At a party with a bunch of other pop-culture bloggers a few weeks back, our revelry eventually deteriorated into drunkenly trying to one-up each other with which celebrities we shared our birthdays with. I didn’t even have to look up IMDb because I already knew my birthday buddies: Naomi Watts, Bam Margera, and Hilary Duff. The latter I announced with a grim resignation, as I’d been dealing with it for the past 24 years.
Sharing a birthday with Hilary Duff—who’s only a year older than me—is like having the same birthday as one of your friends and coming up short every year. I remember in high school when I was looking forward to my 17th birthday, but all over the internet, websites were excitedly counting down to Hil finally being legal. This didn’t change when I went to college: 20 for me was an even more lackluster birthday when compared to Lizzie McGuire’s 21st.
And it wasn’t just the numbers—when you’re comparing yourself to a celebrity, even your highest achievements seem mundane by comparison. I was an undergrad at NYU? Hilary played an NYU student on Gossip Girl! I was moving in with my first love? She got married and popped out the cutest celebrity baby our Twitter accounts have ever been blessed with.
A few Septembers ago, I was celebrating my cousin’s engagement at a trendy Asian fusion restaurant in the Upper West Side when I caught sight of a familiar blonde blowing out candles at a nearby table. It being a few days before the 28th, I figured out that Hilary was celebrating low-key with some friends. I so wanted to quietly walk over to her table and wish her a happy birthday, without drawing attention to who she was. But I knew that short of me whipping out my driver’s license, she wouldn’t believe that we were kindred spirits and would think I was just some crazy stalker who had memorized her date of birth.
Of course, let’s not forget that this year Hilary has upstaged me once again, hitting her quarter-life birthday while I’m lingering at the unremarkable 24. And in writing that, I realize I need to stop joking about this. Because even though it’s all in good fun and I’m being self-deprecating, it still means I’m putting myself down instead of letting myself actually enjoy my day. It’s not a contest.
The other day Hilary tweeted, It’s almost my birthday!!!! I figured why the hell not and responded, Same here! She hasn’t responded, but I don’t imagine she would; with 1.6 million followers, she’ll expect that statistically there are a few people with her same birthday. Still, it was nice to reach out to her across time and space and say, Hey, September 28th means something to me, too.