Even now, as I turn 42, I still feel just as excited about my birthday as I did when I was a kid and still desire to celebrate it to the fullest. However, in the last few years, I have not had good birthdays. Last year was especially hard with my dad no longer here. I was determined to make this birthday better than the last. However, nothing was going right. I have always wanted to have a party, with all of my favorite people in the same room with me. I’ve never been that person that people plan parties or bar/lounge get-togethers for. Many of my friends live far away or their schedules don’t allow them to be able to attend. So I attempted to organize a party but it just didn’t work out. Then I tried to make plans to go out and things were just not working out in my favor. Then in talking to my mom, I find out that my family is not even cutting a cake for me. I was so sad, to say the least.
As I am sitting there, almost in tears, I get a call from a friend, who said the most profound thing to me when I told her about everything that was going on. She said “Whatever you decide to do on your birthday, make sure you enjoy yourself to the fullest and do what makes you happy.” This made me think, wow, why am I worrying about other people and what they can do for me? It is my responsibility to celebrate my day, my life. I was so caught up in my expectations of others that I was missing the big picture and could possibly ruin my own birthday, having a major pity party.
My life is not just about one day. My life is my story, my everyday while I am alive. My birthday should be a day of celebration and remembering the past year and looking forward to the year ahead. But the days after my birthday, I should celebrate as well. Because my life is worth celebrating. Everyone’s life is worth celebrating. Yes, even the bad moments. All of the disappointments and setbacks have strengthened you and made you a better person. You might have thought at the time that you would not make it through but you did. And how far you have come in your life is worth celebrating.
My birthday is a day to bring attention to all of the celebrations I hold daily in my life. It is a reminder that there is only one me in the world and no one can take that away from me. It is the day my story began. And as every birthday passes, my story evolves. Your journey is worth endless celebrations. Think about it…if you spend more time celebrating your life instead of being upset and wallowing in self-pity over things that did not work out, you will be much happier and life will be better. It’s all a state of mind.
Once I changed my state of mind regarding my upcoming birthday, surprisingly things started to change for the better. After I told my mom that I was going out of town for the weekend, she admitted that the family was going to surprise me with a cake on Saturday. A great friend of mine called me and invited me out on Sunday to lunch and a movie. I then plan to have dinner Sunday night with one of my favorite people, my mother. Now this may not seem like exciting things to do on a birthday but I’m taking my friend’s advice and doing what makes me happy. Celebrating your birthday does not have to be some big party or some get-together at a restaurant. As long as you’re happy and enjoying your day to the fullest, that is what counts. With my mom still alive, I am celebrating that every day that she’s here.
Your birthday or your life, for that matter, may not be what you expected or wanted it to be, RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT. But it is still your life and your birthday only comes around once a year. You either have to seize the moment or it will pass you by. I am learning to let go and go with the flow. And celebrate my life for what it is now. That doesn’t mean I am giving up or settling. It just means I am appreciating my current life and it can only get better. As the great Oprah once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." True words, indeed.