When you’re single and not living at home, I think sometimes you have to create or carve out times for yourself where you can be appreciated.
I don’t want to say that you have to force your friends to show up and make you the center of attention, but unless you have really great friends, then you’re probably not going to have a party (birthday, graduation, law school acceptance, etc.) unless you organize one for yourself. People just get wrapped up in their own lives and partners and they forget that you don’t have a live-in support system anymore to automatically celebrate you and make you feel special. Which is a totally natural thing to happen in your late twenties, but can leave single people feeling a bit adrift in the wake of it.
It’s also why I really like celebrating my birthday. For ten minutes just once a year I get to feel special, like it’s my day and it’s all about me. Maybe that makes me a little selfish, but I’m big enough to say that my ego craves just a tiny fix of the spotlight. And while I have a super supportive family, I haven’t spent a birthday with them in years because they live out of state. So I rely on my friends to make the day special for me and usually try to organize some kind of activity that people can be excited about. (And the years when I haven’t, I’ve completed regretted it.)
I’m sure I’ll reach a point in the near future where my birthday falls into the category of “not such a big deal,” but this isn’t that year. Not yet. I still need my ten minutes.