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Is anyone else not a fan of their birthday?

For the last few years, my birthday has been somewhat of a sore subject. Not because I’m getting older, but because of my experiences.

As of today, I’ve had 28 birthdays. Let’s say around 25 that I remember. My birthday falls at a weird time of year. There’s not a lot of fun things to do in January in the Midwest. You’re pretty much forced to do everything inside. Sleepovers, ice skating parties, going to the movies, or simply just going out to eat. I’ve been thrown some really awesome birthdays, but the ones I remember the most aren’t the ones where I had a ton of fun. Sorry to be a downer, but it’s true. These birthdays stand out because someone hijacked it and it became about them.

For example, my 11th or 12th birthday party I had some friends over for a sleepover. My mom bought different colors of fleece with the plan of making scarves and mittens (because it’s COLD in January in Illinois). There were maybe 6 of us, because there were 3 colors to choose from and 2 versions of each color. Since yellow was my favorite color, I was under the assumption that would be the fleece I would get to choose, but then another girl made a big stink about how she wanted it and me being the nice person (or one that didn’t want to deal with conflict over a scarf color) let her get my colored scarf and mittens. It was this big deal, but it always stands out in my head as a memorable birthday–and not for a good reason.

January 8. It’s exactly one week after New Years, and exactly two weeks after Christmas. In middle and high school, it wasn’t as big of a deal, but in college it always seemed to fall on the day that everyone got back to school for the start of the semester. As an adult, no one really has energy or money to do anything and as I’ve gotten older, the holidays, and my birthday immediately following, are just a blatant reminder of me being single.

Let me explain…

I was explaining to my friends the other day about how I don’t really look forward to my birthday, because now I’ve gotten to the point of my life where I’m planning my own party. I don’t have a best friend around (none of them live close to me anymore) or a boyfriend or spouse to make sure it’s everything I wanted. Last year, I spent my birthday weekend at a cabin in the middle of Ohio because I tired of having a dinner party and watching playoff football for my birthday (though it IS nice when the Patriots are in the playoffs around that time).

Your birthday is literally the only day in the entire year, where I believe you can be selfish and ask others to celebrate you. But this is where I get tied up. Because of my past experiences of not-so-fun birthdays, I’m afraid to ask people to celebrate me on this one day, I’m actually allowed to. I’ve thrown away the expectation of someone stepping in and doing that for me–thank you to those that have done that in the past, I know who you are and you forever hold a special place in my heart!

This year, I was getting over the flu around my birthday, but I stepped into the fear of asking people to celebrate me, and I ended up celebrating all week. This year, my birthday fell on a Monday. My coworkers, whom I share a space with (and also call good friends) took me out to lunch that afternoon. Later that evening, my church planning team celebrated my birthday before our weekly meeting with a birthday sign, balloons, singing and killer brownies with candles. That night, a few close friends came over had ice cream and ended the day just hanging out. Wednesday, all my coworkers went out to eat and we ended up talking about the 90s. One of my close friends took me out to eat Thursday night and I finished the week, with a quiet weekend, full of snow, movies, and playoff football.

Birthday celebration with my church service planning team. Picture credit: Jessica Beans

Last night, I got to celebrate my birthday again with a special friend who’s birthday is this week. We dressed up in 90s gear, which has apparently come back in style, and celebrated our birthdays at a roller skating rink. We skated to songs that currently play on the radio and several throwback hits, including Spice Girls and *NSYNC. All I wanted this year for my birthday was to have fun and not take myself too seriously–and I can say mission accomplished.

90s skating crew. Picture credit: Breana Soliday Haughton

My goal in life, is to live an intentional one. To have fun and enjoy life as much as I can, which means not taking life as seriously as I should. To remember I’m adult, but don’t have to be professional in every aspect of my life. Having memorable birthdays–good and bad–come with being alive. But I’m so thankful over the years for the people who have chosen to celebrate me (and not just on my birthday).

 

Here’s to year 28 being full of intentionality and fun. To always celebrating the highs and lows because that means life is being lived. To investing in the people who have consistently invested in me and giving grace to those in my life, who always seem to take something from it. To not be afraid to ask people to celebrate me. And to embrace celebrating others, even if they don’t know how to ask for it.

To enjoy my life. The one that has been given to me. In full.

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