Birthdays are a funny thing. They are often a trigger for people, a marker of something… their beauty, how far they have come in their lives, how much they are loved. This could be good news or bad news depending on how you feel in your pretty little head.
I notice that each year I have my own complicated relationship with my birthday and how I celebrate it. For a long time I insisted on parties. I loved to gather lots of people, not to be the center of attention so much as to see, to make visible, how I am loved and who I love.
It has taken me nearly 37 years to realize that I don’t actually like having parties though! and often feel a bit sad afterwards, like I didn’t get to really connect with anyone in the blur of faces and chaos, and that hosting left me slightly anxious and stressed.
I am inspired by my friend H’s process with birthdays. Each year she has tried something new… One year she decided to have a huge party and design it exactly how she wanted. She planned each aspect of the bash down to her cake. She realized like I did last year that controlling each aspect of the celebration didn’t allow for others to give to her and something was lost.
The next year she decided not to plan anything, and guess what?
This made for a sad birthday…
The following year she decided to invite people she loved to spend time with her at different parts of the day. One friend came over and cooked her brunch, another came by to do a sewing project with her. Her husband’s gift (at her request) was to help her complete every unfinished project she had in the hopper (the chair she was going to refinish, the drapes she was hanging, etc) Another friend took her out to dinner. All in all, it was a great birthday.
This year, she had a sudden intuition to walk a labyrinth. I was inspired by this! and hoped for the same kind of intuitive hit for how to spend my special day this year. But nothing came.
This morning I went to Nia dance class for the first time in ages. As I moved, I realized how much joy, frustration, and energy I had to dance off and release. For the first time in a long while I felt alive and that’s when the intuition I had been waiting for found me: This year is about making alive choices.
In the spirit of that, I plan to shake my booty with some dear friends and family on Sunday at Slim’s. Jonatha Brooke will be performing! and I’m pretending it’s my birthday party but I don’t have to host it. If you are in the Bay Area, you should come on by too.
How do you celebrate your birthday?