I would categorize myself as more of an old soul than a kid at heart, but there are some things I approach the same way as a child. The elation I feel going to Disney World rivals that of any five year old when I’m sick the only things I want are my mom and some Chicken & Stars soup, and I absolutely love my birthday.
The thing about getting older is that daily life can get a little monotonous. There always seems to be a to-do list filled with things that are more important than stopping to enjoy the day. What’s different about your birthday is that there is a built-in reminder to stop and smell the roses.
It’s a day to celebrate every day that came before it and the possibility of the days to come. It’s easy to look at the growing number on your driver’s license and feel scared. Maybe you’re afraid of the wrinkles, or what you’ve yet to accomplish that others your age have. Maybe it’s a bigger feeling of being closer to the end. Whatever it is, put it away.
Think of how you celebrated your birthday as a kid. You weren’t worried about milestones or the best way to celebrate that made everyone else happy. You were just happy to have a special day all to yourself. That’s a feeling I’ve never let myself let go.
Every year I give myself something to look forward to. This year it’s a dinner with my mom and a cookout with friends. I make sure that whatever my plans are, the actual joy I have on August 1st is solely dependent on me. It’s easy to get let down by a small number of RSVPs or people forgetting about it all together, but that’s not what matters. What matters is taking some time – an hour, the day or even the whole week – to celebrate you.
On your next birthday, remind yourself of your favorite birthday as a kid, and find a way to recreate that excitement for yourself. There is no better way to start a new year than with the uninhibited joy of a child.