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To not get the whole fuss about 40th birthdays?

(31 Posts)
Irishchic Sun 05-Dec-10 20:57:53

What's the big deal?

Everyone I know who is turning 40 has a big party, expects people to turn up from far and wide, even if it involves a plane journey and leaving behind a young family, and it you dont do it/cant do it, you are made to feel very guilty about it.

Case in Point - My dh went to london today on friday, risking life and limb to get to airport at 6am in this treacherous weather along with his 72 and 78 year old mother and father who were all trekking over to london to celebrate their brother/sons 40th along with 50 or 60 of his friends, and the party went on to 5am, my dh is on his way home exhausted having been delayed at stansted and diverted at this end due to a road accident.

I didnt go because we couldnt get someone to mind our 5 kids for the weekend but frankly I would rather have stayed at home. My kids are all under 11 and in this weather airports and dangerous roads do not float my boat no matter whose birthday it is.

It didnt go down too well that I wasnt there, and I did get the odd "such a shame" comment but what am I to do??

If it was a wedding then I would move heaven and earth to make it, but a big ol piss up with a lot of 30 and 40someting lads (most of whom are not married and have no kids) I think is not that big a deal to miss??

Prob am BU and am an old fart to boot, but I dont care and my dh is stuck in a car somewhere in the middle of nowhere trying to get home and prob wondering if it was bloody worth it!?!

Ready for flaming!

curlymama Sun 05-Dec-10 21:02:21

You shouldn't get grief for not going, but your dh and his parents rightly made the effort to be there to celebrate. I'd want my brothers and sisters to do their best to be at my 40th, and I'd be quite upset if they didn't want to spare a weekend for a big birthday.


bigchris Sun 05-Dec-10 21:03:35

Life is shite then you die
you don't get many highlights
having a party once a decade seems fun

deliciousdevilwoman Sun 05-Dec-10 21:04:24

Obviously, the weather situation is unfortunate, but in essence YABU. Life can be fucking joyless enough in these times without people pissing on others chips if they want to celebrate a special occasion/ milestone with friends and family. Personally, parties to celebrate my "major birthdays" were not choices I made, or had foisted upon me-not my bag. However, for my 40th, DH took me away to Capri for a week-just the 2 of us, and I would have been pretty miffed if I hadn't been spoiled on this occasion-and I am far from the most entitled of women!

borderslass Sun 05-Dec-10 21:07:36

we went away for the weekend last month for mine just the 2 of us, DD1 came home to look after her brother and sister.

maktaitai Sun 05-Dec-10 21:08:16

My 40th birthday was the best fun imaginable, certainly a lot more fun than a wedding, and I was unbelievably pleased that a lot of people did make the effort to come (no flights involved though). Up til 5am, what a party! Really YABU, sorry, though it does sound like a nightmare journey. Have you got a 40th coming? I really hope so because I absolutely loved mine, and I would be sorry to think that someone voluntarily turned down the chance to have a great time just because of some weather-related trauma. Let's hope yours is in the summer, eh?

Puffykins Sun 05-Dec-10 21:09:12

Is your brother-in-law married? I've started noticing that a lot of the big birthday parties get planned by those who've never had a wedding. In fact, I've been to a number of 30th birthday parties which have been just like weddings (big dinners, speeches, flowers everywhere etc.) The friends who are married with children don't have time/ inclination to organise them, and anyway, they've already had a day which is all about them, with all their friends in one place, and everyone telling them that they looked amazing. (Loved my wedding day!)
YANBU in terms of the fact that you have 5 children and need to look after them and so can not go to everything, but equally, I don't think that you can complain about others having fun. You shouldn't be made to feel guilty about not going though. Or indeed feel guilty. I don't even make it to every wedding now, because I can't always organise childcare.

zukiecat Sun 05-Dec-10 21:09:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KnittingisbetterthanTherapy Sun 05-Dec-10 21:09:32

I think every birthday should be celebrated - another year alive smile.

KnittingisbetterthanTherapy Sun 05-Dec-10 21:10:43

We don't celebrate for pressies, just a chance to get all our friends together and have fun.

We turn 40 in 18mths (dh and I only 6 wks apart) and will definitely be having a party. No pressure to come though wink.

Irishchic Sun 05-Dec-10 21:13:42

'Fraid I already passed that one last year Makitaitai and I told my dh I would cheerfully MURDERED him if he arranged a party but made it clear that a weekend in a swanky hotel would certainly be welcome, so he organised a lovely weekend for us and another couple who we are both very close to and hardly ever see to come with us, and it really was perfect and just what I wanted.

But yeah, I prob am in the minority here, but the thought of a big party for me at amy age just isnt me, and I dont mind what others want to do, but we cant all trek overseas for a party, and its not a priority for all of us either, especially if you have young children at home.

NinkyNonker Sun 05-Dec-10 21:18:45

I'm turning 30 the next month and feeling the same way, not fussed in the slightest about it yet people are on at me to make a fuss. My friends who have already turned really freaked out about it...but tis just a birthday!

ShoppingDays Sun 05-Dec-10 21:18:51

I think it's a good opportunity to get family and friends together, which doesn't happen often for all of us.

