"Dear Carol, how do I celebrate my birthday if I only have a few friends?"
My birthday is coming up, and in all the books I read, all the girls celebrate their "Sweet 16" with a party, tons of friends, balloons and music. I couldn't celebrate my birthday for the last two years and I really want to celebrate this year. Not exactly with music and balloons, just a fun night. But I only have two friends I could invite (unless I magically make a lot of new ones).
- Sweet 16
Dear Sweet 16,
Most of us had to skip a birthday or two, and I'm glad you plan to celebrate yourself. Sometimes a small party is more fun than a big one. Is there a way you can invite your friends to your house, or if everyone is vaccinated, to a restaurant or concert or even a getaway weekend, maybe staying with a relative? You could be tourists in a nearby city or even try out skiing. You are right that in fiction, birthdays are often over the top. As a novelist, if my character has a big birthday, I push the scene hoping to make readers laugh or cry, because that's why people read books and watch movies—to watch others go through peaks and valleys. Real life is quieter. Tell your two closest friends to save the date, then make it a great day, even if it's not a blowout. Happy Birthday!
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