Some people shy away from birthdays. They fear the coming of another year, getting older, nearing mortality – whatever they name it. Not me. I welcome birthdays as a reason to celebrate. I made it through another year!
I extend my birthday celebration as long as I can. This year, with my birthday falling on a Sunday it was natural to make it my “birthday weekend” rather than just one measly little day. The dilemma with celebrating all weekend meant I would lose out on key writing time, especially since I gave myself permission to
blow off take a few days off from the Intentional Blogging Challenge. But, I’m on Day 42 of writing 500 words a day and not making time to write seems like I’m wasting the momentum and discipline I’ve finally created.
So, to complete Friday’s challenge (a little late – I know), I present 5 easy steps to have an amazing birthday weekend.
1. Start early!
If you are able to take Friday off from work, you absolutely should. If you are like the majority of the world and have to go to work, gather as many of your friends as possible and do something social after work. It could be happy hour, or karaoke, or bowling, or dinner, or just about anything. The point is to surround yourself with fun people and laugh while engaging in an activity you all enjoy. Or, one you enjoy and the people who like you are willing to tolerate because they like you. I chose to start my amazing birthday weekend at happy hour with friends from work.
2. Enrich yourself!
What are you passionate about? What invigorates you? What makes you feel purposeful? Whatever gives you that sense of drive, allow yourself to take some time to nurture it.
I am a Rotarian and I spent this Saturday at a Rotary Leadership Institute workshop. Rotary is a worldwide organization comprised of over 1.2 million members who share a passion for community service. Spending the day with others who are service-oriented and engaged in community activities gives me that invigorating thrill I need to feel purposeful. Your passion may be photography, running, Zumba, or pottery. Whatever it is, fuel that energy during your weekend.
3. Appreciate the arts!
Research has shown exposure to art and music has the power to change our brains. While I appreciate visual arts, I am a musician and my creative neurons are stimulated by music. I am fortunate to live near a city that still has a symphony orchestra. I’m also blessed to have a talented niece who plays violin with said orchestra from time to time. Last night, not only did she play, but the program consisted of both Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini AND Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathetique.’ This music geek was in Russian masterpiece paradise. What made the experience even better was I got to share it with a dear friend who celebrates a birthday next week. This leads me to number four….
4. Visit with a lifelong friend!
Lifelong friends are amazing gifts. They are the people who have known you for years – and even though it may be months between your conversations, you never notice the gap because you just pick back up where you left off. I am grateful to have so many friends like this. Getting to connect with a lifelong friend on your birthday weekend will improve your “fun” and “laughter” quotients exponentially!
Allison’s birthday is six days after mine. She likes to remind me how much older I am. Growing up, we routinely celebrated our birthdays together. Now, she lives in Florida and I am happy to see her whenever she visits New York every year or two. When she told me she was going to be here for my birthday weekend, I invited her to come to the symphony. Music is more fun when you enjoy it with someone else who appreciates it. Last night as the bassoon solo started the Tchaikovsky, we both made audible sighs of happiness. My heart was full.
5. Give yourself permission to do what YOU want to do!
My brother-in-law never worked on his birthday. He always took the day off to do whatever it was he wanted to do for himself. As someone who likes to be surrounded by others, I never appreciated the gift of time alone until I lost my “alone time” due to my disability and the need for personal assistance. I turned down the chance to visit a dear friend in New York City today, my actual birthday, to sit home by myself. I gave myself permission to stay in and do whatever I want to do. And it has been a MARVELOUS day of writing, crochet, brunch with my sister’s family (she even made me cinnamon rolls!), wine and Inspector Lewis episodes on the PBS video player.
It isn’t always easy to say ‘no’ to someone else and ‘yes’ to yourself. You might feel guilty about taking time for yourself or feel you ‘ought’ to be doing something else. But you need to take care of your own health in order to be of value to others. If your own internal energy tank is empty, how can you support those you care for? YOU are important too, and what better time to put yourself first than on your birthday?
I think this list could probably make for a very fun weekend even if it’s not your birthday, or the birthday of a friend. You can try it out and let me know.