How do you celebrate your birthday?
As I contemplated mine today, I wondered what others do. Yes, there’s the fun of celebration, cake and congratulations. Yet what else makes the day extra special? What sets the stage for your next year ahead?
But regardless, here goes . . .
Looking back. Just as I do as New Year’s Eve approaches, I reflect on the last year. I handwrite a list of highlights. How do I remember it all? My calendar and Evernote are helpful in jogging my memory.
This has a few benefits. First, I get to enjoy reliving the best moments of the year. And second, it makes me realize I accomplished a lot more than I might have thought.
Giving thanks. It’s easy to forget the blessings in our lives. A daily list of 3 things I’m grateful for in the last 24 hours has helped bring those blessings to the fore.
And on a birthday, it’s the perfect time to take stock more broadly of what you’re grateful for. Family. Health. Career. Optimism. Perseverance. Possibilities. A favorite pet. Cupcakes. Anything that makes you happy.
Looking ahead. The logical next step is to look to the future. What’s exciting about the year ahead? What was learned in the previous year that can help shape the one ahead?
This is where you look for small things that are going well, you learn from them and apply them more broadly.
Enjoying the moment. What would make your day special? What would you most enjoy doing? While I love my career and my work, I take a vacation day on my birthday when I can. And I try to resist my usual tendency to over schedule.
What did that mean for today? Looking back and looking ahead. Enjoying a workout by the beach. Stopping by a beautiful local library. Spending time with family. Talking with my mom. Responding to heartwarming birthday wishes. Writing my daily blog post. A nice dinner with my husband.
Remembering my commitment not to over schedule, we’ll go standup paddle boarding and on an excursion over the weekend. I’m savoring the unusual feeling of not being rushed. The to-do lists and chores will still be there tomorrow.
Reading about what others do on their birthdays gave me a few new ideas.
Kevin F. Adler offers up 9. My favorites? “Have a party the evening before your actual birthday.” “Go on an adventure.” And “do something special that you’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t.”
This got me thinking about bringing something special into every day. Why wait for your birthday? What you can to do to enjoy every day?