10 Ways to Fully Enjoy Your Birthday (and Why it Matters)
Photo by Adi Goldstein
Yesterday was my 43rd birthday. I am not one to conceal or be coy about my age because I am proud of every single one of those years. Of course, like most people, sometimes I wish that I had accomplished more or hit certain milestones or experienced certain things. But I’ve also had life take me on a wild ride that was far from anything I’d expected or planned for myself (if you are a new reader, you can read a little about it here). At times it has been scary and sad and shocking and disturbing. But it has also taught me incredibly powerful lessons and I’m proud that I’ve been open and awake to receiving them. Maybe not right away, but eventually, I do hear, receive and apply those lessons.
So I’m joyfully saying YES to 43 and every year that comes next for as long as I’m privileged to experience them. I’m saying YES to all the adventures that life will bring me and I’m committing to embracing them (or at the very least not resisting them).
This is why I can’t understand why some say that their birthdays are “no big deal”. Your birthday IS a big deal. It is the day you were miraculously delivered to this world. It is the day you started your life-adventure. Think of all the people you have influenced, impacted and loved since that day. How is that not a big deal?
Let’s agree right now, that your birthday is a day worth truly celebrating. What does that celebration look like to you? I think this is where we tend to have expectations and if we are disappointed, that disappointment leads to more thoughts of, “well, it’s no big deal”.
Your birthday is YOUR day to celebrate YOU. It’s wonderful if your family or friends want to plan a dinner party. And it's lovely if your co-workers get a cake and sing you happy birthday. Or if your husband brings you your favourite croissant from the local bakery and an Americano in bed (hint, hint :D). But that is depending on someone else to commemorate the day. It is counting on others to bring meaning to your day.
Why not bring meaning to this day for yourself?
Here are 10 ways to celebrate YOU on your birthday:
Plan some alone time. I’m a huge proponent of taking time for yourself on a regular basis. Not to watch or listen to or even read something, but to just be on your own for an hour or two. Sit with a notebook and think, daydream and listen to yourself. You were born on this day. Isn’t today the perfect day to reflect on your life so far and dream and plan for your future?
Buy yourself a special gift. Instead of heavy hinting (note: there is a difference between heavy and light hinting- ha!) why not give your family and friends the joy of choosing their own gifts for you and instead buy yourself that special gift you have your eye on? Buying yourself something special is a way of showing yourself that you are worth it rather than waiting for that validation from someone else. It does not need to be something expensive or budget-breaking, just something that feels good to you.
Make a monthly birthday date. I like to book monthly birthday check-ins on the day of my birthday each month (so for me, that is the 20th of each month). It only needs to be a 30-minute time set aside in your calendar to check in with yourself. Reflect on how you’re experiencing your year, how circumstances might have changed from the previous month and revisit your goals. I also like to celebrate any wins, small or big that I've accomplished that month (we don't do this enough)!
Do something you love to do. It could be a favourite exercise class, or a cocktail at a beautiful bar, or a massage or an hour at a café with a book. Feed your soul with time spent doing something you love.
Spend time with people who uplift and inspire you. Instead of waiting for birthday celebrations to be made for you, actively plan to see people who you feel great around. This year I made plans to see some newer friends who might not have even known it was my birthday!
Buy and read an inspiring book. I have an ongoing list of books that have truly changed my life and I’m always looking for new ones to add to the list. As I write this, I’m on page 58 of The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer, the author of my absolute favourite book of all time, The Untethered Soul.
Write yourself a letter. This year I started the tradition of writing a letter to my daughter every year on her birthday. You can read the first one here. I love the idea of also writing a letter to yourself. No guidelines or suggestions, just write to yourself from a place of love and see what comes up.
Thank the people you love. One year on my birthday after a particularly difficult year, I wrote emails to the people who had really been there for me. Another year, I gave some of my best friends a copy of the book that I mentioned above (I wanted to share with them what I experienced from reading the book). Celebrating your life is also about celebrating the people who have influenced and shaped it in positive ways.
Make a list of juicy, big, fun goals for the upcoming year. What comes beyond the balloons and birthday cake? What does the upcoming year look like for you? Take some of that alone time to imagine all the incredible things you can create and manifest this year if only you took some time to define what they might be!
- Write down what you’re grateful for. As we get older, in some ways life gets more complicated and in other ways, it gets simpler. The simple truth is most of us have so many blessings. I am beyond grateful for my beautiful daughter, my ability to stay open to learning the lessons life has to teach me and for all the incredible, beautiful people who have come into my life over all my forty-three years (among many, many other things).
This year, celebrate your birthday with purpose and love.