I don't think people should be "expected" to go to a party but I think it's nice to invite people and make a similar effort in return for their occasions in the future.

Irishchic Sun 05-Dec-10 21:22:12

The birthday boy is married with two kids, so he does understand, hopefully, our predicament.

I suppose we are all different, but I would be a bit with Zukiecat, that celebrating birthdays in big style into the 30s 40s and beyond is a bit, unnecessary, sort of.

Oh dear, I really have become Outraged from Tunbridge Wells havent I !?

TheCrackFox Sun 05-Dec-10 21:27:10

40 is a big deal IMO. DH turned 40 recently - he most emphatically didn't want a party but I organised something special for just him and got him some lovely presents (so did his friends and family). He was very touched by it all.

cat64 Sun 05-Dec-10 21:36:52

Message withdrawn

MeowyChristmasEveryone Sun 05-Dec-10 21:41:26

I know that the following situation doesn't just apply to me, and someone has already alluded to it, but just to clarify:

My mum passed away in Aug 1998, 13 days after got married to DH. I was 22, and she was 45.

She LOVED celebrating her birthday, and one of my fondest memories is the MONTH of celebrations that she had in March 1993, the month of her 40th birthday. She had so many friends in so many different areas (Professionally and socially, I mean rather than geographically) that it would have been impossible to co-ordinate getting them in one place all on one evening. She DID have a big party the weekend nearest to her birthday, but there were at least 4 or 5 other nights out that I went on. For the record, my dad did NOT join in most of these celebrations, as he doesn't like large groups of people all getting together, and I was 17 by this time, so unlike a many of you lot that might be posting, or thinking about posting she'd already done her "staying in most evenings", and I don't wish that to sound like she begrudged that time when we were kids, but when it WAS party time - Christmases, New Year's, birthdays - Mum was most DEFINITELY there ready to celebrate with all and sundry.

Ultimately, if someone wants a party for whatever reason, even if it's just to have a party, as long as they aren't upset if person x, y or z can't attend or go so over the top that they get themselves into debt, then all power to them.

I LOVE celebrating my birthday every year, despite the fact that the person I most liked to party with is no longer around to be by my side.

DrSeuss Sun 05-Dec-10 22:00:42

I shall be seven months preggers on turning 40. Do I get to party? Could be my last chance. I was thinking of wearing an alluring outfit of support tights and a tent like frock, eating anything that won't aggravate my heartburn and swigging on some Schloer. (Sp?)
Wild, eh?!

Irishchic Sun 05-Dec-10 22:07:12

I agree with all who say that throwing a party to get people together is lovely, and dont get me wrong, I do love a party (as long as its not me in the spotlight) but i guess am feeling a bit peeved that q few family members raised an eyebrow at my not being there, and said it to me too, which I felt was unfair.

panettoinydog Sun 05-Dec-10 22:16:20

I think there is too much fuss about all the decade birthdays. And about hen/stag nights.

A get-together is nice, really nice.

bUT ALL the surprise things, the special presents, the going away somewhere special that involves quite a bit of time and money, can't be doing with that.

MorticiaAddams Sun 05-Dec-10 22:30:54


^Life is shite then you die
you don't get many highlights
having a party once a decade seems fun^


Any excuse for a party and when you're getting older you don't have as many. I had a big party for mine and had a great time. There was no obligation for anyone to attend but everyone who did had enjoyed themselves and were really pleased to have an excuse for a party. At that age we've all had weddings and the next generation won't be getting married for a while and it's a good excuse for a get together.

LadyBiscuit Sun 05-Dec-10 22:35:36

I had a massive party when I was 40 with six of my friends to celebrate:
- 20 plus years of friendship
- the fact that we were all still alive (and some of our friends aren't)
- the fact that we can all still dance and are happy and healthy
- to bring together 20 odd years of friends made on the way

It was absolutely marvellous - when we were 30 there was no way we could have afforded it.

I wouldn't have cared if you hadn't come if you were my SIL but if you were my sibling, I would have hoped you would have made the effort.

But then I've never been married so perhaps I have a slightly warped perspective

MeowyChristmasEveryone Mon 06-Dec-10 13:50:36


Having people in your life, relatives or otherwise who feel it is their place to be tits when it comes to you spending your free time how you wish is a whole different discussion, in my view.

Nothing at all wrong with having a 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, or any in between, but anyone who gets uppity because you can't/don't want to make it to their chosen do is an arse.

You don't need me, or any of the other MNetters to tell you that, but I guess when you get 12 people all coming, one after the other saying, "Why aren't you going to Bertie's birthday party? Come on - it'll be a blast/you'll have a great time/he'll be gutted if you don't come", I can see why you might post here. (Or, of course, they might get a bit more ... insistent, forceful. Pfffft!!!!

RockinRobinBird Mon 06-Dec-10 13:55:45

Up to you if you go or not but don't get the negative stance. What's the point in anything if you're going to take that line. What's the point in weddings or 18ths or funerals or 1sts or 100ths? Life would be miserable without a few shindigs along the way.

LunaticFringe Mon 06-Dec-10 14:03:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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