyone and had to go home early.
I cancelled that event and decided that, if so many of my closest people couldn't come, I would just open up my house to many of my friends and whoever could make it would be there. Better still, if I had a dire need for time by myself suddenly, I could run and hide upstairs in my room and still be able to hear the sounds of my dear friends having fun and maybe not noticing my absence immediately. Fine plan there, Nikki. Not a flaw in sight.
Gifts from my nearest and dearest started trickling in about a month before my birthday. Before the 1st September, I had half a dozen gifts already. I'd begun a 'birthday box' to put them in (much to the amusement of many of my friends on Twitter) and started to wonder if I hadn't quite been public enough about when my birthday actually was.
(What you're looking at: a book, a litre sized tea mug, a salt lamp and a gorgeously detailed sincher. Early b'day pressies.)
My birthday party came around, September 14th, two days after my actual 30th.
It was amazing.