A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.


Everybody loves Birthdays.

Cake. Presents. Parties. Streamers. Attention. An entire day devoted to the worshipping of you. Even the people who say they don’t like Birthdays secretly do like Birthdays, because whilst they’re moping around pretending it’s not their Birthday they are secretly delighted when someone remembers and cares enough to spoil them or acknowledge them on their special day.

Most people group the Birthdays you will have in your lifetime into ‘Milestone Birthdays’ that cover off specific numbers, such as 1, 13, 18, 21, 30, 50, 80 etc however this is often associated with the various hang-ups people also have about their age and aging. So to celebrate our 1st Birthday here at The Five Minute Guide we have decided to take a slightly different look at the types of Birthdays we all enjoy…

Children’s Birthdays

Honey Joys – check.

Chocolate Crackles – Check.

Animal Themed Birthday Cake – Check.

Disney Theme – Check.

Pass the Parcel – Check.

Thirty-two screaming kids running around on a sugar high for three hours – Check.

There is something utterly sublime and yet nightmarish about young children’s birthdays. There is the undeniable fact that little kids are cute, the food that gets served at their parties is amazing and the joy and laughter that occurs is contagious, juxtaposed with the fact that organsing a bunch of little kids who are on a sugar high into any kind of order to eat/play games/go home is like organizing Russia to act in a civil manner at a United Nations summit. In fact, you’d probably have more luck with the Russians.

Somehow the joy on the little ones faces as they run around in manic circles, pummel pinatas and pin the tail on the donkey (or whomever is standing nearest) always overrides any diplomatic exhaustion experienced by the parents. And if that fails, there’s always vodka.

The 5 Minute Guide Birthdays Children's Birthday Party 1

Boys and Girls Birthdays

Somewhere between those milestone birthdays of 13 and 18 the idea of ‘mixed sex’ birthday parties goes from the de rigeur of our childhood, to some clandestine arrangement which puts the fear of God in parents worldwide. Many a sleepless night has been had by parents lying in bed wondering if advising the neighbours, the Police, the Archbishop and Chuck Norris will be enough to keep this dangerous mix of boys AND girls in their backyard under control.

On the flipside, there is nothing that gains social currency in the Year 9 Common Room of your single-sex Catholic Secondary School faster than the statement: ‘I’m having boys at my Birthday Party next month’. This news is enough to keep young hearts and lunchtime gossip fuelled and fluttering for six weeks in heady anticipation of what might happen on the fateful night.

The 5 Minute Guide Birthdays Boys and Girls-001

Naturally, no one ever really talks about what actually will happen, which is all the boys stand on one side, all the girls stand on the other side and everyone spends three quarters of the night on their phones sending Snapchats to each other. From the other side of the room.

‘I’m trashed and I’ve lost my underwear’ Birthdays

Ah your 20s. And occasionally if you have a slip up – also your 30s. These are the birthdays that are often unplanned, you were trying to ignore or you didn’t really put much thought into so whatever happened ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’.

The 5 Minute Guide - Birthdays The Morning After Snapchat

Morning After Snapchat

Whether you wake up the morning after with the mother of all hangovers, a giant traffic cone, your best friends older brother, or all three, remember your best rationalization here is ‘it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’ followed by a quick scroll through all of your social media apps to check exactly what you DID get up to last night. And where you may have left your underwear.

Dinner Party Birthdays

At some point of your life you do manage to co-ordinate both maturity and grace with the occasion of your birthday. These are the years of your ‘Dinner Party’ Birthdays. You gather a bunch of your nearest and dearest and head to favoured haunt to enjoy a meal, a conversation and the entire restaurant somewhat embarrassingly singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you.

It’s nice, it’s civil, it’s almost positively grown up, until your best friend starts recounting what you got up to on your previous fifteen birthdays (many of which involved the ‘I’m trashed and I’ve lost my underwear scenario’) and your parents regale your newest friends and beau with what happened for the twenty birthdays before that, including the time you fell face first into your cake at your 4th Birthday Party and kissed Shelly Mason behind the back shed at your 15th Birthday. Seriously, they’ve known that for the last twenty years?!

Milestone Birthdays

Otherwise known as the ‘Motherload of all Presents’ Birthdays. On these occasions you can really demand it all. There is something universally accepted that by adding a 0 or an action that you can now ‘legally complete’ to an age, you are also permitted to throw ridiculously huge, often themed, well-catered and entirely devilish affair for you and your closest one hundred friends.

There will be photo slideshows, there will be lolly bars and there will be speeches. If you’re female, it’s likely your friends will tell elongated stories about things that make only you two laugh and end with both of you blubbering with laughter and hugging whilst 100 people watch on awkwardly wondering when they can get back to the open bar. If you’re male, it’s likely your friends will reveal several things your parents (and your current partner) didn’t know about you, usually relating to bodily emissions, drinking, illegal substances and that one night in Thailand, which you will all laugh about now, and spend the next three months apologizing for later.

The 5 Minute Guide Birthdays Milestone

‘I’m Dying Soon’ Guilt Trip Birthdays

Technically every Birthday Party over 60 can be classed in this category. The grey helmet parade certainly known how to milk a birthday; if any of their family members look like they might be ‘busy’ on the day, they are not afraid of gently reminding them that this could be their last (even though they still play golf three times a week, do water aerobics twice and have just taken up Zumba).

Like a Lion standing back and admiring his pride, these birthdays are for sitting back and admiring one’s minions, usually all of the family that they have created and raised, and feeling an innate sense of satisfaction that they have created this joy and love before them. It’s also probably the closest most people get to pretending they’re God – admiring all of those they ‘have created in their own image’.

Your 1st Birthday

You don’t really understand what is going on, you are given a piece of cake to eat (mainly to provide photographic fodder for your 21st), your parents invite other babies your age who just steal your toys, the room is full of grown-ups you’ve seen on and off for the past year and everyone gives you a whole lot of awesome wrapping paper to eat, filled with things called Lamaze that you don’t know what to do with because you don’t speak French. This is your 1st Birthday.

Our first year on Earth is our most precious – we do more growing, developing, learning and breaking of glass ceilings (and everything else we can get our grubby little hands on) in our first year than any other. So this Birthday is a chance for everyone who has watched us grow to celebrate how clever we are, how proud of us they are, reminisce on their favourite parts of our first year of life and discuss their hopes and dreams for our future.

On our 1st Birthday we’d like to say ‘Thank You’ to all of our readers, followers and supporters all over the world who have read, laughed, encouraged, supported and shared in the joy of The Five Minute Guide.

Here’s to more birthdays, more laughs and more cake. Always more cake!

The 5 Minute Guide Birthdays 1st Birthday

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