Are we having fun yet?

It’s a big day for people who only get to celebrate their birthday once every four years. Bwog decided to talk to Shelby Swartz, BC ’14, for a quick check-in on her metaphysical state.

Bwog: How old do you really feel?

Shelby: I say today I feel a healthy 46, which is how I normally feel. I’m sure I had to pick between 5 and 20 (the two ages I am apparently turning today). In 4th grade my teacher gave me the “30 year old inside of a 10 year old’s body” award, which I’m pretty sure isn’t a real achievement. Nevertheless, it’s kind of an expectation that I grew into. I like to think I’m mature, but my favorite Pinkberry topping is fruity pebbles so I guess I’ll have to go with 5.

Bwog: Do your parents overcompensate on non-leap years for your birthday?

Shelby: On my off years it feels like we are all faking it, like when really uptight people pretend everything is ok when everything is far from ok, ya know? February 28th/ March 1st is sort of acknowledged quietly and I’m pretty sure when I tell people it’s my birthday I do some exaggerated air quotations. But before you write off my story as a tragic one, I actually like having a birthday that comes as frequently as a presidential election or the Olympics. People go nuts for it in the same way. I’d rather feel like Elvis for a day every four years than oh I don’t know… Sammy Hagar for a day every year.

Bwog: Do your mom and dad feel guilty?

Shelby: My dad wanted a boy and my mom wanted me to be born on any day but leap day. They have no one to blame but themselves. I’ve come to forgive them, and I think they are on the road to forgiving themselves. I’ve had some pretty cool past birthdays. I’m completely obsessed with the Beatles, so for my 4th birthday I got to take 8 friends to Vegas to see the Beatles Cirque du Soleil. This year, I’m going to Coachella with a few friends. So if their guilt is being channeled through giving me awesome birthday presents, I hope they keep feeling guilty!!

Bwog: Do you get sick of people asking you to throw themed parties for your 5th birthday?

Shelby: Not at all! I think my “real” 5th birthday was Space Jam themed, so clearly birthdays have gone downhill since then.

Bwog: Is there a support group for people born on February 29?

Shelby: If there was one, I wouldn’t join it. I love my birthday.

Bwog: Do you choose to celebrate your birthday according to any other calendar? Lunar?

Shelby: This year, I’m unfortunately forced to celebrate my birthday according to Columbia’s academic calendar… waiting for the weekend to really, to use the parlance of our time, go ham.

Going ham via Wikimedia Commons