You may or may not know that this past Wednesday April 15, I turned 27 years old. Yes it was my birthday; and unlike last year this was one of some great healing and excitement. I ended up having a wonderful day/weekend. However, it being my birthday sparked many conversations with many of my friends and co-workers regarding how we each celebrate the anniversary of our first breaths. Sadly, in this sharing of knowledge I was also privy to many stories of birthdays gone wrong, birthdays ruined by other people.
I have always been a huge avocate of a birthday being a great time to look and see the growth we have accomplished over the years. Thanks to social media, I had an incredibly unique look at my life based on the people that wished me a happy birthday. As I looked over each comment and appreciated people taking the few moments to send me some well wishes, I wondered how I am in their memories. Some people have not seen me since before I was in middle school, some since high school, some the other day, etc. but each person had a distinct memory self in my mind, so I figured I must have one in theirs.
Although I spend my day marveling at all the different stages of my life and where I am now, others use their birthdays to look towards what they want to do now. As I shared my ideas with others many told me that they rather look toward where they want to be next year. They will take stock of where they are now and celebrate; but they will also will look toward the next year and focus on where they rather be – like say on a beach in Mexico.
Nonetheless no matter how you view your birthday, there should be one crux of the idea; to be true to you, your Self. I had a co-worker who’s birthday was three days before mine. She expressed to me what a wonderful time she had. For the first time in her adult life she had her own birthday party, and that in the past she was always subjected to her ex-husband ruining her birthday. I felt deeply saddened by this story. To think that someone could go through most of their life without having a wonderful birthday.
Still I could relate to her story. It took a ‘final straw’ when I was 19 to stop allowing other people to control my birthday. Growing up I never had a bad birthday, but I was also not control of my own life. I was a minor, and my ideas and thoughts could only be realized so far, and they would have to be translated by another person for execution. When I ‘entered the adult world’ I allowed that thought process to continue, the only difference was that people do not translate your desires for you with the love that a parent can. I quickly found out that the only way to share my birthday with anyone and enjoy myself I needed to just do what I wanted and hope that the people I loved were kindred spirits and would want to join me.
At that moment when I was 19 I made a vow. I vowed to only look to myself when it came to my birthday. I would save my own money, buy myself that one thing that I had been wanting, planned on going to dinner alone, etc. It sounds lonely, however when I started putting it to practice I was amazed what a better time I had. No only was I doing what I wanted to do, but the people in my life wanted to join me. Never once did I obligate them, but rather would just say ‘I was doing this and if they did not want to, they did not have to come’.
Eventually this idea did leak into the rest of my life. It is a delectate balance, because it is easier said than done. For the want of social interaction and friends few of us are willing to walk away because we want to do something else, and fewer still are unwilling to do those things on their own. Then when you add the degradation of social relationships since the boom of social media, everything gets more diluted. Still everything happens in baby steps.
Birthdays are great spring boards for internal change. No matter if you are looking back, looking forward, or healing over bruises and wounds from the past, take that one day out of the year to focus on you. Be kind to yourself, after all you have come this far, and you deserve to pamper yourself at least once per year.
Practice in love and peace ❤