The 3rd of September 2015 was my birthday – and it felt like the heavens fell off its suspenders. Days before the D-day, my mind strayed to how ironic birthdays have become in Nigeria – my native country.
Some time ago, I met a lady who told me that it was compulsory in her family for every member to buy gifts for anyone celebrating their birthday. No excuses. I was so awed by this information that it took me about 30 minutes to digest it. It was strange.
To be truthful, I would have been unqualified to talk about this a year ago. This year I made it a conscious duty to get gifts for some lucky people as much I could afford, to change the beliefs society had injected in me about birthdays. In other words, I was giving instead of receiving.
I can’t remember ever asking for anything from any person celebrating their birthday. Yesterday, I was asked many questions that with a common relationship – demands.
- Where is my cake?
- Where is my rice?
- Where is the party?
- Am I getting a limo or something?
The last one was really surprising.
While these questions may not be demands per se, but would rather be impulsive questions. I think Nigerians can do better (at least the ones I have met). Stories of surprise parties – the lights off and on the concept, the stockpile of gifts – are for now fantasies.
Birthdays are opportunities to appreciate a person’s influence, assistance in your life, or even relationship. I would not say I am Santa Claus, but I am on the path to change.
One very different question hit me by surprise. “What do you want for as a gift?” I was astounded, and I had no answer as “I never experrerit”. It has always been demand questions all my life. This actually happened two years ago, and the gift wish I made came true. An experience I will never forget.
Nigerians actually go out of their way to celebrate; give gifts and presents but this mostly happens when it is a celebrity, a boss or a VIP. Apparently, I am none of the above.
I would like to give more gifts on birthdays, and I am working towards this change. This is why I am keeping a list of valuable but not luxurious birthday gift ideas. This is not in the hopes of getting more gifts in the future. I have made no promise to any specific person – to be held to ransom for this decision.
It is about the smile and wave of happiness and joy that beams when the gift is appreciated and liked by the recipient.