Birthdays Over Decades

When I was in my twenties in Puerto Vallarta, my birthdays were big, BIG news. They were all about going out with friends and eating dinner late, then heading out to the club to dance until I lost my shoes (although that really didn’t stop the dancing). Sort of like all the other weekends, except when it’s your birthday, you get to pick the dinner AND the club.

I didn’t mind people knowing my age, and it was always nice to flash my ID so people knew I was truly the age of majority, except they didn’t ask for my ID in Vallarta very often (i.e., never once, not one time). Also, I made sure to announce that it was my birthday in every bar and restaurant all over town because I wanted the free dessert/drink/song.

When I was in my thirties in Puerto Vallarta, birthdays were still pretty big news. You wanna know why? Because by the time my birthday rolled around, my husband and I were long overdue for a date night, and babysitters couldn’t say no to the birthday girl. Dinner with my hubbie, friends later at the club to keep me company while we watched him play guitar. Then I would dance to some of his solos (Are You Gonna Go My Way, for example) and still get home to relieve the sitter by midnight or even (gasp) 1 am.

I didn’t mind everyone knowing my age, because I was young and in love and a mama. I enjoyed the waiters singing to me because FREE CAKE is where it’s at.

When I was in my forties in Puerto Vallarta, birthdays were sort of medium news. Sometimes they meant a night out with a big group of classroom moms to celebrate all the May birthdays. Sometimes they meant a dinner out with my husband at a high-end restaurant favorite, because it was Restaurant Week and you could get fancy at a great price. My husband didn’t work at night anymore, and personally, I would rather have him all to myself if I was going to put on a dress and lipstick.

I wasn’t telling my age if you weren’t asking, and I really didn’t care for being sung to by waiters anymore. I wanted to pick my own dessert, thank you very much.

Well. Fast forward to just a smidge past my forties, and I started the day’s celebrations with a oatmilk latte from Paninos because my tummy doesn’t always Do Dairy. After spending the day reading Stephen King and avoiding any and all chores, we hit Lamara for some vegan ceviche sin chile (because my tummy also doesn’t Do Chile these days). Now I’m sitting at my kitchen table with my husband and my daughter, eating red velvet cake that she baked by herself at 1 am last night because she waited until I fell asleep. 

I’m not telling you my age because you’ll tell me I’m Still So Young, and we both know that’s a lie. The waiters at the restaurant (which closed at 6:45pm) didn’t even know it was my birthday.

I will close out the day with a long video call with my son, and then we’ll watch the movie I picked out. My husband and daughter can’t complain because it’s my birthday.

My birthday is no longer news to me, but somehow my family makes it really special. It almost still feels like BIG news, except now I am never in danger of losing my shoes. I just get to do my favorite things with my very favorite people. 

The number doesn’t even seem to matter at all, which is a good thing because I’m still not going to tell you.


  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

    View all posts

Most Popular