DEAR ABBY: My 36th birthday is coming, and I would like to do something exciting. I want to have fun with some of my close friends. I have celebrated with my husband and 9-year-old daughter for the past eight years. It's always the same. They buy me a cake, give me gifts and sing "Happy Birthday" -– and every year, I become more depressed because "like that," my birthday is over.
I need something more. How can I break this depressing cycle and explain to my husband and daughter that I prefer spending my birthday with friends? -– WANTING A HAPPIER BIRTHDAY
DEAR WANTING: Is there any reason why you can't do both -– have a family birthday and some special time with your friends? Many people celebrate their birthdays over a period of several days.
I can't help feeling something more is going on than you have revealed in your letter. You may be depressed, and not just on your birthday. See your physician and tell him or her how you feel. If you don't, I see trouble ahead.