Believe it or not, today is my birthday. I have a myriad of emotions swimming inside me as I type this. On the one hand, I’m humbled that I made it to another birthday, and on the other hand, my body and joints remind me that I’m getting older. There is always a price paid for getting older. But the best thing about getting older? Gaining knowledge and appreciation for life’s surprises is one of the best reasons. Experience is a teacher that no textbook can provide.
I have many friends who don’t acknowledge their birthdays, and at times I’ve been among them. I guess losing friends to diseases that took their lives too young has helped alter my perception of life. These scenarios got me thinking about the birthday blues and how to get over those hurdles. Here are a few tips that I’ve found that might help you as they helped me.
- Don’t over plan your day if you’re easily overwhelmed. Let’s face it. Not many of us want to think about our birthday unless we are still young enough to count down the days to it. The reason? We might be hitting a milestone like our 30’s or 40’s, maybe 50’s or 60’s. You get the gist. Birthdays are often tricky because they give us time to reflect on where we are in our lives, and if our lives haven’t gone the way we mapped out, then our birthday might be depressing. If that’s where you are in your life, I urge you to think about your birthday in a different context. Many don’t make it to their next birthday. Embrace the day, and don’t worry about the logistics.
- Set it and forget it. It’s a day just like any other day. The difference is that you were born on that day. Don’t worry about making a big deal out of the day. Just make it a day that you do something for yourself. Even if it’s a little thing, treat yourself.
- Appreciate the people who are thinking of you. Look, I know it’s tempting to blow off what people may do for you but believe me when I tell you that something as minor as getting a card can make you feel better. It’s the simple gestures that let us know what others think about us. Sometimes we may struggle with birthdays, so let others in because they offer support when we don’t even realize that we might need it. Everyone needs to feel like they matter. The littlest gestures can create the most significant impact on our lives.
- Think about the benefits of getting older. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get to ten because I would finally be in double digits. Then I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. When I reached that milestone, I couldn’t wait to be sixteen, so I could drive. Then I was waiting for eighteen so that I could vote. After my eighteenth birthday, I couldn’t wait to be twenty-one so that I would be legal to purchase alcohol. Then I couldn’t wait to be twenty-four so that I could rent a car. After those birthdays, I couldn’t wait, turned into dread. I had reached the pinnacle of my significant birthdays and knew that I would be facing dreaded birthdays. I could do without the excess weight and love handles. The wrinkles and grays are quickly approaching, and the ambition and drive are no longer what they once were. But, there are benefits like savings with places because I’m entering my senior years. Plus, I look a lot younger than I am, so there is a blessing in that as well.
- Mark the occasion in a way that feels right to you. Your birthday means that you should do something that is right for you. Presents are great, but there’s nothing more appealing than doing something you’ve wanted to do for a while. I love to run away to the beach, mountains, and wineries. When my friend Darla and I get chances to run away, we hold onto those chances with dear life.
- Reflect on why you dislike your birthday. We all have reasons. It’s most of the time because we dread getting older but be honest with yourself about why you don’t like that day. Maybe you are pissed because you were born. You might be agitated that you are always in pain. Or you could dread the day and the hoopla that goes along with it but never take the day for granted. Each birthday that comes has the potential to be your last. Find reasons to celebrate your day.
- Spend time with friends, family, or pets. Last year sucked for me and many others with birthdays that COVID affected. Restaurants were closed, going on outings was unthinkable, and sitting in front of the tv on my 50th birthday bit. I was mad at our government, angry with COVID, and frustrated with everything. It was not the way I wanted to celebrate, so I sulked. That only amplified my frustration. It was not one of my better birthdays for a lot of reasons. I had to stop sulking and put that day behind me.
- Volunteer or donate to charity. This action is one of my favorite items. It always makes me feel good to help others when I know they need it most. Donating to a charity helps me feel like I’m helping them achieve a goal, and when I can do a birthday fundraiser for a non-profit, it brings awareness to causes that are important to me. I’ve done volunteer work a lot over the years and wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. When you feel down about your life issues, it’s often helpful to step outside of your box and see what others are enduring. You might find that you are better off than you thought you were, and it may give you an appreciation for issues you’d forgotten.
- Get some exercise or spend time in nature. If I could be outside and get paid for it, I would be in heaven. I love being outside in the fresh air. There is something therapeutic that makes me feel like time is standing still. It’s not, of course, but the feeling of being accessible and able to experience nature and its beauty can be indescribable. It’s the closest feeling to the fountain of eternal youth I’ve found. I cherish the days that the sunbeams on my skin, making it feel like the rays are warming my soul.
- Don’t compare your celebration to others. You are not like anyone else, so why should your birthday be treated like someone else’s? It’s your day. You can select the activities you want to do and share them with the people you want. Don’t worry about what someone else did or didn’t do.
- Whether you decide to add your birthday to social media or not, be ready to handle the response or lack thereof. You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to posting your info on social media or not. If you choose to let others know your birthday, be willing to acknowledge those who send well wishes, and if you don’t decide to post your info, don’t get mad when no one says anything. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Social media is a fantastic tool for sharing things in your life, but many people are private and don’t want the world to know everything about their lives.
- Set realistic expectations. No one expects you to win the lottery on your birthday or even at all. Planning can be an essential tool for sharing the day with friends and family. People need communication as to what they want to do. Once you provide the information, at least you have a chance of setting realistic goals and expectations.
The biggest thing I hope you take away from today’s blog is to embrace each birthday for what it is. You are one year wiser, one year more fine-tuned, and one year older. Age is just a number so enjoy your birthday without reservation. Don’t let anyone ruin your day, and if someone does, do not permit them to make you feel bad. God knows enough people will tear you down in this world. The last thing you need is to allow them the space in your head to clutter up your emotions. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone.