When I was a kid birthdays were always exciting. The anticipation of what gift you would get from your parents, friends, other relatives was better than Christmas because this one was all about me. Then you grow up, have kids of your own and somewhere, somehow your own birthday comes and goes without much fanfare. I had put everyone ahead of me. One day while reading some motivational/self-help gobbledygook it struck me that the ME of me was lost. That was the day I decided there had to be a least one dang day that was all about ME, where I was the center of attention, where others put me first instead of the other way around and where I didn’t feel guilty about that.
Saying it and desiring it are a HUGE difference from actually doing it though. I figured since my birthday was coming up that would be my dang day. All I wanted to do was go to a restaurant I had not been to before. That’s it. That was my big plan. Sounds easy enough right. The first year it was. I dragged an entire entourage of immediate and extended family along and they all cooperated. As the years passed this group of people who love me became rather cranky about long drives outside their comfort zones and it just became more stress than fun for me so it stopped and with it, the day of ME stopped as well.
Eventually we moved away from all of the extended family and life just went on about it’s thing, days passing, birthdays coming and going. No fanfare. And then I began to approach my 40th. Something had to change. I wanted my ME day back and I wanted it bigger and better than ever. I wanted to not please anyone by inclusion in my special day, participate or don’t, this is about ME.
I scheduled myself, just me for a swim with the dolphins. My husband agreed to take the day off from work to tag along as my photographer but didn’t want to swim with the dolphins. If he had wanted to that would have been great but I’m actually happy he didn’t. Me doing this by myself was significant. I came back to life. I love life and always make the best of it no matter what but had come to feel lost in it. This day put me smack dab in there center of my own life. I was special, significant and the center of attention (even if only in my own head – there were like 11 other tourist in my group).
From that day forward I’ve always tried to make my birthday mean something, tackle something I’ve always wanted to do, challenge myself in some way. I’ve been zip lining, toured the Everglades by air-boat and fed the gators, I’ve been to a zoo and had a bird perch itself right atop my head. I’ve been to Dollywood and the Great Smokey Mountains, a butterfly museum, seen the sunrise and sunset over the ocean in the same day and can’t wait to see what the years ahead bring.
Find your way to celebrate you. You won’t regret it. Mine rarely actually falls on my birthday but by claiming it as my birthday thing I take extra pride it celebrating it and make sure I take that picture of me being silly because I want to even if it might embarrass someone with me, buy that t-shirt I don’t need, ride that ride no one else will go on and throw my arms in the air like I just don’t care – giddy with joy the whole time.
I am the most awesome person I know. It’s ok for me to say that, even better for me to feel that. Be the most awesome person you know.