Getting bouts of birthday blues has been a common occurrence for me throughout my life. Most of the time I wonder why people celebrate birthdays so much, when deep inside I am wallowing in sadness and ruminating on my unhappy birthday. There is no clear reason for it, except that turning a year older gives me anxiety and a sense of dread for what’s to come. It also makes me look back in regret, from failures to disappointments and life’s vicious curveballs.
It doesn’t help that my father died a week after my birthday in 2013. Christmas also makes me melancholic, even back in my childhood days. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Yuletide season put my emotions on overdrive. With my parents gone for two years now, the traditional image of a family standing by a Christmas tree makes me feel alienated and withdrawn from the world.
This year was no different. I felt exceptionally sad in the days leading to my birthday. I was feeling particularly bitter about a myriad of personal issues, even obsessive about the fact that my parents were no longer around. I just can’t seem to move on.
Despite all these, I still find ways to celebrate my birthday with loved ones and friends. Entertaining guests is one thing that I truly enjoy, and it’s a good distraction from my birthday blues. Usually, after a series of depressive days, my mania hits when it’s time to let my hair down and dance. I transform completely from a sappy mess to a lively partyphile.
It only makes sense that I gathered the squad in the Z Hostel rooftop bar, which is my go-to watering hole this 2017 — mainly because they have the friendliest bartenders, the best cocktail mixes (#MayForever and Whatever are my top picks), a breathtaking view, a good roster of acoustic nights and DJ sets, and of course, the greatest new friends you will ever meet.
Z Hostel in the heart of Poblacion, Makati is the home of good vibes — very much so that I decided to book a private room for myself and enjoy some me-time prior to my birthday bash. While I love meeting new people in hostels, I really just prefer having my personal space with an en suite bathroom. Booking the room was a brilliant idea, especially after a whole night of partying. I love its simple, clean, and modern interiors, huge windows, and its quirky shower curtain — we do make life decisions in the shower after all.
As the music got louder and the sky got darker, my different groups of friends started arriving in my cozy nook overlooking the Rockwell skyline. The alcohol kept pouring throughout the night — I bought tequila and about seven bottles of Bacardi rum with Coke. The best part was the surprise cake my “Z friends” gave me (shoutout to Mike and Kim, the newfound friends I met in Z Hostel earlier this year) — while almost everyone in that side of the bar sang me a happy birthday.
It was actually my first time to put my friends from different circles all in one place — and I was so thrilled to see them all mingling with each other and having a blast.
Perhaps the best part of the celebration was the fact that I was neither manic nor depressive throughout the night. I was just me — a stable 26-year-old who just wanted to have a good time.