Birthday parties used to be so simple: a group of friends having fun at literally any stimulating venue: Arcade! Water park! Your stepdad's backyard that has a trampoline! Nowadays, coming up with things to do at a birthday party is worse than realizing you'll never be this young or hopeful again.
1. Instead of normal party favors, hand out some floss and stress balls
Adult birthday parties aren't meant to be as fun and carefree as birthday parties for kids - after all, you're older and more practical now. And in that line of thinking, let's get rid of the "typical" party favor fare - things like candy, whistles, balloons, and that kinda stuff. It'll all just rot out your teeth and clutter up your house. Instead, go with some floss and stress balls - it's always good to have another thing of floss on you in case you're eating spinach at a work event and want to make sure your teeth are clean, and you always need stress balls because you are an adult with tons of responsibilities and no meaningful way of dealing with your stress other than to abuse a ball all day.
2. Play "Let's Sit and Watch Five Episodes of a Sitcom On Hulu Without Even Really Realizing it"
The most fun adult game in existence - lay around on the couch and watch a bunch of episodes of a pretty good sitcom on Hulu without even realizing it. When it comes to excitement, adults are too exhausted from work, kids, and their bodies being rundown to engage in MORE physical activity, so just plop onto the couch and start to doze off around the fourth episode of Superstore.
3. Eat a hearty, slow-cooked stew instead of a birthday cake
Cake? Who eats cake anymore? All that frosting will just be another cavity for your dentist to fill, all that cake will go straight to your hips, and you'll generally just feel awful about yourself. Instead, why not have a hearty, slow-cooked stew? All adults love stew and slow-cookers, so you can compare recipes, suggest spices to add, and practice patience (gotta let it go at least 8 hours, everyone knows that). Plus, you'll be taking better care of your teeth than with cake - and you can use your floss to pick out bits of celery that got caught between your molars.
4. Absolutely do not do presents or any kind of gift giving
Ugh, presents? No thank you - not at THIS adult birthday party. Getting gifts is miserable - you never get anything you actually WANT, you have to pretend to be excited by whatever lame presents your friends found last minute at Target, and then you have to send thank you notes after? What's the point of that?! And gift giving is equally a pain - you have to figure out something someone wants who has a job and income and can therefore has the means to get anything they need. As for the things they WANT, those are usually a little too expensive to give for someone's 41st birthday or whatever (no, Phil, I'm not buying you a PS4). So you end up getting them some lame piece of crap you found at Target, you can tell they're just PRETENDING to like it, and the whole thing feels real crummy.
5. Everyone gets 10 minutes to vent about their jobs, and everyone else has to pay attention and sympathize the entire time
If there's one thing adults love doing, it's complain about the specifics of their jobs - their idiot boss, their lazy co-workers, the mindnumbingly bad decisions being made by management, etc. But if there's one thing adults HATE doing, it's listening to each other complain. See, adults like to complain about THEIR THING, but listening to others doing the same sucks. It's like dreams - you wanna tell everyone what your crazy dream was, but no one actually cares enough to listen. And that's why a birthday party is the perfect place to find a compromise - everyone gets their 10 minutes of venting, and everyone else promises not to spend the whole time half-paying attention while scrolling on their phones. That way, everyone gets to have their venting - and to an audience that is actually listening in a meaningful way. It's honestly the greatest gift any of them will receive all year long.
6. Compare which parts of your bodies don't work as well as they used to
Generally, the thing adults enjoy the most is complaining about things - and beyond their jobs, they love complaining about the weather and parts of their body that just don't work too well anymore. The weather doesn't take too long to complain about - so making an activity of comparing whose ankles ache more than anyone else's is the preferable route. Who has the worst back? Who's starting to get into the early stages of arthritis? It's the fun game all adults are gonna be playing anyways, so might as well make it official.
7. Screw it - go to an arcade or a water park.
Here's the thing - it sucks being an adult. Your body is breaking down, you're stressed out all the time, and it's all just going to keep on getting worse, since you're not getting any younger. So whenever you can, try to recapture just a little bit of your lost youth - let yourself be silly, or irresponsible, or energetic. Adult birthday parties don't HAVE to be lame get-togethers where everyone can't wait to go home and get in bed by 10:30. Go to a water park or an arcade! Rent a trampoline! Do all that fun kid stuff - after all, it's only ONE day out of the year, so you can go back to worrying about flossing the other 364 days.